Bognor Pirates were lacking in numbers – and that was a factor as the Smugglers ran out convincing 99-74 winners in a National League clash at The Arena.
It was close early on but Pirate Dave Turner found his way through to put points on the board.
The Pirates trailed 25-22 after the first quarter.
The second featured impressive free-throw shooting from Turner and high intensity rebounding from Kev Wilson and Barnes, but the Pirates started to feel the pressure defensively.
Smugglers scored six baskets in three minutes. The Pirates made substitutions to try to slow the Smugglers and tried a change of defensive structure.
Good offence from Robbins and Turner, who hustled hard to draw fouls, couldn’t prevent the Pirates trailing 29-12 at halfway.
The Pirates were determined to get back into it. Turner stayed strong and worked hard in defence. Attfield and Stapely drew fouls to allow the Pirates to regain a positive structure.
Barnes chipped in with some shots to try to close the gap.
At the start of the final quarter, the Smugglers held a 25-point lead.
The Pirates were determined to carry on working hard but two of their starting five, Attfield and Turner, both fouled out in the early minutes of the quarter.
This gave 16-year-old Dave Morgan the chance to step up and prove himself, which he did with great passing and defence as well as some key assists.
With Morgan and Robbins scoring two three-pointers each and scoring 12 points between them in this period.
PIRATES: M Robbins 23, G Roythorne 12, D Turner 11, R Stapely 10, L Attfield 8, D Morgan 6, L Barnes 3, K Wilson 1, R Knight.
Bognor Pirates’ next home game is against Hackney White Heat on Saturday, March 10, at The Arena sports centre, Bognor. Tip-off is at 7pm. Tickets are £3 adults, £2 concessions, £1 children, £5 family.
University of Chichester Thunder host Southgate Academical Lions in the National League division four at Worthing Leisure Centre this Saturday (Feb 25, 5pm). Entry is free.
The match is followed by Worthing Thunder’s division-one clash with Westminster Warriors (7.30pm), for which admission prices apply.