It’s success on a (Sussex) Plate for Bognor Pirates

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The finale of the first day of the Sussex basketball finals at Portslade saw Bognor Pirates’ second team defeat neighbours Worthing Tropics 69-63 to lift the Sussex Plate.

The first quarter didn’t go to plan: on a slippery surface, neither side could attack the basket as they wished. It turned to more of a shootout with both teams turning to their outside shots to try to gain an advantage.

Hardyman and McLaren started to heat up from the outside and although a better effort was needed on defence the first quarter ended 14-13 to the Pirates.

The second started stronger for the Pirates with Lowe shooting well and Wakeling passing well.

Pirates were struggling to maintain control with a host of unprovoked turnovers that disrupted their momentum. Attfield contributed some much needed jump-shots.

With the Pirates starters not finding their rhythm, other players had the chance to step up and spark the offensive end. Robbins and Parker did this and helped the Pirates to rare lay-up points. The second quarter ended 28-22.

Coach Dave Turner’s team talk was dedicated to basic fundamental defence and the Pirates switched to a different zone defence giving more freedom to the outside players. Pirates forced steals which earned them valuable possession and led to opportunities.

Their shooting woes continued with missed lay-ups and shots hindering their attempt to pull away.

At this point Turner turned on his form, knocking down multiple threes.

The Tropics were pushing the ball at every attempt and scored some fearless baskets inside. Their own three-pointers also helped them come back to 46-44.

Going into the final quarter, it was up for grabs.

The Tropics rained in unpredictable three-pointers from every angle but Pirates demonstrated their experience and remained composed with calculated attacks.

Strong play from the Pirates veterans were indicative of a team comfortable with pressure. This helped offset another barrage of three-pointers from the Tropics, who hit 11 points in the final minute.

Robbins secured the win with two clutch free throws with 25 seconds left and the Pirates ended a season with many ups and downs with a deserved trophy.

PIRATES: Turner 24, McLaren 14, Lowe 11, Attfield 7, Hardyman 5, Pridie 6, Robbins 2, Morgan 1, Wakeling, Parker.

Bognor Pirates II 98 Eastbourne Hotshots 62

Bognor went into this game with confidence after learning their first team would next season compete again in the National League third division.

The first quarter saw the Pirates tear out of the blocks with Joe McLaren scoring eight unanswered points.

George Roythorne’s attacking moves around the basket meant the Pirates ended the first quarter 28-8 up.

In the second Rich Lowe worked well with Pridie and Wakeling. Bognor saw the first half out 44-20 up.

The second half began with under-18s Roythorne and Matt Sharpe performing well. Matt Wakeling made some great moves inside with Parker and under-16 Morgan finding him well.

Joe McLaren initiated steals and broke away from the defence for a two-handed dunk. Coach Stu Hardyman knew there was still everything to play for and the end of the third quarter saw a Pirates lead of 76-38.

In the fourth, under-16 Matt Schofield forced steals and finished a contested lay-up inside. David Morgan performed well too.

The Hotshots lost a player through injury and Pirates capitalised and ended the game two points short of a century.

PIRATES: Roythorne 35, McLaren 22, Lowe 18, Morgan 10, Wakeling 7, Sharpe 6, Schofield 2, Parker, Hardyman.

Brighton Runnin Reb 84 Bognor Pirates II 94

At Brighton University Sports Centre, the Pirates prepared with just six players including two juniors for their final league game.

The first quarter was a fast-tempo game with both teams trading baskets. The Pirates, at the end of it, were 22-15 ahead.

The second was again end-to-end but Rebels displayed their athleticism with strong finishes. For the Pirates, Turner stayed composed to aid the scoreline, with McLaren capitalising at the offensive end. The second quarter ended with Pirates 39-33 up.

The Pirates needed a spark in defence and Pridie started to light up. The Rebels were unable to stop the barrage and resorted to fouling on the interior.

This led a more physical match with McLaren and Tello hitting hard on the inside. The third ended 57-55 in favour of the Pirates.

The fourth brought a great display of end-to-end basketball. Pirates seemed to have the game wrapped up but the Rebels kept fighting back and the fourth ended 75-75.

In overtime, the Pirates found new confidence and composed themselves to finish at the hoop and play solid defence. The Pirates pounded the ball inside for an ultimately-comfortable victory.

PIRATES: McLaren 37, Pridie 22, Sharpe 17, Turner 13, Morgan 5, Parker.