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  • Titans Blog 7/8th April 2018

    WEEK 1 OF THE PLAYOFFS

    Titans slay the Giants

    U14 Boys

    Northamptonshire Titans 98-59 Mansfield Giants

    Titans U14 Boys can claim to be one of the top 16 teams in the Country having won their first play-off game against Mansfield Giants with a very impressive performance. Titans coach, Mike Round, had the benefit of a scouting report which enabled him to come up with a game plan that focused on keeping the Giants’ two star players quiet. Ciaran Myers’ defence limited the Giants’ talented guard to just four points in the first quarter and Sean Rawlins held their 6’5” England U15 squad member to just one point. It took the Giants until the fifth minute to score a field goal, whereas Titans were powering their way to a 26-7 first quarter lead. Isaac Round led the way in the second period scoring 17 of his eventual 37 points and the 53-24 lead was already looking unassailable. High quality defence from Sean Rawlins and Benji Leesing frustrated Giants’ big guy to the point where he decided to leave the game before half-time and never returned. Titans maintained their focus at the start of the second half and a 16-4 run left Giants with a mountain to climb. With the win becoming ever-more inevitable, Coach Round was able to give court time to all the team members. As the time ran out, the score was 98-59 and the Titans had well-and-truly slayed the Giants. In addition to Round’s season-high 37 points, Sean Rawlins poured in 18 points and Ciaran Myers also reached double-figures with 10 points. Titans have earned a ‘sweet sixteen’ game which will be a tough one away to the mighty Manchester Magic this weekend.

    U16 Girls

    West Herts Warriors 78-63 Northamptonshire Titans

    Titans travelled to Premier side, West Herts Warriors, in the Junior National League play-offs and with the Warriors England duo, Titans knew a battle of the boards was going to determine the outcome.

    Titans were overwhelmed in the first 5 minutes as they just couldn’t find a way to the Warriors basket amongst the high pressure of Warriors and with a 17-0 score line to the home side Titans’ self-belief started to waiver until Lauren Dabbs got the Titans offence going.

    Titans didn’t start well in the second quarter and slumped to a 22-point deficit; whatever Coach Powell said to his players spurred them on as Titans’ season form started to show as they contained Warriors and began to impose their flowing transition basketball.

    Titans continued to battle and with Warriors struggling to convert from the foul line, Titans found themselves within 10 points at the end of the third.

    A big push was needed at the defensive but with the foul count ramping up, both teams ended up exchanging scores and finally Warriors secured the win.

    U14 Girls

    Richmond Knights 77-22 Northamptonshire Titans

    The U14 girls travelled to Twickenham on Saturday for their play-off game against Richmond Knights.

    A high-spirited Titans side took to the floor and immediately faced high defensive pressure from Knights. Having prepared for this, Titans dealt with it well and passed out of the double team, however they struggled to score from the opportunities they created. Titans’ defence was strong, forcing Knights to shoot from the perimeter which is where they showed their impressive shooting abilities. This resulted in Knights’ lead pulling away. Titans were unable to score from their efforts through the second half but continued to pressure Knights with every movement. A constant full court press through the game was seen by Titans but their constant hustle and efforts prevented Knights from being able to relax, even with a significant lead. Imogene Williams was Titans’ stand out player in the fixture showing strong ball handling and passing abilities as well a fearless and precise defence. The tie finished 77-22 to Knights.

    The Knights coach complimented Titans’ defence stating 'this was the best defence we have faced all season stopping our driving game'

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  • Titans Blog 24/25th March 2018

    U16 Girls North Conference

    Northamptonshire Titans 84-53 Manchester Mystics II

    Northamptonshire Titans 83-47 Stockport Lapwings

    It was a double winning weekend for the U16 Girls North Conference champions as on Saturday they took on the very physical Manchester Mystics II. Titans started well with Tegan Millar and Kenny Hamilton finding success close to the basket. U14s’ Lucy Virag got in on the action towards the end of the first whilst the visitors started to find their feet and responded well.

    Titans’ defence took a firm grip keeping the visitors scoreless for 6 minutes whilst pouring in 11 points. Titans’ Lauren Dabbs was in fine form converting in broken play which was the theme right up to the final buzzer.

    Less than 24hrs later, Titans were back on the floor hosting a Stockport team that had also played the day before and with Stockport hoping to upset the home side’s unbeaten record whilst chasing a playoff spot, the contest was set.

    Titans started well but faded quickly as Stockport regained control and to everyone’s surprise saw Titans behind. A timeout and Lauren Dabbs’ quick 5 points restored the lead.

    Dabbs continued to dominate the scoring early on and when Stockport contained Dabbs, up stepped India Evans with a 6-point run of her own.

    The second half saw Titans back to their best with great ball movement and their free-flowing basketball trademark which resulted in them securing the victory and their unbeaten record.

    U16 Boys North Premier

    City of Birmingham Rockets 50-88 Northamptonshire Titans

    Titans knew only a win would do to secure second place in the North Premier; Titans went to work straight away close to basket but it was Diarra Layne’s drives to the basket that caused difficulty for the CoB team.

    Jamal Jack turned up the heat on the offensive boards converting back-to-back baskets, supported well by the change of pace from Jude Carmichael to give Titans 21-50 halftime lead.

    Titans’ Captain Sam Grant stood firm at the defensive end and with the vision of Ben Nailer’s passing, Titans bossed the game from start to finish. With the tie in no doubt, Titans were all able to enjoy good court minutes all making the scoresheet, and now look forward to the playoffs.

    Top Scorers: Carmichael 20 Grant 15 Layne 11

    U12s

    Triple Threat Basketball 23-42 Northamptonshire Titans

    AGS Hornets 16-21 Northamptonshire Titans

    Titans’ U12 boys significantly improved their chances of making the semi-finals of the Bucks U12s League by winning both of their games on Sunday in Aylesbury. Although the team didn’t play particularly well against Triple Threat Basketball or AGS Hornets, they managed to grind out a couple of positive results. The first game against Triple Threat Basketball was a fairly straight-forward 42-23 win, but AGS Hornets provided a tougher test. Titans were unable to score in open play in the first quarter against Hornets and were 12-10 down at half-time. However, they held their opponents scoreless in the third quarter, and took a 16-12 lead into the final period. After a tense last few minutes, Titans hung on for a 21-16 win. If Titans can win their final league games against Triple Threat Basketball in a few weeks’ time, they will secure a place in the semi-finals.

    U14 Girls Midlands Conference

    Northamptonshire Titans 62-31 Leicester Warriors

    Titans U14 Girls were host to Leicester Warriors in their last game of the season.

    The scoring was opened by Imogene Williams and Titans’ strong and controlled defence allowed then to create a lead of 16 points by the end of the first quarter. The second and third quarters were low scoring for Titans as the younger players were given significant minutes. The low score, however, was not a problem for Titans as they showed an impressive defensive ability and high work rate which also prevented Warriors from scoring.

    The fourth quarter was set with the main body of next year’s team; with confidence, the girls pushed on and proved to themselves, and the coaches, they too could be a scoring threat bring the team and crowd to their feet, no more so than when 10yr old Tolani Akarnmu scored her first basket of the season. Cerise Williams drove to the basket with confidence and Abi Smith’s mature shot selection gave promise to Titans’ future.

    The coaching staff finished the game with a senior line up as 4 out of 5 played their final U14 game as they move up an age group. Although emotional, the 5 saw the game out strong with an 11-0 scoring run.

    Coach James stated how proud she was of the girls this season as they have developed into a strong team, and confident in their future as she hands the reins of the U14 Girls over to Assistant Coach Jade Sacre for the 18/19 season.

    Top scorers: Ella McCahill Brown 20, Imogene Williams 16

    U16 Boys Titans Purple Midlands West Conference

    Shropshire Warriors 92-86 Northamptonshire Titans Purple

    Titans U16 Purple met Shropshire Warriors in their final game of the season. The Titans squad had high hopes entering the game as their last meeting only had a 6-point difference but with Titans having improved a lot since the Christmas break it was all to play for. Both teams got off to a great start; after Saahil Kanabar scored the first Titans points, every basket from Shropshire was met by another from Titans, setting the tone for the game. The first quarter finished 24:18

    In the second period, Shropshire exploited the space left by Titans in their defensive press and were able to reward their runners with the ball which in turn lead to good baskets by Warriors but Titans managed to keep up, mainly down to the scoring trio of Dinari Williams-Brown, Ben Hooper and Isaac Round who between them racked up 24 points in the quarter (25:24)

    The third quarter saw Warriors push further ahead of Titans whose tiring defence allowed Warriors to land uncontested shots going into the last quarter (22:18)

    The fourth quarter was Titans best quarter as the Williams-Brown, Hooper and Round scoring trio clocked up their biggest point accumulation, beating the home side 21:26 for this period. Great efforts from Ben Hooper and Isaac Round saw Titans come from 11 points down to within 5 points but it wasn’t enough as Shropshire tactfully played out their last minutes and took the win 92:86, a score line reminiscent of their first meeting. These boys can be proud of the continuous improvements they have made in their first season together.

    Top Scorers: Hooper 35, Round 24, Williams-Brown 19

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  • Titans Blog 17/18th March 2018

    U16 Girls North Conference

    Northamptonshire Titans 90-31 Leicester Warriors

    Titans, right from the tip, established why they were the North Champions as they kept Leicester Warriors to limited opportunities whilst their fast break transition team play resulted in free flowing scores for the whole team.

    The 2nd quarter was by far Warriors’ best as they contained Titan’s fast break and found success close to basket.

    The 3rd and 4th quarters belonged to Titans as their defence stepped up which resulted in some of their finest basketball and by the end of the game all 12 Titans players made the scoresheet whilst remaining undefeated.

    U14 Boys Midlands West Conference

    Coventry Tornadoes 52-92 Northamptonshire Titans

    The U14 Boys finished their regular season games in style with an emphatic 92-52 win against Coventry Tornadoes, which meant that they completed their Midlands West league games with a perfect 18-0 record. In what was arguably the team’s best performance of the season, Isaac Round led the way with a 33 point haul that included going seven of seven from the free throw line. The defensive efforts of Ben Hooper and Ciaran Myers locked down Coventry’s star player and Hooper was also Titans’ second highest scorer with 23 points. Early in the game, Jack Brown was forced to sit after sustaining an ankle injury and Oskar Knight also tweaked his ankle soon after, but this didn’t unsettle the team. Knight was able to re-join the game and helped Titans to dominate the boards which led to numerous successful fast-breaks. A high level of intensity and outstanding team play gave Titans a 42-26 half-time lead and there was no let-up in the second half as the team went on to win all four quarters. Sean Rawlins and Harry Mitchell were the other two Titans to reach double-figures scoring 16 and 10 respectively. The team now has a few weeks to prepare themselves for the playoffs. The first round will take place at the beginning of April and the team earned at home fixture against Midlands East league Champions, Mansfield Giants.

    U16 Boys Midlands West Conference

    Northamptonshire Titans Purple 66-96 West Bromwich Albion

    Titans Purple took to the court against league leaders West Bromwich Albion. When these two sides met earlier in the season, the inexperienced Titans’ side were left with a bitter taste after a 100 point defeat. With nothing to lose and everything to prove, Titans got off to a strong start. With quality ball movement and strong defence, Titans stayed within 3 points of West Brom. In the second West Brom switched to a zone defence which Titans struggled to break through and as they missed perimeter shots, West Brom pulled the rebounds and converted several break points. By the half, West Brom had extended their lead to 15 points.

    Titans came out in the second half cautiously and unfortunately confidence for the side was low. West Brom continued to finish strong and extended their lead to 40 points. Titans showed great character as they pulled together to get back to the form they had in the first quarter. Overall Titans scored significantly more in this tie compared to their last meeting showing an impressive level of improvement.

    Standout performances came from Titans’ youngest players Ben Hooper and Isaac Round as they top scored with 31 and 23 respectively.

    Purple complete their season on Saturday with their final away game at Shropshire.

    Next week sees the final games of the season for the U16 North Premier Boys, U16 Titans Purple and a double header for the Division 2 Women before at least 3 Titans’ teams head towards the Playoffs in what is turning out to be one of the best Titans’ seasons.

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  • Titans Blog 10/11th March 2018

    U16 Boys

    Northamptonshire Titans 83-66 Sheffield Sharks

    This game had all the ingredients of a good game as Titans needed to reverse the result to stay on course for the 2nd place in the Prem, whilst Sharks needed to take victory to cement a playoff spot.

    Ben Nailer responded to Sharks’ tip off score which in turn saw Sam Grant carve his way through Sharks’ defence; Jacob Cirtautas battled well at both boards whilst Jude Carmichael’s efforts were rewarded with transition scores. Grant continued to cause problems and with scoring runs exchanged, Titans found themselves 21-19 up at the end of the first.

    Titans turned up the heat with a 10-0 run at the restart combining Diarra Layne along with Grant and Nailer; the physicality stepped up as both teams contested every procession, but Sharks could not contain the free-flowing Titans’ game plan which resulted in a 12-point lead to the home team.

    Nailer opened the third with a three-pointer which inspired the visitors and again not for the first time, Titans stood firm and showed why the will be competing with the best in the Country.

    The fourth saw both teams battle to the very end, but Titans continued to dominate the visitors in all departments leaving the result in no doubt.

    Titans have one more fixture away to Birmingham and an away victory will secure them second place in the Premiership and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

    Top Scorers: Nailer 25, Grant 22, Carmichael 13, Cirtautas 10

    Titans U16 Girls Clinch North Title

    Derby Trailblazers 63-74 Northamptonshire Titans

    Titans knew that a victory would secure them the North Conference Title; Hannah Bird got proceedings off through a well-executed inbound play, followed up by a Lauren Dabbs bucket.

    Whilst Trailblazers were struggling to stop the rampant Titans as they continued to demonstrate why they are the top side in the North, Emma Wickham took full control under the boards and Kenny Hamilton kept Trailblazers’ leading scorer under wraps throughout the first half.

    Titans continued to move the ball well as Wickham, Dabbs and Tegan Millar were the recipients as the wave of offence continued to put the Derby side under pressure.

    The fourth saw Trailblazers perform their best, but the day belonged to the Titans team performance and with still three games to play, Titans will be preparing themselves for the National Playoffs.

    Top Scorers:

    Dabbs 23, Wickham 15, Bird 10

    U11 Boys East Mids Mini-Basketball Tournament

    The Northamptonshire U11s County team travelled to Leicester to compete against two Leicestershire teams, a Nottinghamshire team and a team from Derbyshire in the East Midlands Mini-Basketball Tournament. Head Coach for the team was NEBC Titans U14s coach, Mike Round, who had prepared a team of boys following a series of selection and training sessions. Three boys from NEBC Titans were selected for the team alongside boys from a number of local clubs. Ethan Round, Ewan Nelson and Kai Clement all made positive contributions as the team progressed through the tournament displaying some impressive skills and teamwork. Northamptonshire won all four of their matches and were duly crowned East Midlands Mini-Basketball Champions.

    U14 Girls Midlands Conference

    Northamptonshire Titans 53-79 Oaklands Wolves

    Titans U14 girls were host to Oaklands Wolves; the last time the two sides met, Wolves pressured the young Titans throughout the game, however with a month’s match rest, Titans were able to work on breaking the high court pressure. Titans got off to a flying start using their skills to read the defence well; with great transition play and a strong state of mind, Titans were only trailing by three points at the end of the first quarter. Titans lost confidence in the second allowing Wolves to dictate play. Stern words from Coach James set Abi Smith on the attack as she scored an impressive layup under extreme pressure. Titans followed this example getting their performance back on track.

    Captain Luca Virag spoke with her team at the half to continue rebuilding the team’s confidence; this showed with Titans as they went out strong for the second half. With high intensity defence, Titans were able to perform at the level of their opponents. the score had unfortunately got away from the home team in the second period and despite an impressive team performance there were not able to recover the deficit.

    Top Scorers:

    Luca Virag 26, Ella McCahill-Brown 12, Imogene Williams 10

    U14 Boys Midlands West Conference

    Abingdon Eagles 52-100 Northamptonshire Titans

    Titans’ U14 Boys continued with their winning ways when they travelled to Abingdon for their penultimate game of the regular season. As preparation for the play-offs, Titans’ strategy was to press the opponents throughout the game and fast-break at every opportunity. Despite their valiant efforts, Abingdon couldn’t cope with the relentless defensive pressure and by half time were 26-55 down. It was more of the same in the second half as Titans powered to a 100-52 victory. Sean Rawlins and Isaac Round contributed 51 of the team’s points scoring 26 and 25 respectively. Three other players reached double figures – Ciaran Myers 17, Benji Leesing 11 and Oskar Knight 10. The team still needs a win from its final league game against Coventry to guarantee a play-off spot.

    U13 Boys Central Venue League

    Titans were able to involve 18 boys, spread across three teams, in the U13 Central Venue League that took place at NSB on Saturday. All three teams performed extremely well and the only loss one of the Titans’ teams suffered was when they played one of the other Titans teams. The CVL tournaments are offering important opportunities to those aspiring to play in the National League next season.

    Division 2 Women

    Derbyshire Gems 77-45 Northamptonshire Titans

    On the previous encounter, Titans won a 2-point nail biter; this time round, Titans started really slowly, hampered by regular top scorer, Paige Vyse rolling her ankle on the first offense, which was the last she played. Titans did try to rally but the fast break basketball of Gems was superior to anything Titans could offer.

    Titans’ offence was out of sync and they struggled throughout; pleasing was the efforts of all the team showing a togetherness that will put them in good stead when competing for that final playoff spot over the next two weeks.

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  • Titans Blog 24/25 February 2018

    U14 Boys Midlands West Conference

    Northamptonshire Titans 113-43 Worcester Bears

    Although they still have two league games to play, the U14 Boys secured the Midlands West league title with a dominant 113-43 win against Worcester Bears. They had a poor start and with seven minutes played, just two points separated the teams. However, a change of tactics in the second quarter transformed the game as the Bears buckled under Titan’s intense full court pressure. A 25-0 run at the start of the quarter opened a 34-point lead and by half-time, Titans were 65-19 ahead. To the Bears’ credit, they tried to battle back at the start of the second half and a series of positive drives gave them several free throw attempts, but Titans’ were simply too big and too strong, and they continued to extend their lead. After a 27-10 final quarter in Titans’ favour, the final buzzer sounded and the celebrations began. Isaac Round contributed a game-high 29 points and four more Titans achieved double-figures; Sean Rawlins 21, Harry Mitchell 17, Oskar Knight 14 and Ben Hooper 12. Although they are now league champions, the team will need to maintain their focus against Coventry next week to maintain their unbeaten record and give themselves a favourable route through play-offs.

    Division 2 Women

    Worcester Wolves 73-76 Northamptonshire Titans

    Titans Women began a busy weekend, travelling to a confident Worcester Wolves team in a fight for a play off position. On the back of an impressive performance against league leaders Ipswich, Titans started strong and with unity against a very physical Wolves side. Sasha Thompson was on form as she dominated the Titans’ first quarter scoring; she was supported by the high quality passing and patience of Hannah Bird. Titans struggled as Wolves switched to a zone preventing Titans from driving to basket and Wolves took an 8-point lead at the half 43-35.

    In the second half, Titans battled to pull the deficit back, however Wolves again pulled a 10-point lead mid-way through the third. Titans’ Captain Esme Kinghorn set an example to her team as she exploited gaps on the baseline and rebounded well. With confidence growing, Titans battled through and pulled the game back to just one point. The lead exchanged several times within the last two minutes of the game but a mistake from Titans who were just one point down, sent Wolves to the line with just 8 seconds remaining. Making one of two shots, Wolves had to defend to finish with a win. Titans had been running strong transitions all game, as the ball was inbounded and advanced quickly, Thompson got her hands on the ball and drove to the basket under extreme pressure.

    Thompson’s quality shone as, for the second time, she made a layup in the dying seconds bringing the game to 69 all.

    Drama broke over confusion with a time out call, however Thompson’s layup stood and with .5 secs on the clock it was Wolves to inbound the ball. Unable to get the shot off the game went to overtime. Titans dug deep as fatigue set in, however Bird showed maturity beyond her years as she controlled the play moving the ball and finding Paige Seaton on the perimeter, sending the three to the bottom of the net. Titans defended to the end and finally took the 3-point win.

    Top scorers:

    Thompson 22 Paige Seaton 13, Paige Vyse 11

    Northamptonshire Titans 85-77 Mansfield Giants

    Less than 24 hours after a big win at Worcester, Titans were host to Mansfield Giants. Giants are the closest team to Titans in the league standings, both teams fighting for the last playoff position.

    This game was set to test Titans as Giants’ roster is blessed with height and strength. Giants started slowly, allowing Titans an 11-point lead 6 minutes into the game. Titans struggled to maintain this lead and Coach Powell changed to defensive strategy to compensate. With little effect, the game was tied at the end of the first 25-25.

    The second quarter remained a tight affair, however scoring eluded Titans as their ball movement slowed. An assertive time out sent Titans back on track with Sascha Thompson and Paige Vyse connecting layups. Vyse followed with 3 back to back 3 pointers bringing Titans back to within 1 point of Giants.

    The third quarter, often one of the toughest, showed to be just that. With strong resolve and composure, both teams battled to try and create a lead. Titans’ Georgia Collins connected with a 3 to keep the game to 1 point at the end of the 3rd, 58-59.

    During the fourth, Collins found her rhythm as she connected a further 3, 3-pointers making it 4 in a row for her. Hayley Swann and Hannah Bird played vital defensive roles allowing for a close score. Despite all their experience, Giants found themselves in foul trouble as Thompson yet again scored a fantastic layup under extreme pressure. Thompson continued to push for a score and in doing so was sent to the line twice, scoring 4 of 4, Titans taking a 2-point lead. Inspired by her team’s performance, Paige Seaton also stepped up scoring 5 of 6 from the line in the final 2 mins. Swann and Bird continued to pull down rebounds and Titans finished the tie 8 points ahead at 85-77

    Tops Scorers:

    Vyse 22, Collins 16, Thompson 12, Seaton 12

    U16 Girls North Conference

    Northants Lightning 63-111 Northamptonshire Titans

    Titans travelled to neighbouring team Northants Lightning. Titans made a strong start as Emma Wickham opened the scoring and with Titans’ leading scorer Lauren Dabbs still in great form, Titans immediately pulled away halting any Lightning score for the first 5 minutes of the game. Lightning responded, able to pull the score back to 14- 21 at the end of the first. Titans kept a steady lead through the second quarter and with strong penetration to basket forced Lightning into foul trouble. Titans lead 32-51 at the half.

    With a more physical game, tensions began to rise, however a change in defensive style saw Titans take full control of the game with Dabbs, Wickham and Tegan Millar scoring at will and a 48-80 lead to Titans going into the final quarter. Ella McCahill-Brown seized her opportunity in the fourth, causing problems on the break and increasing her own points tally. Titans finished the game strong and took a comfortable win 63-111 to remain unbeaten. Titans strength shows as they saw no less than 5 players in double figures.

    Top Scorers:

    Dabbs 32, Millar 20, Wickham 17, Hannah Bird 14, McCahill-Brown 12

    U15 CVL

    Titans entered a team in the U15 Central Venue League held at Northampton School for Boys on Saturday. Although the Titans’ team was made up mainly of U13 boys, they went unbeaten during the event. Under the supervision of Coach Saunders, the boys worked well as a unit at both ends of the floor. The Central Venue Leagues have provided valuable competitive opportunities for those aiming to compete in the U14 National League competition next season

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