Josh Lea-Clayton led the way with a 12-point haul in Horsham Hawks Basketball Club under-11s’ 49-28 defeat of Worthing D&D.
After a tight first half, the Hawks led 18-16 before dominating the second half 31-12. Tommy Collins scored ten points, while Matthew Kingsford and Robert Hartley scored six points each.
Head Coach David Clayton said: “This team has shown a tremendous level of progress and an unflinching determination to keep improving. This was a fantastic performance and the team should feel very proud that the commitment and hard work they bring to training is paying off.”
Also this week for the Hawks, the under-14s won a nail-biting match against Haywards Heath Eagles, 79-78. Nick Hutchinson (21 points) was the top scorer as Daniela Lozzi (16) and Elliot Bailey (15) reached double figures.
Aaron Sparrowhawk opened the Hawks’ account with a two-basket opening salvo, before the Eagles responded in kind and baskets were traded throughout the first quarter.
Bailey made his mark scoring eight of the next home team points, with Daniela Lozzi adding a further four points as well as working tirelessly in defence. Hutchinson then entered the fray scoring six more points before Abi Reeves closed the quarter giving the Hawks a 26 - 20 lead.
Both sides continued to play smart, effective basketball in the second quarter and Louis Rowland’s basket late in the quarter ensured the hawks held a 49-42 lead at half way, although the foul count made for uncomfortable reading.
The Eagles came out strong in the second half and the Hawk’s heads seemed to drop under the relentless opposition pressure. The foul count continued to rise, placing some of the Hawks players into foul trouble - including Ola Edgal, who’s hard work under the hoop rewarded him with four points. Lewis Dobson added four points to his total and Harry Baker was able to score the first of his baskets. India Belfield, Freddie Winton and Joe Cross took some of the pressure off, but the quarter closed with the Eagles up 65 - 57.
The final quarter began with the Hawks showing the sort of self belief and confidence that had won them the first half of the match, scoring 9 of the first 11 points.
That effort came at a cost however, with three of the home side players and two of the opposition being fouled out of the match. But Hutchinson continued to drive to the basket drawing fouls from the Eagles’ bemused defence. The Hawks edged ahead in the last minute only for Eagles to sink two under pressure free throws.
With only a few seconds left Hutchinson was fouled bringing the ball up court, much to the frustration of the Haywards Heath coach who received a technical foul for an over zealous complaint. This gifted the Hawks four free throws and possession of the ball. Sinking one of the free throws and with eight seconds left the home team were able to keep possession and secure the victory.
“I’m so incredibly proud of this team, each and every one of them,” said coach Will Belfield.