VARSITY 2014: Basketball

Tomos Nolan

Tomos Nolan

Men’s Basketball

by Nick Robinson

IN A BREATHLESS contest, Aberystwyth Men’s Basketball team staved off a late Bangor fightback to secure their first Varsity victory in five attempts. Bangor rallied incredibly from a huge 13 point deficit in the 4th quarter to move within just one point of Aber with 1.6 seconds left on the clock. Yet after a tense combination of missed free throws and Bangor jeers and general un-sportsmanship, President David Geddes told me of how great it was to “finally get a win over Bangor”.

Aberystwyth battled and matched up to Bangor’s strength and guile in the opening two quarters and moved into a comfortable 33-28 lead, thanks to a dominant MVP Matt Jones’ 9 points inside the paint. President Geddes had a superb first half, blocking main threat Bigley with a huge knock-down, whilst driving through a sea of bodies to claim a decisive lay-up and subsequent free-throw.

Into the third quarter, and it was ‘all good in the hood’, as Aber held a ten point lead throughout. Chinese fresher, Derek Hood took to the floor and disposed the shot of season much to the delight of the team and crowd, dancing past a screen and flicking a gorgeous windmill layup over the outstretched arms of 3 Bangor players, twice the size. One Bangor baller took this personally as he unacceptably floored an unprovoked Hood, resulting to a technical foul.

Aber struggled in the fourth, only hitting 9 points, with two travelling calls allowing Bangor back in to the match. With noise levels increasing, the notorious and outspoken Bigley pulled a huge 3-pointer with just 8 seconds to spare for Bangor and it was hearts in mouths time for all inside the packed gym.

Despite four missed free throws from Morgan and Geddes, Aber held on, with Morgan dedicating the victory to Scott Gordon who suffered a horrible injury earlier in the season. Purely for the history alone and four tortuous years of defeat, I think this can go down as the performance of Varsity. Captain Lindane Dube and charismatic coach Jan Ruzicka will undoubtedly be proud – and quite rightly so.

Women’s Basketball

by Robert Sheargold

Points lost early on from this fast paced women’s basketball game proved to show that luck was not on the side of the skilful Aber team who fell to a hardworking and well organised Bangor team. There is no doubt that this highly anticipated match could easily have gone either way.

Tomos Nolan

Tomos Nolan

The first tip off went to Bangor, which led to a quick penalty converted by number 44 who looked sharp throughout the match. The skirmishes of the Aberystwyth team paid dividends in the first quarter as they took an early lead. However, this was short-lived as, much of the first quarter resulted in Bangor working the ball well and leaving number 18 open for an array of three point attempts in which she converted more often than not.

Towards the end of the first quarter, Bangor extended their lead through neat play in transition, as number 44 in the ‘big man’ role dominated the key leaving Aberystwyth 7 points astray. The second quarter saw a brighter start from Aberystwyth, most noticeably Aber’s Nicolina Chrysaphi, driving the net in the early encounters drawing two penalties and finishing lay ups and altogether energising the rest of the women who managed to pull it back to 22-20 mid way through the period.

For larger parts of the third quarter, the momentum favoured the Aberystwyth women whose well-constructed build up was often squandered when it fell to the attempts on the net. This cost them dearly as they ended the quarter 20 points behind Bangor. Fresh legs was the theme of the last quarter, as the teams changed up to dire consequences for Aberystwyth. Countless half court steals and breakaways left Aberystwyth hanging out to dry, as the score rocketed to unfairly reflect a Bangor rout, when in truth it was a tighter affair for much of the game.