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Raiders steal the last laugh to spoil the Jesters’ party
Sep 18, 2010, 11:21 am

It was the battle of the new boys as Weymouth Raiders visited Exmouth Jesters for their opening game of the Exeter District basketball league season. Both teams are newly formed this year and it certainly looked like the start of the season, as both got off to a slow start in the first quarter. Scores from Sam “Goon” Dodge, Doherty and Bahl gave the Raiders a lead in a nervy opening spell marked by turnovers and missed shots and with just 3 minutes of the first quarter remaining the scoreboard stood at just 5 – 1. The pace then picked up a little as Adams for Exmouth and Bahl for Weymouth both scored twice but the first quarter finished at just 14 -8 to the Raiders.


The narrow lead was maintained throughout the second quarter as MacAvatter hit a pair of 3 – point shots for Exmouth but Dodge responded with one of his own and Romano and Speary proved effective on the break for Weymouth. One noticeable difference between the teams was that Weymouth committed only two fouls in the first half whereas Exmouth racked up ten including, significantly, three by their main scoring threat MacAvatter. The game was certainly becoming a more lively affair as the first half close with a 31 -24 lead for the Raiders.


At the start of the third quarter Weymouth appeared to have gained the upper hand, going on a 16 – 7 scoring run to increase their lead to sixteen points. The Weymouth defence was being effectively organised by experienced player Giles Heaman with Rob Legg playing an intimidating role as shot-blocker. Regular substitutions by coach Andy Blackwood meant the whole Weymouth squad saw plenty of court time and everyone was contributing points in this spell. Exmouth coach Chris Davy made effective use of a time-out to reorganise his defence, and a more intensive half-court press saw the tide turn as the Jesters scored eight unanswered points to halve the deficit and let Weymouth know the game was far from won.


The final minute of the third quarter was probably the most dramatic of the match. First MacAvatter was given a technical foul for bad language which, as it was his fifth foul, meant he was out of the game. With nine seconds remaining Weymouth called a time-out to set up one last scoring shot. Alok Bahl took responsibilty and, despite being tightly defended, hit a seemingly impossible shot from the side to give the Raiders a 50 -39 advantage going in to the final period.


With a double digit lead and the Jesters’ main scorer out of the game it looked as though only complacency could ruin the Raiders chance of securing their first ever win. In the first couple of minutes Jesters tried to make it happen, narrowing the lead slightly to 52 – 44, but then the Raiders stepped up another gear, and it wasn’t long before the outcome was inevitable. In the final seven minutes Raiders outscored their opponents by 19 points to 5 including a nine point contribution from MVP Jack Speary.


Speaking at the end of the 71 -49 victory coach Andy Blackwood was quick to praise his whole squad saying “The most pleasing aspect of the game was the way our scoring was spread so evenly. We don’t have to rely on one or two star players because everyone is making a contribution. It was my plan to give everyone a good runout and it was very satisfying to see every single player take responsibility on court and contribute to a very promising team performance.”


Raiders scorers: Speary 14 points, Bahl 13, Doherty 12, Romano 12, Dodge 8, Stanley 6, Heaman 2, Scott 2 

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