The Thames Valley Kings Junior league team returned to action this past Sunday in the first round matches of the league in Littlehampton. In the first Match of the day, the Kings faced Tornadoes – who until this year joined forces with Kings to field combined Under 15s and under 19s teams however a huge change in the format for Junior league competition this year saw the teams playing against each other with players aged 13 to 19 taking part.
Reece Barker won the tip-off and Liam Barker was straight to the basket with the first 2 points for Kings. Kings got an early lead of 9 to zero points before Tornados called a timeout to talk it over. This lead to a fightback from Tornados and an evenly contested quarter with new player to the Kings Junior league Wesley Newman scoring. A very close quarter between both teams Kings 11 Tornados 12.
The second quarter saw Kings put the pressure on Tornados and edge out in front with baskets from Oscar Knight, Reece Barker, Liam Barker and Dan Smith. As the teams went to the bench for the halftime break there was one point between the teams with kings have won the second quarter, Kings 27 Tornados 26.
The third quarter saw an end to end play between both teams with further baskets from R. Barker and Smith – Kings managed to win the quarter by one point – bring the teams 2 points apart in this very close game. Kings 38 Tornadoes 36.
The 4th quarter was just as close but kings were unlucky on a few shots that did not drop and Tornadoes change in tactics aiming for the first win of the round of the junior league. Final score Kings 42 Tornadoes 49. With very close and evenly matched teams and with two rounds and two matches between the teams to play it should a great competition moving forward.
After a quick 10 minute break Kings were back out on the floor for the second match of the day against Hampshire Hornets. Kings won the tip again thanks to Reece Barker and he was straight to the basket to open up the scoring for the team, followed by points from Oscar Knight, Joel Clifton and Corey Bloomfield in the first quarter. Kings leading Hornets 18-2.
The second quarter saw a bit more of an end to end play between the teams, with Kings still leading the scoring with further baskets from Dan Smith, Liam Barker, and Joel Clifton. At the half time break Kings 30 – Hornets 12.
The third quarter saw Hornets trying hard to score but the shots would not drop for them, kings were able to continue with adding further points to the teams total with baskets from Liam Barker, Clifton, Knight and Bloomfield. End of the quarter score being Kings 41 Hornets 16.
The fourth and final quarter for the team saw Hornets win the quarter however Kings had by this point relaxed knowing that lead from the start of the game would be enough to win the game. Final score Kings 47 Hornets 26.
A great round one of the Junior League with a different format from previous years. The Juniors now wait for the second round of matches at Kennet Leisure Centre on January 14th.
Junior League Captain Reece Barker stated
“Great first show from this young team. Next time we are going to fight hard and will try and take both the Wins”