Brixton Topcats 59 (Brown 16, Lloyd 12, Warburg 8)
London Westside 58 (Nikolaou 26, Omigie 16, Marinov 14
Brixton Topcats senior men emerged with their first victory of the season on Sunday with a 1 point win over London Westside in the Patrons Cup. Topcats have used the Patrons Cup as their preseason and will be happy with the win and the first half performance but acutely aware of the need to continue to improve as a team unit.
The first quarter was dominated by backcourt scoring from both teams and missed free throws by Westside’s big men who shot a collecting 4 for 10 from the line in the first. Topcats opened the first quarter scoring through an and 1 from Amon Brown who would finish as the teams top scorer with 16. James Lloyd added a pair of first quarter threes as Brixton jumped out to an early lead. However, Westside fought back with scoring from point guard Nikolaou who kept the visitors in the game with 10 of his 26 points coming in the first.
Brixton finished the first up two (16 – 14) and built on that lead in the second with the best quarter of basketball they have produced this season. The Topcats defence switched up a gear as they contested shots, made catches difficult and caused turnovers which allowed them to convert stops into fast break scores at the other end. In order to have a successful season, Brixton will need to replicate this defensive effort and intensity. In the halfcourt Brixton’s good ball movement led to open shots and inside looks against Westside’s zone. Brixton’s best quarter of basketball so far this season gave them a 37 – 24 lead at the break and they looked to be in for an easy first win of the season.
Westside, however, had other ideas. A combination of errors and missed shots from Brixton alongside Westside’s strong inside presence meant that the away side were able to get back into the game cutting the lead to 6 in the third as Brixton struggled for fluidity on offence.
The fourth quarter saw much of the same but final quarter threes from John Stewart, James Lloyd and Lawrie Warburg provided enough scoring punch to allow the Topcats to hold off the charge from Westside. Westside had one final attempt at the buzzer to steal the game but Nikolaou’s heave from just inside the half court line, under pressure from”AJ” Gellatly wouldn’t fall.
After the game Coach Baker said:
“The first win is always the hardest one to get. We’ve used the Patrons Cup as a bit of a preseason and we’ve got enough talent and enough stuff to have a good season this year. We have to show more killer instinct when we’re in control of games than we did today but as we grow as a group that will develop.”