LSBU Brixton Topcats 83-79 Huddersfield Heat
Top scorers: Petkus 31, Robertson 20, Branch 11
LSBU Brixton Topcats hold on in overtime to keep promotion alive after defeating second place Huddersfield Heat on Sunday 2nd March at Brixton Recreation Centre.
The game had added anticipation with it being the first home game back at the newly refurbished Brixton Recreation Centre sports hall, which has certainly elevated the clubs’ professional outlook. The game started with high tempo has expected with Uche Umekwe and Vytenis Petkus scoring for the Topcats but both missing free throws resulting in a slender 7-4 lead for the home side. The first quarter saw baskets being traded giving the Topcats a 15-10 quarter lead with all starters scoring.
The second quarter saw both Damoy Roberston and Petkus start to stamp their authority on the offensive end with the latter exploding for 17 points personal with four three pointers in the quarter to give the Topcats a commanding 41-25 half time lead.
The third quarter saw the visitors start to find their range fighting to get back into the game going on a 6-0 run but Aaron Branch responded for the Topcats scoring well inside and at the line. Again it was Petkus with the hot hand catching fire hitting four back-to-back three pointers igniting the home side to maintain the 16 point lead at 64-48 going into the final quarter in complete control of the game.
The fourth quarter is where the game took a dramatic change with the Heat starting to clamp down on defence and moving the ball well on offense to score at will going on a 14-5 run forcing the Topcats into a timeout. Again the visitors kept coming frustrating the Topcats in their zone defence where shots weren’t falling for the home side. The Topcats were starting to get frustrated which showed when Petkus went to the basket without a foul being called which he argued with the referee. He was awarded with a technical foul resulting him fouling out which was a huge blow for the Topcats as he was carrying the team offensively.
The Heat took full advantage playing smart basketball and increasing their defensive intensity. They had somehow clawed back to take their first lead of the game with 0.38 seconds to play in the game with a complete momentum swing in favour to the visitors. However, it was Branch who stayed calm and collected at the free throw line to tie the game at 71-71 to take the game into overtime. The Topcats were outscored in the quarter 23-7 where the game seemed to now swing in favour of the visitors. The Topcats now had to dig deep in the overtime period.
Dig deep they did behind Damoy Robertson who decided to take matters into his own hands in the overtime period scoring nearly all of the Topcats’ points (11 out of 12 points) to give the home side a thrilling win in front of loud crowd at the Rec. It was Robertson who made crucial shot after crucial shot as well as going 3 for 4 from the line.
Petkus was again the top scorer for the Topcats notching up an impressive 31 points, netting 8 out of 16 three pointers who was well supported by Robertson with 20 points & 8 rebounds and Branch with a double double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Topcats are back in action this Sunday 9th March at Brixton Recreation Centre against top of the league Derby Trailblazers at 4pm, which will not doubt be another thriller. All other three teams will also be playing giving a full day of basketball where the Lady Topcats will look to close out on winning the league at 2pm.