Basketball: Sussex Cup win is a river of dreams for Amazons

The Amazons with their Sussex Cup spoils
The Amazons with their Sussex Cup spoils

Bognor Amazons ladies’ basketball team have won the Sussex Cup, beating Brighton Cougars 68-65 in a thrilling final.

The team, who normally play in the Solent League, joined the cup competition this season to have fun playing against new teams.

Their first-round against Holbrook Allstars saw them take an easy win 76-48. In the semi-finals against the University of Chichester, they had a tough fight but beat them 66-47.

The final involved a trip to Portslade to face Sussex League winners Brighton Cougars.

It started with Amazons struggling to keep up with their young, quick opposition.

The Cougars’ first points came from four three-pointers in a row and the end of the first quarter saw Cougars securing an impressive 20-11 lead.

Amazons changed their defence to put more pressure on the outside shooters, but the lead Cougars gained in the first quarter meant they stayed ahead, despite Amazons outscoring them in each subsequent quarter. Cougars went into the final quarter with a five-point lead.

The last five minutes were nail-biting as Amazons overtook the Cougars for the first time, making three unanswered baskets to go ahead 62-59.

After a lull of three-pointers since the first quarter, Cougars made an important three-point shot to equal the score.

After a basket each, Amazons scored two free throws to extend their lead by two points. A tense moment saw Cougars also go to the line for two free throws, which could have evened the score again, but both were missed.

With just over half a minute left, Cougars were getting desperate and one of their most dominant players committed her fifth foul, which meant a sending-off and Amazons going back to the line.

Both free throws were made to make it 68-64 with 38 seconds left. Cougars called a time-out and Amazons knew all they needed to do was play thorough defence and not foul.

This didn’t go quite to plan, and with 14 seconds left a foul was called on Amazons. Anxiously watched by players and supporters, Cougars went to the line, but made only one of their two shots.

Both teams fought for the rebound like their lives depended on it, and as Amazons grabbed the ball, the final buzzer sounded ... and Amazons had won the Sussex Cup Final 68-65!

Captain Lydia Stapely said: “It was very exciting to win such a close game.”

AMAZONS: Jo Lowe 19, Vicky Smith 18, Lydia Stapely 11, Zsofia Vitanyi 11, Ellie Thorne 6, Marloes Van Der Ouderaa 3, Hayley Sexton, Melanie Phillips.

Ellen Campbell and Debs Wilson helped the cup campaign by playing in earlier rounds