Swashbuckling start to 2011 for Bognor Pirates

Bognor Pirates 72

Bognor Pirates have had an excellent start to 2011, with victories over UWIC Archers and Sevenoaks Suns. The seconds have added to the club’s success with a win in the Sussex League.

Bognor Pirates 72 UWIC Archers 71

National League

Bognor’s National League campaign for 2011 started with a nail-biting home win over UWIC Archers.

The Pirates welcomed back David Turner and Joe Mclaren and Bognor used their height advantage early on to score from the posts.

Turner scored a trademark three-pointer to get back in the grove at The Arena but the first quarter finished 18-17 to UWIC.

In the second both teams found it hard to get open shots. Turner and Matt Robbins drove the ball hard to the basket to keep Bognor close to UWIC. At half-time they trailed 36-32.

Coach Chris Watson must have said something to the players because they came out with a scoring frenzy.

Robbins started it with a spurt including a three-pointer and Turner’s three-pointer gave Bognor the lead. UWIC fought back to get the lead back and increased their defensive intensity. Richard Lowe found his range, scoring six consecutive points.

The final quarter started with Bognor playing high-intensity defence which stopped UWIC from scoring the first couple of offences. Bognor found gaps in the UWIC defence and took the lead through Joe Mclaren and Chris Watson.

Bognor played the game out and with key free-throws extending the lead to four points with five seconds to go.

UWIC took a shot at the buzzer and it went in but it was too late and Pirates won by a point.

PIRATES: D Turner 24, R Lowe 17, M Robbins 11, J Mclaren 5, B Davenport 4, C Watson 3, D Chester 2, G Pridie 2, M Wakeling 2, G Roythorne 2, S Hardyman.

Bognor Pirates 83 Sevenoaks Suns 67

National League

Sevenoaks Suns had only six players, which inspired Pirates into an up-tempo performance.

The Suns came out stronger, scoring back-to-back three-pointers with a 10-3 run in the first few minutes. Pirates responded with Lowe and Pridie forcing scores but the score at the end of the first quarter was 19-15 to the Suns.

Pirates started to chase the game with Watson taking the ball to the basket, drawing fouls. But they made some ill-advised defensive fouls and Suns capitalised by gaining multiple three-point plays.

There were many fouls but Pirates decided to move the ball quickly on offence to disrupt the zone defence of the Suns and opened gaps that Barnes and Roythorne exploited.

The first half ended with Pirates just 41-35 down.

Pirates operated a good rotation of the bench players but Suns weren’t going to give up their lead easily.

Wilson took the ball hard to the basket forcing fouls by Suns players, with Pirates finally mustering a 6-0 run using their speed. Suns’ pair of three-pointers was cancelled out as Pirates ended the third quarter trailing 55-49.

Suns still had a high-energy offence but gaps were showing defensively and Pirates wore them down.

The crowd were fully behind the Pirates and the game turned in their favour. McLaren and Turner were scoring emphatically on the fast-break.

Pirates started showing flair in attack but defensively, they continued to give away fouls.

With 25 seconds to go, after some dazzling offensive passing by the Pirates, Barnes scored an acrobatic lay-up giving Pirates a 67-66 lead.

Suns reacted by forcing a foul with the chance to win the game from the foul line with four seconds left. Anderson missed the first shot but made the second to tie the game.

Pirates narrowly missed a three-point attempt, ending regular time 67-67.

In overtime, Pirates had the wind in their sails and McLaren and Turner scored 16 unanswered points. Watson’s pep talk saw Pirates take total control and the Suns’ frustrated coach was ejected from the game.

PIRATES: J McLaren 26, D Turner 24, L Barnes 8, R Lowe 8, C Watson 5, G Pridie 4, G Roythorne 4, K Wilson 2, D Chester 2, M Wakeling.

Bognor Pirates II 82 Worthing D&D 65

Sussex League

The first quarter saw Pirates take control with a 7-2 run in the opening few minutes. Turner got himself open for shots at the hoop and Wilson landed five straight points.

D+D stayed in it thanks to accurate foul shots from Jackson. The Pirates scored the final four points of the quarter, ending it 23-10 up.

The second quarter saw the Pirates attack the hoop with successful inside play from Pridie. D+D responded with an aggressive offence from Marshall.

The Pirates managed to stay in front with solid, productive basketball, ending the first half 42-33 up. They knew they must stop D+D’s transition game and capitalise on their height advantage. Clive cut behind the D+D defence for an impressive score but the Pirates were still lacking in composure.

The Pirates lost the third quarter by three points but still led 58-52. Coach Hardyman decided the Pirates needed to sharpen their defence and they responded, forcing turnovers that led to valuable fast-break points.

McLaren saw opportunities to exploit the D+D’s defence by driving to the basket and this led to 14 unanswered points from the Pirates, ending with a three-pointer from Turner.

D+D tried everything, to no avail. The Pirates defence stayed firm and Barnes capitalised on the break to secure a fourth straight win.

PIRATES: Turner 22, McLaren 16, Pridie 11, Clive 10, Barnes 9, Roythorne 7, Wilson 5, Lowe 2, Hardyman, Parker.