Rebels Close Out Season With a Win in OT

April 03, 2023

Essex Rebels Division 1 men took on the Manchester Magic in their second match up of the season. The Rebels were looking to bounce back after a tough loss last weekend and finish the season on a high.

It was a special game for Lee Linton Hodges as the big man announced mid-week that he will be retiring from National League Basketball. Lee has played 16 season in the National league with stints at Essex Leopards, Ipswich, Hemel and finally back in his home town with the Rebels.

A cagey start by both teams saw a low scoring first 5 minutes but the Rebels began to find some flow late on with scoring from Linton Hodges and Owen Chose. The second quarter Essex began to step up their defensive efforts and begin to score in transition. Manchester we are able to keep the Rebels at arms length with buckets from Andre Gayle, however the Rebels saw themselves up 10 at halftime.

Essex needed to shift up a gear in the 2nd half as they knew the Magic team were not going to let up.

The third quarter saw Essex start the slower of the two sides. Early on Manchester began to find their offensive rhythm and exploit the silly turnovers by Essex. A timeout by Coach Norfolk was needed to steady the ship and kill the momentum of the away side. Essex came away from what they were doing well in the first half and needed to regroup quickly.

Going into the final stanza, the game was tied up and was set up for an exciting finish. Back and fourth baskets throughout the quarter saw it close late on. The Rebels were up by 3 with 20 seconds to go and a last ditch play by Manchester saw them execute out of a timeout a 3 point score. With under 20 seconds left, The Rebels used their timeout to draw up a play to see them get a score. A switch from the Magic’s big on to Jake Eynon allowed the guard to drive to the basket. After his attempt the ball was bobbling around the rim and Essex were unable to tip it in. The game finished 79 – 79 and it was going to overtime.

The overtime period of 5 minutes was a real test of the teams endurance. Essex started the period well finding a way to get to the free throw line for some easy scores. The Rebels were able to take a 5 point lead and get some all important stops on the defensive end. The game finished with a win by 8 to Essex with a final score line of 93 – 85.

The Rebels were lead by Owen Chose with 28 points and 6 rebounds, Whilst Lee pitch in with a huge stat line of 20 points, 18 rebounds and 6 assists. A great way for a legend to finish his career.

Coach Norfolk was pleased to finish the season on a win, “It is great to finish the season on a win. More importantly its great for us to celebrate Lee’s final game in the National League and we wish him all the best in his next ventures”.

The Division 1 men have no finished the season and missed out narrowly on a playoff spot. The Rebels programme would like to thank all of our new and loyal fans for their support over the season. We will see you all in September when the league resumes.

Essex Rebels Team Huddle
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