Rebels fight hard to beat Kestrels in tight game
Essex Rebels Division 1 men hosted the Solent Kestrels in their regular season match up. Solent met Essex during the preseason where they edged the Rebels by 3 in overtime.
Essex were looking to continue a good spell of form after beating Newcastle University away from home last weekend.
The Rebels crowd were out in force again, however it was a slow and lacklustre start for the home side who found themselves trailing early on. Solent were utilising their fast paced, dribble drive style of play and Essex couldn’t keep up with the pace.
Going into half time the Rebels were down 7 and Coach Ross Norfolk needed to rally the group to ensure the lead didn’t extend.
The 3rd quarter saw an even contest, but then with 5 minutes to go in the quarter the Rebels stepped up their intensity on the defensive end. The home starting to get stops after stops which ignited their offence. Rebels finished on a 12 – 4 run and took the lead by 1 going into the final quarter.
Essex continued to use the momentum created in the previous quarter and extended their lead by 10 points with 3 minutes to play. Solent were able to withstand this energy and began to claw back. The game was tied with 30 seconds to play and then a huge 3 point shot by guard Jake Eynon settled the Rebels nerves and gave them some breathing room. Solent took a timeout to draw up a play which lead them to an open lay up but it still meant the home side were up 1 with 20 seconds to go. Essex kept their cool during the pressured moments and managed to take the win 82 – 80.
Essex were led by captain Rory Winter with 20 points whilst big man Lee Linton Hodges pitched in 16 points and 8 rebounds.
Coach Ross Norfolk was pleased with the teams ability to adjust, “A slow start by us allowed Solent to take an early lead. We needed to adjust what we were doing on the defensive end. The guys bought into that in the second half which allowed us get stops and easier scores in transition.”
Next weekend the Rebels travel up to Bradford Dragons and then have a quick turnaround against Thames Valley Cavailers in the next round of the National Cup.