Haringey Hawks swoop for a dramatic cup win
- Credit: Archant
Haringey Hawks under-18s defended their National Cup title in thrilling fashion at the weekend.
They faced Myerscough College in the final at Essex Sport Arena on Sunday and clinched a dramatic 65-64 victory as Owen Young converted a free throw with just 0.9 seconds left on the clock.
And that sealed a remarkable fightback from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter as Hawks, who trailed 54-44 going into the final session, ended with an 11-2 run to claim the silverware.
Alex Distras took the Most Valuable Player award for his outstanding display of 27 points, proving influential in the closing stages.
And he was ably supported by Ndewedo Newbury, who had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Young, who finished with 10 points.
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"We had a slow start and then we just bounced back in the second half," Distras told hoopsfix.com.
"Fourth quarter especially guys came ready and we were just pushing, pushing. Coach told us to believe and then that's what happened, we came through with the win."
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Myerscough led by eight points after a Great Osobor dunk with less than four minutes remaining, but a 10-0 run sparked by seven straight points from Distras saw Haringey edge two points up as Saul Chesters tipped in with 13 seconds left, after Newbury fouled out.
Osobor tied it up again with a pair of free throws with six seconds on the clock, but then committed the foul to send Young to the line, where he secured a memorable triumph.
Coach Frank Batimba added: "We looked nervous in the first three quarters, but I said 'start rebounding and win the game' and we did.
"We've got some great players on our team. They had some really good players too, but I knew when we start playing basketball we'll win.
"Basketball is more than just a sport, it's a mindset. A lot goes into making the players aim high and go hard every day.
"Don't settle, try and be great, not average. Keep pushing yourself every day and you'll only improve.
"We needed a close game because we've had a lot of easy games and not been pressured, so it's good for the team to feel that pressure, if we're ever in that situation again we know how to handle it.
"It was a great game and credit to my staff, they came prepared, had a great game plan and it was a close game."