Mavericks vs. Stockport Atlas

posted bymiky clock 15:00

Final Score: 58 - 64  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas
"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
Stockport had to deal with a mini crisis, in terms of results, and it did so with a solid and professional performance over Mavericks. This was always going to be a tricky away fixture. It proved to be a challenging and a thrilling game. It even attracted local celebrities like Mike Nichols!
It started with a very close first quarter, where the dominant presence of Neil S was pivotal for Stockport. Atlas managed to narrowly go ahead in the quarter by 14-16 and Neil contributed 8 of those points (8 of the first 10 scored).
The second quarter was the most productive for Stockport that won the quarter by 13-21. It also included the best run that we had in the game. A 10-0 run (end of the first, beginning of second quarter). The quarter was marked by the 11 straight points from Max G (including three 3-pointers). This was at a crucial time and responded in kind to three 3-pointers from Mavericks. The half, finished with Stockport leading by 37-27. This 10-point lead proved to be crucial.
The second half was a bit scrappier, and predominantly it was the case of Stockport protecting their lead. Mavericks came back strong and won the third quarter by 20-16. The last quarter was the worst in terms of basketball quality. Both teams scored 11 points each. Stockport struggled in the last four minutes only managing 1 point. Mavericks though, were not capable of taking advantage. Stockport was leading throughout the game, was always in control and deserved their win.
The final score was 64-58 to Stockport despite their extremely poor free throw percentage of 8/22 (36%), including 1/8 in the first half.
Max G had a great game leading the scoring with 18 points and followed closely by Neil S with 16. Kyriakos N contributed 12 points. It was a very good team performance with everybody helping substantially during their court time. Even better, a great pub was designated after the game where a selection of ales (e.g. Black Cat) was much appreciated! J
This pub selection process is critical in maintaining the team morale and a prerequisite for the well-being of the author of these reports!
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Horwich Locos vs. Stockport Atlas

posted bymiky clock 11:40

Final Score: 67 - 96  |  Match Details

By Nikos Silikas

Travelling to North Manchester on a Tuesday afternoon can always be tricky. As a result, it took some of us more time to find the place, but that seemed to be the more challenging part of the night.
Stockport did not have an ideal warm-up and that was evident in the first quarter where the fighting spirit of Horwich took us by surprise. After exchanging baskets for most of the quarter (where Max Gouguel and Kyriakos Neanides scored 14 of the first 16 points), Horwich had a 10-0 run and finished the quarter leading by 24-19.
Things changed drastically in the second quarter. After going behind by as many as 9 points, Stockport responded with a 14-1 run to gain the lead. Thus Stockport won the quarter by 30-17 and had a good lead at half-time by 47-42.
Second half sounded promising but this turned out to be true only for the visitors. Stockport had an explosive third quarter that culminated in 22-2 run. Stockport played some superb defense throughout the quarter keeping Horwich to 9 points only. Our combo guard, Mr Brooks, was instrumental in that defense neutralizing completely and utterly the main threat from Horwich (apparently he still has nightmares about ‘that No 5’)! On the other end of the court, they scored 33 so at the end of the quarter they had a game-ending lead of 80-50.
Naturally, the fourth quarter proved to be a bit of anti-climax. Stockport, quite wisely, gave a lot of court time to bench players and as a result was not as menacing as in the 3rd quarter. The last quarter finished 17-14 for Horwich and Stockport had a convincing win on the road by 67-96 (despite a disappointing 11/23 from free throws).
Max Gouguel was absolutely on fire and dominating the scoring with 30 points including 6 3-pointers. Mr Brooks and Mr Neanides both contributed with 12 points and strong overall presence. Marcus Cureton was influential from the bench with 10 points. Special shout to Mr Beever that was fouled out, clearly the only one doing his defensive duties in full!
The pints after the game were much appreciated followed by the customary in-depth analysis of the game and life in general!
• 10 players scored
• Responded well when we were behind in the score
• Ability to play great defense and offense in the same quarter
• Free throw % was too low (again)!
• Slow start can be a problem.
• Should score more points in the paint
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Final Score: 96 - 75  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas

"Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art."

This was a much anticipated re-match, of last season’s play-off final. Atlas had to do it without the services of ‘silky smooth’ Mr Sutton and thus be deprived of his customary double-double on points and rebounds. Falcons started the game by scoring their first 3 shots (all 3-pointers), and having an early lead of 9-4. This lead however, proved to be short lived. Stockport unleashed their fury and had a phenomenal 28-5 run for the rest of the quarter. The quarter finished with a 32-14 lead for Stockport and even at such an early stage the game was effectively over. With Mr Sutton missing, Stockport had to rely on their other two big scorers, Neil ‘powerhouse’ Siddall and Max ‘volcano’ Gougeguel. In fact they combined to score 8 of the first 14 points of the team. That was meant to be their main contribution! Neil was withdrawn after 7 minutes and did not return to the game as there was no need to use him. Max came back in the third to treat everybody to a spectacular block on the unfortunate young Travis. Interestingly, Falcons finished the quarter by only scoring 3-pointers and free-throws!
In the second quarter the two teams were happy to exchange baskets and finished the quarter with 20 a piece, thus at half-time Stockport had a healthy lead of 52-34.
The second half was pretty much the same. The two teams were fairly level at scoring. Stockport won both quarters. The third by 24-23 and the fourth by 20-18. The third was marked by a crescendo in blocks by Stockport where it seemed that any shot inside the key was blocked.
The game finished at 96-75 and a comfortable win for Stockport Atlas.

The two main guards Alex and PB spearheaded the offense for Stockport orchestrating some very efficient fast breaks. Despite the absence/low key presence of the top three scorers, Stockport still had 5 ½ players on double figures (1/2 was on 9 points..).
Kyriakos Neanides was top scorer with 18 points, followed closely by Noel Power with16 points and a dominating presence under the basket on both ends of the court. Thomas Christensen had 12 points, a few steals and brought lots of energy into the team. Matt Beever also had 12 being very efficient in his shooting and covering all areas in defense. Marcus Cureton had 10 and treated us to some classic offensive moves leaving his opponents dazed and confused. Our ½ reliable PB had 9 points despite resting for large chunks of the game.
It is only fair to notice the excellent performance of Mr Humphreys from the opposition that not only led his team in scoring, but single handedly kept them as an organized outfit till the very end.
3-pointers are often overrated and this game showed that very poignantly. The team that scored 12 3-pointers lost to the team that scored 3! Another myth regarding 3-pointers and high scoring games was busted since the team with 3 3-pointers scored 96 points! Falcons had disproportionate a lot more free-throws compared to Stockport (considering they were losing and were a smaller team). They could only manage though 11/25 free throws (44%). Stockport had 7/10 (70%). Falcons scored 2/3 of their points from either 3-pointers or free-throws!
Stockport enjoyed a few pints after the game analyzing it in a rather jubilant mood.

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Final Score: 93 - 36  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas

MABL Division 2 Champions!

"Veni Vidi Vici"

The 2,000 years old phrase can laconically summarize our first season in Division 2. The team proved to be very strong for this Division and if there were NBA type awards then it could quite easily win the best coach, MVP, best sixth player, best defender etc. The depth and quality of the squad was evident and won the league pretty much unopposed.
The last game of the season was a mere formality. Stockport started the game very strong and in the first 7 minutes had a run of 21-2 that set the tone and pace of the game. The first quarter finished with 28-4 for Stockport.
The second quarter was more balanced and the two teams were happy to exchange baskets. The quarter finished 17-12 for Stockport that was leading at half time by 45-16.
The third quarter resembled the first. Stockport had another good run of 14-2 winning the quarter convincingly by 23-8. The last quarter had the final run of 18-3 making the score for the quarter 25-12 and the final score 93-36.
This was a very balanced game for Stockport. The team scored 45 points in the first half and 48 in the second.  Top scoring was evenly balanced between the inspirational Brooksy and Super ‘K’ Mr 23 with 24 points each. Alex and Noel followed with 11 and 10 respectively as a balanced pair. Stockport had 12 3-pointers scored by 5 different players. The team also had a respectable 82% from the free-throw line, overall treating the faithful funs to a feast of attractive intelligent basketball.
The last game of the season was followed by a celebratory curry dinner with the appropriate consumption of beer. 
After dominating the Division, the team is looking to enjoy the play-offs and have a bit of fun. And as sign of fair play the Coach magnanimously decided not to join the play-offs to give the teams a sporting advantage!
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Final Score: 39 - 65  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter" - Mark Twain

Our ageing squad travelled north for this Tuesday night game. Furthermore, it did so without our coach Mike Greenough, and our super scorer Max. Both were unavailable for different reasons. The travelling proved to be more exhaustive than the game. This was evident in the first quarter, despite a strong start by Neil Siddall, supported by his whole family, and scoring the first five points. Nonetheless the lack of rhythm and several unforced errors resulted in an uninspiring quarter that Stockport managed to get a narrow lead by 13-11.

Things improved in the second quarter when Stockport managed to put together short runs of 6-0 and win the quarter by 19-9, thus leading at half time by 32-20.
The third quarter started slowly but half way through Stockport played some of the best basketball of the night. Spearheaded by Paul Brookes back-to-back 5 points, it had a run of 11-0 that gave Atlas a commanding lead of 47-24 that effectively put the game out of reach for Ribble Valley. The actual quarter was fairly balanced, with Stockport winning it by 18-13 and leading by 50-33.
The last quarter was rather philosophical with Stockport winning it by 15-6. The final score of 65-39 was a fair representation of the game. Ribble Valley had been superb hosts, with excellent table officials, and the game was played in am amicable environment.
Neil Siddall was dominant as always and was the top scorer with 14 points. Kyriakos Air-Neanidis (23 number shirt), followed with 12 and Tom Sutton had 10 points managing to out score both his brothers (playing for Ribble Valley)!
A sore point was the free-throw percentage that with 6/14 was a rather disappointing 43%. Though lack of showers and pints at the end of the game had a devastating effect for the visiting team. Till the next game..
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Oldham Titans vs. Stockport Atlas

posted bymiky clock 15:16

Final Score: 40 - 48  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas

This was a rather uneventful game. A midweek excursion to a foggy north Manchester proved, rather expectedly, unappealing and tiresome. There was no energy from the team that did just enough to win this game despite being stuck on the 2nd gear for most of it.

The first quarter was surprisingly open and high scoring mainly due to the inadequacies of defences rather than the brilliance of offences. It finished 21-16 to Oldham and proved to be the highlight in offence from both teams. Oldham started with 3/3 3-pointers and had 4 in the quarter which ended up being their total for the game as well. Stockport responded with 2 3-pointers from the Captain –scoring 3’s since 1985-, but a last minute 8-0 run from Oldham meant that finished the quarter leading by 21-16.

Stockport decided to play some form of defence in the second quarter and kept Oldham to just 6 points. However, we could only score 10 so Oldham had a slim lead of 27-26 at half-time.

In the second half there was a rare event. A guest star appearance by Mr Oldham-Basketball, Sir Jon Alston, who watched the game as part of the Stockport bench. That should have triggered an automatic surrender by Oldham accepting the superiority of Stockport’s bench, now featuring Jon. They seemed to ignore that so we decided to keep them at 6 points in the quarter and to demonstrate how appalled we were we kept passing the ball to them refusing to take any shots! For good measure, we finished the quarter with a 6-0 run to reach the supreme total of 8 in the quarter and to take the lead with 34-33.

This should have set up the scene for a dramatic fourth quarter but nothing went according to expectations in this game. A demoralized Oldham just about managed to score 7 in the quarter. Stockport had one of their better spells and with an exhilarating 9-2 run they were leading by 45-39 with two minutes to go. This looked, and it was an unassailable difference, and inevitably Stockport won by 48-40.

Once more, the unstoppable and unmovable Neil Siddall led the scoring with 15 points followed Paul Brooks with 9 points who was inspirational in leading the defence and scoring key baskets. Despite a low scoring game, scoring was well spread with 8 players from Stockport scoring. They had 13/20= 65% in free-throws.

The team had a much needed stop for pint and crisps on the way back analyzing the game’s highlights. That took them just over 2 minutes so the rest of the time was devoted to real issues like champions league results and when the next curry will be..

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Final Score: 65 - 56  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas

"Usus est magister optimus"

This was a much anticipated clash between the top two teams in the Division. Coach Greenough game preparations were superb and they paid off. The team started by watching on dvd a couple of games of the opponents, identifying their weak spots. Then, in the customary light training on the morning of the game, we adapted our tactics to compensate for the absence of the irreplaceable Mr Reid!

Atlas started the game very strong, pressing the opposition and disrupting their guard movements. In fact it must have seemed like a Sisyphean task to the opponent guard to bring the ball in that first quarter. Defence was the key in that quarter and Falcons only managed to score 6 points. Atlas scored 13. That 7-point margin proved to be pivotal.

Falcons came back early in the second quarter trailing by 2 points. That triggered an assault from Atlas that was spearheaded by back-to-back 3-pointers from Alex Simmoneau and the ageing Captain. In an explosive 5 minutes Atlas had an 18-2 run that effectively sealed the game. The half finished with Atlas leading by 37-24.

The third quarter was fairly even and an opportunity for Neil Siddall to demonstrate his dominance in the key against the man-to-man defence. He had 6 points in the first 3 minutes and finished the game comfortably as the leading scorer with 22 points. The quarter was about to finish even but for the intervention of Max Goueguel (aka the showman), that provided the game’s highlight with a steal and a last second 3-pointer from the half-way line.

The last quarter was similar. Atlas had a comfortable lead 60-47 with 4 minutes left and at the point started to relax. Falcons had the chance to score a couple of points at the last minute and the game finished with an Atlas clear victory.

Neil led the scorers with 22, followed by Max with 13 and the ever present Tom Sutton with 10 points. The team had an uncharacteristic low free-throw percentage 10/17 (59%) that should have helped to increase the final margin.

The team had a nice session at the bar afterwards analysing the game and debating philosophical issues (especially in the pre-Socratic era).

Dr Nikos Silikas - Ageing Captain

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Final Score: 84 - 40  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas

Ex cinere surgemus

In a team that was hit by several departures of players to exotic places (Australia, China, Derby..) and suffering a string of injuries, the influx of new players felt like the Phoenix had risen. Our inspirational point-guard, John Alston, was recently added to the injury-list though hopefully he should be returning very soon.

As a result the line-up featured 4 new players to make up a squad of 10. As one expects, there was a lot of enthusiasm but also some time spent introducing each other and trying to find out what position they play. Max Gougeguel had a feisty start for Atlas scoring the first 6 points. Canute though came determined and responded superbly to the man-to-man defence of Atlas. That combined with two amazing three-pointers by Canute, the last one a buzzer beater from half-way, gave them the lead at the end of the first quarter by 15-14.

Following some defensive adjustments, a more focussed Atlas, produced probably its finest defensive display of the year limiting Canute to 4 points in the quarter. Atlas scored 14 points, from five different players. This gave Atlas a half-time lead of 28-19 and by that time we were able to recognise all of our players by their first names.

A far more relaxed Atlas appeared in the second half with new players clicking in with the ‘old guard’. One of the new recruits, James Royle, came out super hot scoring three consecutive 3’s. Combined with further 3 points from Paul Robinson- the old guard- ensued in a 12-1 run and a double score of 40-20 that set the tone of the contest for the rest of the game. The quarter finished 21-10 to Atlas, leading by 49-29 at that point.

In the fourth quarter, Canute seemed a bit tired and Atlas relentless, which led to the highest scoring quarter for Atlas with 35 points against 11 for Canute. The ‘old guard’ wanted to show to the ‘new kids’ they can match up their skills so Paul Brookes came away with 9 points in the quarter including 6 consecutive free-throws, 3 steals and 2 assists. The Captain, Mike Greenough, with his shooting shoes on, had 3 consecutive 3’s in 1’10”! The final score of 84-40 does not do justice to the brilliant effort of Canute who ran out of petrol in the last quarter.

An excellent team performance by Atlas, with a nice spread of points. James Royle was the top scorer with 17 points (including 4 x 3-pointers), followed by Paul Brookes with 11 along with Subah Sadiq and Max Gougeguel both with 10. Paul Robinson and Mike Greenough had 9 each. Atlas were very close to having 6 players on double figures.

Atlas had 15/30 free-throws (50%) and 8 x 3-pointers.

Our number one fan, the troublemaker Miss Karen Dean, was entertaining and as usual engaged in a lively and friendly banter with the members of the Away team!

In her defence the comment “I can shoot better than this” is actually true!

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Final Score: 86 - 73  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas

Farewell to a friend!

This was a special game for the team! It was the last game for our top scorer and faithful Club member Joe Sullivan. Joe is moving to China and everybody in the Club wish him a great start in his new adventure. Joe will always be part of the Club and looking forward to play with him again in the future.

Naturally we wanted to win this game, especially for Joe, but Chorlton didn’t exactly share our plans. They started the game very strong and almost took us by surprise, leading after 5 minutes by 15-9. We managed to respond and finished the quarter trailing by 19-17.

In the second quarter we had a great display of team basketball with six players scoring (very productive in a quarter-including four 3-pointers!). As a result we won the quarter by 27-15, establishing a strong lead at half-time by 44-34.

Third quarter was similar to the first. Chorlton started very tough with an 8-2 run but Atlas came back to win the quarter by 18-17 and extend the lead to 11 points, 62-51 at the end of the quarter.

The last quarter was also balanced. Chorlton briefly managed to reduce the deficit to single digits and bring it down to 7 with 3 minutes left. A strong finish from Atlas, with an 11-5 run in the last 3 minutes, dismissed any doubts as to who the winner will be. Atlas won the quarter by 24-22 and the game by 86-73.

In a typical fashion, Joe led all scorers in his farewell game with a dominant and impressive performance picking up 32 points with four 3-pointers.

Three more players were on double figures with Max Gougegue scoring 14 points with 1 3-point shot, John Alston with 11 points and also 1 3-point shot and Noel Power (coming back from injury) with 10 points.

The team showed good spirit and fighting throughout the game and all nine players scored. The only negative thing on the night was the free-throw percentage that was remarkably low at 8/21 (38%)!! A good percentage for 3-pointers, but pitiful for free throws. Still we had to complete our farewell so a customary curry was in order. The man of the moment had his Chicken tikka korma and a few pints..he will be missed..

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musicMagpie Atlas vs. Our Lady's

posted bynick clock 22:32

Final Score: 79 - 69  |  Match Details    Stats

By Nikos Silikas

The Xmas show!

The Club had a thoroughly enjoyable Xmas curry last week, after announcing the deal with the new sponsor musicMagpie. In the spirit of euphoria a few players thought that the season finished for 2012 and by getting close to Xmas priorities are shifting. That and a combination of cold and travelling meant that the newly renamed musicMagpie Atlas could only field six players! That was after managing to convince our bed-ridden secretary, Mr Brookes, that we love him and that we will go to his amazing wedding in Ireland, to be the sixth player.

In the spirit of Xmas, Our Ladys fully understanding our plight, decided to equally only field six players. That was a level of true fair play which is unlikely to be ever attained by other organisations such as UEFA. To rounds things up, we had 2 refs, 2 table officials and 2 spectators to make up 6 again, our number for the night.

The game started fairly balanced and after 7 minutes the score was 9-9 with Atlas refusing to score anything but a 3-pointer. A task not that easy, and as a result we had to miss several wide open lay-ups, to stick with our mission of 3-pointers only. Eventually, it was Brookes, clearly still confused by his cold, that scored our first 2-pointer thus illustrating to the other 5 that it was ok to pursue this avenue. A couple more, reluctantly followed, and finished the quarter with 15-13 ahead.

The second quarter was even closer. Our Ladys started stronger and went ahead with a 4-0 run. Atlas responded solidly with a 9-0 run of which 7 points were scored by our mercurial Captain Mike Greenough. The quarter was very balanced and Atlas managed to come on top by 20-19 and finishing the half by 35-32.

The second half started with Atlas emphatically stating their presence. In the first five minutes Atlas had a 12-2 run including 3-pointers by Brookes and Tom Cope. This gave Atlas a safety cushion of 13 points that proved to be decisive in the game. The rest of the game was balanced but Our Ladys did not manage to fully recover from that deficit. Atlas won the quarter by 22-18 and was leading by 57-50 at the end of the third.

The final quarter was similar with Atlas starting stronger and Our Ladys responding. Stockport won that as well by 22-19. The final score was 79-69 for musicMagpie Atlas.

Stockport had 5/10 free-throws (50%) and 10 3-pointers.

Joe Sullivan was the top scorer for Stockport with 20 points of which 15 were in the second half in a spirited multi-faceted performance that included steals, rebounds and assists. Tom Cope followed with 16 points, Captain Mike Greenough with 15 points and Paul Brookes with 12. John Brearley, had another dominant performance with 10 points and huge presence in both offensive and defensive keys. Finally Miky Bersani put in lots of hard work and came out with 6 points and several crucial offensive rebounds.

All in all it was an enjoyable game that even our supporters were fully involved by getting a technical! Our Ladys showed superb sporting behaviour and contributed greatly to a rather friendly game.

It was only appropriate that pints had to be consumed at the bar, purely to further aid the analysis of the game. 
Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

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