Final Score: 67 - 96 | Match Details
By Nikos Silikas
• 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
By Nikos Silikas
"Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art."
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.
By Nikos Silikas
MABL Division 2 Champions!
"Veni Vidi Vici"
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.
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..
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
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!
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..
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!