The Mercantile Basketball League continued last evening as it witnessed two ‘A’ Division teams Sampath Bank and FairFirst go head to head.
“They have quite a few national players and new players on their side but we have prepared and come ready for the challenge since we had a lot of practice sessions after the last match. We’re hoping to come out the winners today.”– Shehan Udayanga – Captain of FairFirst Insurance
“Our opponents have a good young team but that’s not to say that we don’t, we have last year’s national captain on our side and that’s a big strength for us. It’s going to be tough but we’re looking to give a good game.” Anushka Vishvanath – Captain of Sampath Bank
After a couple attempts from both sides, it was the FairFirst team that caught a break and scored through a fast break opportunity. Neither team made it easy for each other to score having an extremely tight defence near the post. Both teams opted for a man to man defence but FairFirst had a slight height advantage and was able to collect more rebounds, giving them more offensive opportunities. The Sampath Bank team had some bad luck with their jump shots as very few connected and FairFirst took a slight lead at the end of the first quarter.
The 27th Edition of the Mercantile Basketball League will commence during the third week of June.
First Quarter: Sampath Bank- 07 FairFirst Insurance -13
FairFirst had a strong start intercepting a couple of passes although they failed to convert it successfully to a scoring opportunity as they struggled to penetrate the Sampath Bank defence during the first half of the quarter. It was only during the latter half that FairFirst got into the groove of the game after scoring a couple of shots from downtown. Sampath, on the other hand, was reliant on screens to penetrate the FairFirst defence. Although Sampath failed to limit the fast break opportunities that FairFirst received making Sampath trail behind as they went into lemons.
Half Time: Sampath Bank- 13 : FairFirst Insurance -28
Sampath Bank finally settled down into the game during this quarter, penetrating the defence more and taking more shots although they had a relatively slow recovery which allowed FairFirst to make an offensive play before the defence settled. The FairFirst team opted to try their luck from around the perimeter whilst Sampath dominated the quarter and reduced the deficit slightly but they had their work cut out for them in the next quarter if they wanted to turn the tables on FairFirst.
Photos : 27th Mercantile Basketball League
Third Quarter: Sampath Bank – 27 : FairFirst Insurance – 38
As the final quarter began FairFirst tightened their defence to make sure that Sampath doesn’t catch up to them. They didn’t hesitate to pass the ball to an open player making good use of all 5 players on the court. As FairFirst began to sink in a few shots from downtown Sampath began to lose the plot in the game as the deficit began to increase once again. During the final minute, Sampath tried to shoot from beyond the perimeter as well to reduce the deficit but they weren’t successful as the game ended with them trailing by 15.
Full Time: Sampath Bank – 47 : FairFirst Insurance – 62
Speaking to the captain of the FairFirst team, he had this to say after their victory, “It was a good game but we missed too many shots and had too many fouls during the start of the game. We need to improve our defence before the next game, not to mention that a few of our crucial players have been injured and we hope they can recover quickly before the next match.”