The Army vs Police match that was postponed due to bad weather was played last evening at the Police Park basketball court. In a nail-biting match that would have gone into overtime, the Police team won by a free shot.
The first quarter started off with Army getting first possession but it was soon stolen by Police and the first shot was taken from downtown by them. Police took a head start to the game scoring from their jump shots whilst Army struggled to get their shots in. Both teams had a tight defence hence the low score for the quarter, the Army was on a man to man whilst Police opted for a zone defence. Both teams were equally matched as neither could get a substantial lead throughout the first quarter.
First-Quarter: Army – 13 Police – 14
It was during the second quarter that the Police team took a marginal lead of about 4 baskets, Army found it tough to keep track of their fouls whilst Police made excellent use of this and had many 3-point plays, giving them control of the game. The Army team failed to get through the Police defence and consistently missed their jump shots. However during the last couple of minutes Army got back in the game reducing the deficit but it was Police who took the lead going into lemons, yet again due to successful conversions of the free shots they got.
Second-Quarter: Army – 37 Police – 41
The second half started off with the Army team getting a shot from around the perimeter, once again closing the gap between the teams. Both teams continued to stick to their set offensive plays as they had good passes going around the court. P.S.N. Gamage was a crucial player for the Army getting in a majority of the shots including a couple from downtown as well. During the quarter both teams exceeded the team foul limit, however, the Army team had a very aggressive defence resulting in a couple more fouls once again giving the Police team the advantage as Army trailed by 4 going into the final 10 minutes. Though the Army team was looking to turn the tables on the Police, the continuous fouls just didn’t allow them to do so.
Third-Quarter: Army – 55 Police – 59
P.S.N. Gamage of the Army team took advantage of a few fast breaks and turned the tables on the Police with 4 minutes to go in the game but Police didn’t trail for long, catching up as both teams took turns at leading as neither could lead by more than 01 point.
It was an exhilarating quarter as a clear winner couldn’t be predicted up until the very end. In the last minute Army had possession and had an opportunity for a 3 point play but having missed the free shot the scores were tied and it would have gone to overtime had the Army team not fouled with just a couple of seconds to go. Afterwards with just 1.9 seconds to go 2 more shots at the line were awarded to the Police for unsportsmanlike conduct by the Army team securing their victory with 4 points.
Fourth-Quarter: Army – 84 Police – 88
The coach of the winning team had this to say after the match when speaking to ThePapare: “It was definitely a tough match and I’m glad we got through. Our main mistakes on the court were that we were fouling too much and there were very few substitutions for post players so it was a problem for us”
The Army coach speaking to ThePapare shared his thoughts regarding the match as well: “I see myself as a process-oriented coach and the goal in this tournament was not to win it but to tune the players into the system of playing because with a little more experience this team has the potential to be one of Sri Lanka’s best”