Langwith and Wentworth went head to head in the College Varsity Qualifier finals, and it wasn’t hard to tell how much of an uphill struggle Langwith would have from the outset. Their team consisted of five players, meaning everyone would have to play four full quarters without a break, whilst Wentworth boasted a team of about fifteen.
The first quarter came as no surprise then, as Wentworth went up 14-0 in ten minutes. Their team was much smaller and faster, able to sprint from one end of the court to the other effortlessly. Shoko Kono, in particular, was an unbelievably agile player, outrunning everyone and, at times, practically jumping over his defenders for a shot.
Meanwhile at the other end, Langwith struggled to score, even though two of their players, Will Oldfield and Sam Smith, towered over everyone and managed to get the majority of the rebounds. Wentworth’s defence forced them to go for long-range three-pointers, none of which went in.
However, the second quarter found Wentworth in the position their Hes East opponents had been in just moments before. Kenisha Hanson was the only player on the team to score, putting up a very impressive shot over the much taller Oldfield, who responded by scoring Langwith’s first points of the game. Moments later, Smith sunk the game’s first three-pointer and Angelina Hu posted a perfect jump shot. They weren’t quite back in the game, but it did mean they had cut their deficit down to 16-7 by the end of the first half. For a team forced to play without substitutes, the second quarter was a pleasant surprise.
Going into the third, though, both teams seemed to have slowed, and the game was threatening to grind to a stalemate. Langwith’s Nicolas Katsafados led the game in his hustle and Oldfield was characteristically responsible for almost every rebound in the paint both on offence and defence. Smith also put up the second three-pointer of the game so despite the team shooting at just under 12% from long range, it was what kept them in the game.
Wentworth, on the other hand, spent much less time in possession of the ball, but they were also less careless. Kai Li scored a three-pointer of his own, and his teamwork with Charles Kamtoh led to a few more solid plays. In the end, both teams scored 7 points, having finally matched each other evenly.
The final ten minutes were largely a continuation of the third quarter. Langwith were physically dominant but sloppy and Wentworth put up shots but couldn’t get past Oldfield and Smith. Wentworth’s Patrick Zhang made the last bucket of the game, bringing the final score to 31-24. The teams were so well balanced in the second half that had it not been for the first quarter, this could have been a very close game. Unfortunately, it took Langwith a little more than a quarter to get into their groove. All things considered, though, it was a terrific effort from a team that was completely outnumbered.