Vanbrugh squeeze past Derwent to secure top Varsity spot

Vanbrugh narrowly beat Derwent in the basketball Varsity qualifier final to earn top spot when the teams head to Durham on the 1st of March.

It was a close contest throughout, with neither team reaching the heights of their semi-final victories the day before. Derwent took an early lead and carried it through until half time, before Vanbrugh managed to overhaul the deficit through some solid scoring from Steven Ang and captain Francis Sobowale.

It was Derwent skipper Tom Gill – coming off the back of an explosive performance against Constantine – who opened the scoring with a nice lay up following a flurry of Vanbrugh misses.

Both teams struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the first quarter, and no player was able to dominate proceedings. Derwent crept ahead in the final few seconds, with skipper Gill converting a tidy fast break to put his team 10-8 ahead.

The second quarter continued in the same vein, with Derwent starting to show some glimpses of slick ball movement but being unable to pull away from a resilient Vanbrugh side. Steven Ang put in a consistent scoring performance for Vanbrugh, never allowing Derwent any breathing space on the scoreboard. The quarter ended 17-14 to Derwent.

The third quarter was crucial and it was Vanbrugh who took the initiative, led by captain Francis Sobowale. Using his pace and power he was able to drive through the lane for several lay ups to pull his team level and eventually into the lead. Philip Schreiber put in a valiant performance for Derwent, with his scoring keeping his side in the tie. The quarter ended 32-25 in Vanbrugh’s favour, with Derwent most definitely still in with a shot.

The quarter didn’t start well for Derwent, with Alvin Tsoi converting a basket in the first few seconds. However, Derwent kept with it and pulled the deficit back through Schreiber and Gill. Trailing by two points with less than a minute left on the clock, the contest could have gone either way. It was not to be for Derwent however, as Evelyn Tan converted an easy basket to win the game for Vanbrugh, with the final score standing at 43-39.

It was a match which Derwent will definitely feel they could have won, but Vanbrugh’s superior attacking quality on the day was the difference between the two sides. Both teams will head to Varsity on March 1st, and if both manage to rediscover their form from Saturday’s games then they should definitely give Durham two tough contests.