Basketball: Individuals win it for Lancs

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Lancaster managed to win a respectable victory against Hope, but only after strong individual displays from Karl Viilver, Pambos Hadjitheodosiou and in particular Chris Hodkin in the final period.

Straight from the team huddle the home side seemed extremely determined to win. The first period showed both teams’ attacking intentions; Lancaster point guard Constandinos Christofi opened the scoring and led from the back, creating an abundance of chances for the home side. Estonian centre Karl Viilver demonstrated his long-range shooting ability with a series of long range efforts, scoring a spectacular three pointer and repeatedly creating chances for the team. Point guard Mike Molloy, who had an eventful match, was a peripheral attacking figure for Liverpool Hope, scoring two baskets and a three pointer. With the score 15-11 to Lancaster at the end of the first period, it was hardly the straightforward victory the home side were hoping for.

If the first period was a display of attacking ambition, the second period was a much scrappier affair. In all, Lancaster committed seven fouls, Liverpool Hope small forward Ashley Grey continued to cause problems for the Lancaster defence, drawing numerous fouls and making a series of speedy runs. This allowed Liverpool Hope to claw their way back into the match and at one point make the score 18-15 in their favour. This was until the Greek power forward Pambos Hadjitheodosiou scored a basket, won a foul and scored the resulting free throw to make it 21-18. Viilver continued his long range expertise, scoring a further three pointer. A 30-25 scoreline kept Lancaster in front, but they were still not home and dry.

In the early part of the third period, Lancaster found themselves under the cosh, their attacking threat quelled by Liverpool Hope with the deficit reduced to two points at 33-31. However, Chris Hodkin a sublime three pointer after coming off the bench, to edge Lancaster further clear at 36-31. Pambos Hadjitheodosiou continued where he left off, demonstrating strength, raw pace and vision on the ball, scoring a basket and two free throws, the latter of which was celebrated with a cheeky ‘silence’ gesture to an opposition player as he was substituted off.

At the start of the fourth period with the score at 46-38 to Lancaster, the game sparked into life. Power forward James Dunne came back on and scored an impressive couple of baskets whilst there seemed to be no end to Karl Viilver’s long-range shooting ability as he contributed another three pointer to make it 53-43. However, as far as all-round impact goes, this period belonged to one player. Chris Hodkin made a couple of excellent defensive blocks, and was constantly bombing forward looking to finish the game off. The undoubted highlight was when he won a tussle with Mike Molloy, and ran the length of the court to score. This individual battle boiled over when Hodkin made another defensive intervention on Mike Molloy, resulting in the Liverpool Hope player kicking out at him and being sent off. Hodkin went on to score another as Lancaster overcame a late rally by the away side to win with a final score of 59-52.