Back Row: Williamz Omope; Matt Wood; Guy Renton; Bruce Lauder; James Sutton; Derome Genas-Miller; Anthony Haase
Front Row: Gary Collins; Anthony Scott; Kallum Dunn; Tobias Benjamin; Mike Griffith; Lee English (Coach)
On Saturday 10th April 2010, a coach load of excited fans made the long trip to Edmonton Leisure Centre to watch their beloved Hoods take on the only unbeaten side in the England Basketball League structure in the National Championship Finals.
Coach English was naturally nervous but focussed on the job in hand as The Hoods took on the strong Birmingham Mets, a team that had already beaten them twice that season. However, The Hoods came into the game full of confidence following a very strong play-off performance to get them to this stage. The starters Guy Renton, Bruce Lauder, Anthony Scott, Antony Haase and Williamz Omope came out of the blocks firing and soon built up a 7 point lead through strong offensive rebounding from Lauder and Haase. But the Mets weren’t going to lie down and finished the quarter only trailing by 2 as The Hoods led 11-9.
The second quarter saw a huge scoring performance from Renton with Gaz Collins and Kallum Dunn looking after the ball and surging The Hoods into a 16 point lead. Omope was in early foul trouble that limited his minutes and caused concern across The Hoods bench and sure enough by the end of the half, Mets had cut the lead down to just 9 points.
The third quarter was a disaster for the Hoods, Omope was fouled out on a dubious offensive call and the Mets increased their defensive pressure. 5 turnovers in a row, including 3 24 second violations brought the Mets back in to the game and by midway through the quarter they had taken the lead for the first time in the match. With the physicality increasing there was a lot of blood on show on both teams and a bad foul on Renton that sent him crashing to the ground with a bad injury to his arm – but that wasn’t going to stop him. Gaz Collins then took matters into his own hands and a steal led to a huge 3-pointer to give the Hoods a 2 point lead, with 3 minutes remaining. Great defense at both ends of the court kept the game scoreless until a cheeky 2 from Mets brought the teams level right at the end of the quarter as it finished 42-42.
The final quarter was a nervy affair with both teams feeling the pressure and struggling to find the hoop. Suddenly the Mets found their form and took a 4 point lead and seemed to be in the ascendancy. A Collins steal fired a long assist to Haase who, with 3 minutes left, sunk a long 3-pointer to bring the lead to one, which sparked the crowd back into life as the noise raised up with every move of the ball by The Hoods. Another ball to the free throw line from Collins, sent Lauder crashing through to score a difficult lay-up against 3 Mets defenders and the lead was back with The Hoods with 2 minutes remaining – a lead they would not relinquish again.
James Sutton kept his nerve at the line to sink both free-throws and yet another long range effort from Haase fell, with just 1.37 left, to put the Hoods up by 5. The noise from the traveling Hoods crowd was now immense as Birmingham were left to chase the game. With the noise at a near deafening level, the Mets struggled to sink their free-throws and Renton and Lauder cleared up the offensive boards as The Hoods ran out winners 59-56 winners and brought home the National Championship in only their first season. Cue massive celebrations from the crowd who played a big part in bringing home the title.
Guy Renton was the Finals MVP with 17 points and 9 rebounds, with Haase finishing with 14 points and an important 3 from 4 shots from behind the arc.
NOTTINGHAM HOODS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL SHOOTING CHART
|No.||Player||Pos||Min||FG M/A||%||3Pts M/A||%||FT M/A||%||OR||DR||TR||AS||TO||STL||Blocks||Fouls||Pts|