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Great Yarmouth strike late to win Norfolk League opener

PUBLISHED: 09:33 27 October 2017

Great Yarmouth baskeball team made a promising start to the Norfolk League season. Picture: James Long

Great Yarmouth baskeball team made a promising start to the Norfolk League season. Picture: James Long

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If this does prove to be Neil Lister's final season as a player for Great Yarmouth, he'll remember their game at UEA Panthers II fondly.

Lister led all scorers with 15 points, including 11 in the second-half and three ice-cool free throws at the end of game to keep a young and athletic side just out of reach as the visitors scored late to win their Norfolk League Division Two opener 46-44.

Great Yarmouth held the lead for most of the game in a thrilling encounter that stayed close throughout. They went into half-time leading 23-29, after going seven of 14 from the free throw line in the second quarter when Panthers found themselves in foul trouble.

Eighteen-year-old forward Morgan Long picked up eight points in the first half, finishing with 10 points and 20 rebounds while Aivaras Auglys made a solid debut with 11 points.

Great Yarmouth couldn’t find an offensive rhythm in a low-scoring third quarter.

They repeatedly turned the ball over in the period, finishing the game with 27 to Panthers’ six and giving coach James Borg plenty to think about.

With their offence stalling Borg could at least call on the team’s defence to keep Yarmouth in the game. Centre Dave Rivers (4pts, 8 reb) struggled with his shot all night but used his size to form an imposing frontcourt trio alongside Lister and Long.

The Yarmouth frontline did well to stayed disciplined and avoid picking up needless fouls as Panthers repeatedly took the ball inside.

Yarmouth held a 31-35 lead at the start of the fourth quarter but the Panthers attack kept and the UEA side eventually took their first lead of the game 44-43 with just two minutes remaining. It was left to Lister to make the crucial play, grabbing a defensive rebound and going three of four from the line to close out the win and silence the home crowd.

Borg (4pts, 2stl) and Thunder Bros Sean Lanham (2pts, 5reb) scored all their points in the first quarter but hustled on defence all night.

Coach James Borg said: “We got the win through pure hustle. This team hasn’t played together yet as we haven’t even had a proper training session.

“If we work hard this year, I think there’ll be a lot more reward in store for this team this season.”

Great Yarmouth visit Beccles Bombers on Sunday, November 19.

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