LLJBC U18s played their first match of the Nottingham Summer League against Rushcliffe Phoenix.

Lightning were predominantly under U16s with one U18 player, so it was expected to be a physical game for them. The team started well. Despite losing Finn Moss to injury in the 2nd minute, they surprised the Phoenix with good outside shots by James Carter and effective driving to the boards. They took a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The game was fast and physical, a new experience for some of the players but Lightning continued to work well in the second quarter keeping the pressure up with fast breaks, through good finishing by Finn Wyatt and support play by Gvins Greinis, they all defended the key well. However, a comfortable lead was reduced with Phoenix scoring 6 in quick succession in the last minute meaning at the half a Lightning 11 point lead was reduced to 5 (27-22).

The team started to slow in the third quarter with the Phoenix starting to run their fast break and double down on hard physical defence, buoyed by their late flourish before the half. Lightning found the extra pressure led to turn overs in key positions reducing their lead to 2 points (36-34) at the end of the third. The final quarter was tough as the excitement of the game, the noise of the crowd, and some inexperience showed.

Phoenix started hitting their outside shots and Lightning struggled to get open for theirs as their ball handler was put under increasingly high pressure.

The game ended with a loss of 38-46. It was great experience for the players and gives a taste of what’s to come in the next matches. MVP was J Carter for 18 points and absorbing the full court pressure.