Richmond RPAL defeated EM Downer YMCA 36-31 in the opening match Thursday of the City of Richmond Recreation Department basketball league.
The match-up was a suspense-filled lock of horns between two teams seeking their first win. After taking a lead early in the game, EM Downer found themselves clawing back at PAL’s lead late in the second half. After coming to within a point, RPAL slipped away with clutch free throws and and solid defense to hold off the EM Downer Bearcats.
GB Rec 47 v. Panthers 60
The nightcap game proved to be the highlight of the season thus far.
Up-and-coming GB Rec faced the juggernaut Panthers who had lost only one game in over five months (Candy Cane Classic loss to Richmond Rockets back in December 2014).
After jumping out to their customary early run fueled by relentless full court pressure and breakaway layups, the Panthers soon realized that this would be not be another ordinary thrashing on their part. GB Rec guards displayed some nifty ball handling which broke the Panthers’ press. However, miscalculated passes were too often intercepted by the Panthers star big man which lead to double digit points off of steals.
GB Rec’s kids maintained their composure to erase a 15-point first half deficit to come to within one point of the Panthers, capitalizing on two clutch three pointers, steals, and free throws. The Panthers, shock on their faces, were forced to regroup only up four at the half.
The game remained close throughout most of the second half. Both coaches had their teams well prepared. Yet the coach for the Panthers, after realizing that GB Rec was for real and not going away, had to get his squad in gear. Slowly but without deliberation, the Panther squad began to pull away late in the second half to go on to a 13 point victory.
The above information was provided by Vencel Alfred, a Recreation Leader for the city.