- National Teams
By Joe Hewison
Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 28 points – including three clutch free throws – in an MVP performance as Team White survived a late Team Black rally to take the Under-26 All-Star game 87-85 in the inaugural Hoopsfix All-Star Classic at Brunel University on Sunday.
Bryan-Amaning also 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and countless highlight reel plays as he proved the difference between two well-matched sides who displayed the depth of British basketball talent.
Team White led by as many as 13 in the final quarter but were made to sweat late on as Team Black rallied to make it a one-point game with 15 seconds to play before Bryan-Amaning iced the win from the line.
Both teams came out firing with Team Black big man Dan Clark hitting three triples in the first five minutes while Allie Fullah wasted no time getting physical on both ends of the floor – to good effect.
Baskets were traded until the introduction of Glessen 46ers’ Myles Hesson. He brought Team White to life with a block on one end and the finish on the other before connecting on a three-pointer to give Team White a 29-17 lead after the first quarter.
The frantic pace of the first subsided slightly in the second but there was no shortage of skill on show as the likes of Orlan Jackman, for Team Black, and Lewis Champion, for Team White, maneuvered their way into scoring positions.
Team Black slowly chipped away at the deficit throughout the period but closed it on a high as Jackman followed an open three with an acrobatic lay-in at the rim which meant Team White’s lead was just 37-35 at the halfway stage.
Team White responded early in the second half however, Louis Sayers scoring six points in the opening couple of minutes to open up the lead once more before Bryan-Amaning began to take over.
He provided a perfect behind-the-back pass for Kalil Irving to stuff before combing with Fullah for a nice alley-oop and seemingly getting his shots at will.
But Team Black weren’t going away and Jackman continued to pace them while Hemel Storm’s Zak Wells found Will Hall to finish under the basket to cut the lead to one (56-55) heading into the final stanza.
Bryan-Amaning’s complete skill set was in evidence once more as Team White made a strong start to the final quarter and began to pull away.
The 26-year-old side-stepped and sped past his defenders time and again to get himself a high percentage shot with Team Black unable to contain him.
And when Raheem May-Thompson got a basket, block and assist in quick succession the White lead was up to 80-67.
But back-to-back dunks from Leicester Rider Jamell Anderson and a Jackman three-pointer pulled Team Black back into before a Clark put-back set up a tense finale before Bryan-Amaning made sure of victory.
Jackman finished with a game-high 31 points for Team Black and Clark had 19 points and eight rebounds while Hesson had a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double and the win.
The game was supported by ESPN Player, 2tall.com, Molten, Amaechi Performance Systems, Reach & Teach, Sportserve, 5or6, Wilkie TV, Always Ballin’, Let Me Play, Seenit and Nando’s.
Image Credit: Abdul Kassim Photography