Elder Healthcare Phillies 70, Celton Warriors 65
Phillies kept their title dreams alive and ended the feint hopes of a Warriors’ runner-up spot in a thrilling encounter that the latter will be disappointed to have lost.
The game saw a strong opening few minutes from Warriors that gave them an early 12-2 advantage on the back of some excellent inside play from Steve Christian and David Dallimore.
However, Phillies’ Raj Mallorca, surely a strong MVP candidate this season, dragged his team back into it to leave them just a point down at the break.
The second quarter was punctuated by a series of Chris Wolfendale scores that fired Warriors back out into a good lead while excellent defence, particularly from Jonathan Kinrade, left Phillies only really getting their points from free throws.
With their season on the line, Phillies finally found a new gear in the third.
Mallorca was again instrumental in the fightback, ably assisted by Manny Dato, and they took their first lead of the game late on but it was immediately snatched back.
A tense fourth quarter saw limited opportunities for Warriors while Phillies made better use of their chances.
With 30 seconds to go Miguel Carrillo nailed a pair of free-throws to give his team a four-point lead as Phillies ran out the clock to emerge relieved winners.
PokerStars 45, Giants 32
Giants put on probably their best performance of the season, keeping PokerStars to limited points and giving them one hell of a scare.
You wouldn’t have predicted it from an opening 15 minutes that saw PokerStars extend out to a 22-3 lead.
The fightback started late in the second, the quick hands of the Giants’ guards stripped the ball on defence for some easy layins while they made their jumpers.
PokerStars continued with their inside heavy game in the third, Michael Josem the key contributor but with too many missed close-range shots, they didn’t press that size advantage into more points and Giants made up even more ground.
The highlight play being a magnificent crossover fadeaway from Michael Pardoe that left his defender for dead.
A furious finish saw Giants try to make up the difference in three-pointers but with limited success. Experience won out in the end as PokerStars limped over the line to take the win.
Despite the loss, Giants have an enormous amount of positives to take from the game and may yet get their first win before the season’s end if they play like this again.
Microgaming Cavaliers 56 Norton Bruce Turkeys 30
Cavs kept their own title aspirations alive with an ugly win against a Turkeys team that for a while looked capable of an upset.
Keeping Cavs to just 18 points in the half and scoring 16 themselves is no mean feat but in the end, with foul trouble and tired legs not being best friends with a shorthanded bench, Cavs just about did enough to take the win.
Rams 52, Marvels 48
After last week’s shootout decider, these two teams faced off again in another close game that saw Rams sweep the season series against Marvels.
No shootout this time but a frantic pace throughout that had Rams looking comfortable in the third before Marvels came roaring back and then ran out of steam.
Corey Pinder was probably player of the game overall, but I’m sure he’d swap that for the win.
The game staggered to a conclusion with both sides spending lots of time at the free-throw line, but it was an entertaining watch for spectators until that point.
Fellas 39, Skanco Saints 37
This explosive game brought out the best of both teams on Thursday at the NSC, as it turned into a very high-suspense match that ended with an extremely close score.
The Fellas have always mounted the pressure at every one of their games and are definitely a force to be reckoned with.
However, the Saints have been continuously growing in terms of ability and confidence.
They have welcomed many newcomers into their team and it is a delight to watch them grow into strong players.
From the Saints, Jayde Lambert kept a steady influence throughout the game, scoring two incredible three-pointers and defending her team from some stealthy Fellas attacks.
Her teammate, Gemma Kirkham, also made a stunning three-pointer, making the action look effortless.
Helen Cullen’s attacks against the Saints were very skilful, as she successfully gained many points for her team.
Fiona Guest balanced this out with her fast-thinking defense abilities, helping the Fellas out on multiple occasions.
Overall it was a beautiful game that was played with great enthusiasm.
Manx living Legends 33, Buchanan and Pitts Slammers 22
It was a disappointing loss for the Slammers, but a great victory for the Legends.
The game started out slowly with both teams having powerful offensive and defensive strategies thatstopped the opposing team from scoring easily.
This attitude remained until half-time when the Slammers’ luck ran out and the Legends grew more determined.
Both Katrina Keeling and Anne Clarke relentlessly attempted to hold off the Legends’ scoring.
Unfortunately Wendy Owens and Nikki Shimmin’s attacks were flawless, as they pushed the Legends ahead.
By the last quarter the Legends were up 22-14 and even though the Slammers maintained a sterling effort, they showed signs of disappointment as their scoring attempts fell short.