Basketball play-off finals at the NSC this evening
The second round of play-off games in Isle of Man Basketball Association’s Senior League took place at the NSC on Thursday evening.
First up was the clash between last season’s runners-up Jets and 2020 league winners Turkeys.
In a game that was expected to be a close-fought affair, it was the Jets team that made a blistering start, hitting 10 unanswered points as Turkeys struggled to finish their fast breaks while their outside shots were not dropping.
Wayne Mears and Michael Baker led the way for Jets, hitting six points each in the quarter and it was only a swish three-pointer from Chris Wolfendale in the last minute of the first period that kept Turkeys in the game, Jets leading the way 19-5.
The start of the second quarter saw Turkeys toughen up their defence and they began to hit their outside shots.
Jets struggled to cope with the fast breaks of David Boyle and Wolfendale, and by the end of the second their opponents had reduced their advantage to single figures, Jets leading 35- 27.
The start of the third quarter was to be decisive in the game. With Jets using their bench well, they took control and, thanks to some excellent shooting from the elbow from Michael Baker and Peter Boussougou - who helped himself to eight points - Jets stormed into a 19-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
The last period saw Jets continue to control the game and, using the clock well, they maintained their lead over Turkeys to run out 70-56 winners. Leading the scoring for Jets were Mears and man of the match Baker with 20 and 18 points respectively, while Wolfendale with 25 and Boyle on eight led the scoring for Turkeys.
l The second semi-final of the night saw reigning league champions Microgaming Cavaliers take on Wolves in a game that, unlike the first semi-final, was a close contest throughout.
The match started with Kyle Mills from Wolves swishing a three-pointer before Cavs’ big man Dave Minay took control at both ends of the court, hitting 10 points at the attacking end while cleaning up with rebounds at the defensive end.
This left Cavs holding a six-point lead 17-11 at the end of the quarter. The start of the second period saw Wolves again hit a three-pointer, this time from Michael Pardoe, and with Ross Wilson chipping in with a drive to the basket, Cavs’ lead was reduced to two points.
A three-pointer from Michael Connelly saw Wolves take a one-point lead six minutes into the second period but Cavs hit back and, with Segio Arboleya hitting five of six from the free-throw line, they led by four entering the final two minutes of the quarter.
A strong finish by Wolves saw them retake the lead and entering the half-time break they led 32-27.
The start of the third period saw Cavs’ Arboleya driving strongly to the basket and this helped his side to regain the lead which they stretched to five points.
A couple of three-pointers from Harry Brindle helped Wolves retake the lead but Arboleya hit a three-pointer of his own just before the buzzer to help his team take a one-point lead 44-43 entering the final quarter.
The start of the fourth period again saw Arboleya continue to lead the scoring for Cavs and, with Minay helping himself to a big three-pointer, it was Cavs who stretched their lead to eight despite three-pointers from Brindle and Ben Campbell of Wolves.
In the end though, Arboleya from the free-throw line saw Cavs home, helping his side take the game 62-53 and set up a repeat of last year’s play-off final against Jets.
Leading the scoring for Cavs was man of the match Arboleya with a season-high 31 points and Minay with 17, while Brindle with 20 plus and Ross Wilson and Campbell with eight apiece led the scoring for Wolves.
l The last game of the evening saw ayoung Ravens team book their place in the plate final against Eagles with a 58-46 victory over PwC Hoops.
In a match that was close for the first three quarters, it was the Ravens’ Vannin Coulter who helped secure the victory with 13 points in the fourth quarter which included a trio of three-pointers
Coulter with 20 and Conylt Dillon with 15 led the Ravens scoring, while Becky Dunne and Lauren Ellison with 13 and 10 points respectively led the was for Hoops.
l This Thursday night at the NSC is the culmination of the basketball season with the play-off finals.
First up at 7pm Eagles take on Ravens in the plate final, while the main event sees Jets aiming to avenge last year’s defeat against reigning champions Cavaliers with tip-off at 8.30pm - all spectators welcome.
Prior to that, the junior league takes place between 6-7pm also at the NSC.
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