Giants 93-103 Phoenix
The north west derby returned in the British Basketball League’s returning Championship weekend as the Cheshire Phoenix travelled to the National Basketball Performance Centre to take on the Manchester Giants.
Both teams headed into this game on bipolar opposites: Manchester were coming off the back of a loss to the 10th placed Plymouth City Patriots. Meanwhile, Cheshire were soaring high as they were coming off the back of a British Basketball League Trophy final win against the top of the league London Lions.
These two teams have played each other twice already and Cheshire managed to take the spoils on not one but both occasions, Manchester were looking to rally and take a game back in the head to head matchup and hold bragging rights against their bitter rivals.
A quick start for Manchetser as Nick Stampley and Legend Robertin opened the scoring on back to back offensive possessions, only separated by a 3 ball from Stephens of the Phoenix. Stephens started off with a hot hand going 4/4 in the first 4 minutes and giving Cheshire a multiple possession lead. Nick Stampley responded with a three ball of his own in what became a shoot out between the 2 teams as Cheshire guard Rideau notched another 3 for the visitors.
Nick Stampley continued to run the offence as he tallied 9 points in 10 minutes for Manchetser as well as ensuring that the confident cheshire side didn’t run away with the game early doors as Rai of the Phoenix had the final say in the quarter with a close make and an extension of Cheshire’s lead to 13.
Manchester’s problems only seemed to continue, a 13 point lead, 10 minutes later became a 22 point lead as Cheshire went 10/19 from the field and 27 total points whilst holding Manchester to 18 despite good field goal percentage.
Manchester’s consistent thorn in their side was their turnovers in this specific quarter, 6 of their 13 overall turnovers occurred in the 2nd quarter with half of those turnovers resulting in points for Chehsire. Nicholas Lewis began to heat up from close this quarter, scoring 6 of his total 27 points and putting in an iron man level of performance as he would go on to play the entire game.
The third quarter saw Manchester breathe new life as they began to heat up with a big dunk from Legend Robertin to be the tipping point. From there Manchester began to put together consistently positive offensive possessions and 2’s were flying in from everywhere and everyone.
Evan Walshe, William Lee, Nicholas Lewis and Nick Stampley all contributed and the team overall went a solid 44% from the field in comparison to Cheshire. The Phoenix also struggled to maintain possession in this quarter as they turned the ball over 7 different times in the 10 minute interval of the 3rd quarter.
A quarter that started 36-58 ended 61-81 but looked to have potential for a now hungry Manchester side.
Manchester came out to play in the final quarter as they put together their best points tally in a quarter with 32 points as a team in 10 minutes. Nicholas Lewis put up 13 points in 10 minutes whilst Evan Walshe followed suit as he added 13 of his own in the same period of time. The final quarter of this north west derby was a special one for Matthew Goodwin.
An exciting prospect of Mancunian basketball got his first points as a professional, the 18 year old received the ball on the wing, faked the 3 and drove into the paint to lay it home to ovation and euphoria from the attending crowd. Despite the result there were some positives to take from this evening's match up. It does mean however that the distance between Manchester Giants and that final elusive playoff spot widens.
Nicholas Lewis: 27 Points, 7 Assists, 4 Steals.
Nick Stampley: 17 Points, 9 Rebounds, 54%FG, 100%FT.
William Lee: 16 Points, 9 Rebounds, 44%FG, 100%FT.
Evan Walshe: 20 Points, 4 Rebounds, 50%FG.
Next up on the Giants calendar is another home game against the Newcastle Eagles and the return of former Manchester forward Tajh Green. Tip off is scheduled for 3:00pm.
All highlights from tonight’s game will be available to view below: