Basketball: Amazing twist sees Saints help Phoenix claim title

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Polonia PHOENIX are the Scottish Women’s League champions for the first time since 1999 after another amazing twist in what has been an extraordinary season.

Though it was not settled till Polonia beat Pentland 70-46 at the Crags Sports Centre yesterday, events in Paisley on Friday night had taken a dramatic turn, with St Mirren shocking likely repeat champions 
Glasgow Rocks 71-61.

So the Saints, having twice beaten Polonia in their three games this season, eventually did them a good turn, even though they themselves could not win.

Phoenix, Rocks and Edinburgh Kool Kats all thus had four defeats, but Polonia had a two-one head-to-head advantage over both their nearest 
rivals to give them the title.

Coach Stewart Harris said: “It’s been a great league this season.”

There is an intriguing blend of youth and experience in this Polonia side, whose scoring yesterday was led by Julie Ritchie with 15 points, Ali Mitchell with 11 and Claire Paxton with 10.

But Harris picked out two of the team who last took the title over a decade ago and are still a vital part of the club, Les Jackson, whose father, goalkeeping legend Gordon Marshall, was there to see their triumph and Lynsey Campbell, who also coaches the under-12s. “They work really hard,” he said.

As expected, Edinburgh Kings found the handicap of playing without Simon Flockhart and Edgars Rekis too much in their “Always Ballin” BBL Challenge Shield match with Falkirk Fury at the Emirates Arena, 
Glasgow, on Saturday.

Kings lost 77-53 before a sizeable crowd which had grown to 5000 for the BBL Trophy final, in which Sheffield Sharks surprised Leicester Riders 71-69.

Kings will be more concerned about whether Flockhart, who had a positive outcome for an x-ray of his injured ankle, will be fit to resume in time for the play-offs. Kings play Stirling Knights in the first leg of their first-round tie at the Peak Centre on Friday, with the return at Portobello a week on Saturday.