Edinburgh KINGS may think twice about staging a Scottish Cup semi-final on Black Friday again.
True there will be an all- Capital Scottish Cup final at the Pleasance next February – but it will be the under-16 (cadet) men’s event not the senior men.
While Boroughmuir Blaze were always looked on as an outside bet to reach the senior final in their first season back in the national league this century, holders Edinburgh Kings were clear favourites to repeat their earlier league win over Falkirk Fury and defend their trophy at the Edinburgh University arena on Saturday, February 4.
The six times winners came down to earth with an almighty bump, deservedly beaten on the night by bigger, sharper shooting and, most ironic of all, better disciplined opponents whose final winning margin of 28 points actually flattered their hosts.
Fury were 52-23 up at half-time and even extended that to 84-48 before a mini-revival 14-2 run made the scores slightly more respectable.
Fury, with a total of 14 three-pointers, were certainly hot, Keith Bunyan, the former BBL three-point star, hitting seven from eight from beyond the arc and another former Glasgow Rocks player Scott Russell adding three more in his 19-point tally.
Kings by contrast just got hot under-the-collar, frequently contesting referees’ decisions and picking up technical and unsporting fouls. What made it worse for Kings coach Doug Reilly was that the two worst offenders were his sons Craig and Lee, the latter having his poorest game of the season.
The Kings’ cause was not helped by the absence of Latvia forward Edgars Rekis, who had gone home for Christmas, leaving only Lithuanian Audrius Ciapas as back-up for centre Simon Flockhart who had to play the entire 40 minutes.
When Ciapas departed on a foolish fifth foul all faint home hopes evaporated.
“Falkirk had an unbelievable second quarter, rarely missing and playing strong aggressive defence which in essence killed off the game,” said Reilly.
“In our only other loss, to St Mirren, Edgars (Rekis) was also not playing and that denies us a balance and poise which is important.”
Fury will play St Mirren in the final on February 4, the Paisley side defeating a spirited Boroughmuir Blaze 80-70 at Linwood on Saturday.
Tomas Cicenas scored a huge 34 points for Blaze whose cadets overcame St Mirren 72-62 in a fast and furious semi-final at the Crags Sports Centre yesterday. Despite turning his ankle late in the game, Malcolm Winning top-scored with 16, Roie Huz added 14 and Sam Stott 13 for Blaze, who now meet Kings, who had held off Fury 52-47 on Saturday.
The women’s final will be between the holders Edinburgh Kool Kats and Glasgow Rocks, Kats pulling away in the final quarter at the Mariner to beat Falkirk 66-51.
The Rocks scored a surprisingly easy 61-43 win over Polonia Phoenix on an emotional day at St Maurice’s High, Cumbernauld yesterday, where they were playing their first games since the sudden death of club coach Jim Lay.