Capital clubs will contest no fewer than five Scottish Basketball Cup finals at the Lagoon Centre in Paisley on the weekend if February 2-3, with City of Edinburgh in three and Boroughmuir Blaze in two.
Hopes of an all-Capital senior men’s final, however, were snuffed out at the Crags Sports Centre yesterday afternoon when Glasgow University won an entertaining semi-final against Blaze by 79-63.
Ben Warrington had 24 points for Blaze and Davy Rowan and Kevin Anderson hit three three-pointers each for the home side, whose junior and cadet teams both won their semis.
The juniors beat Fury 76-63 in Falkirk yesterday, while the cadets beat Kings 79-64 at Portobello.
Edinburgh Kings certainly did their part, demolishing Falkirk Fury 90-62 in the first semi-final at Portobello High on Saturday afternoon despite the appearance of Great Britain Olympic centre Kieron Achara in the visiting ranks.
Achara, for all his 6ft 10in frame, too often ploughed a lone furrow and was outshone by opposite number Simon Flockhart, who had one of his best games for many a day to top the scorers’ list with 23 points.
“We played really well as a team,” insisted Flockhart.
The strength of the “Home Guard”, led by the stellar performance of Lee Reilly with 18 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and six steals, was also crucial and, along with brother Craig, Paddy Campbell and Garreth Lodge, they put severe pressure on Fury playmaker Jonny Bunyan, who eventually picked up two technical fouls and was sent out of the hall.
“What was really pleasing was the 50-point turnaround from the last time we played them in the league,” said Kings coach Doug Reilly, who must now be confident that his team can not only go on to win the cup but also win the return league fixture with Fury by more than 20 points and take that crown as well.
For Kings, who led 49-32 at half-time, Craig Reilly added 12 points, Ed Rekis 11 and Paddy Campbell ten, while Jonny Bunyan and Achara both had 16 for Fury. Edinburgh Kool Kats had already secured their cup final place with a less assured 63-54 win over St Mirren than their 30-point league win of the previous week.
After the starting five played well for a 24-8 lead after ten minutes, coach Ben Gunn subbed four players and Kats lost their rhythm, losing the next quarter 10-17.
Back on top 19-12 in the third, they again had too many turnovers in a 10-17 fourth quarter against a young Saints side.
In the final they now face Tayside Musketeers, who upset holders Glasgow Rocks 69-66. Junior Kool Kats’ side beat Musketeers 49-40 in their semi-final.