Basketball: Lesley Marshalled by family values as Phoenix net title

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ONLY two trophies stayed in the Capital after basketball’s Scottish Cup Finals at the Pleasance at the weekend – but both successes offered much hope for the future.

Backed by the entire family of footballing Marshalls, her father Gordon and both brothers Gordon and Scott, Lesley Jackson (nee Marshall), herself a distinguished Scottish basketball internationalist, coached Polonia Phoenix to their first-ever national age group trophy when they won the cadette (under-16) final.

But it could not have been closer, the Capital outfit beating Glasgow Rocks just 49-48 after trailing as much as 13 points in the first half and being 28-21 down at half-time..

Not only did Fiona Murray top score for Polonia with 18 points but she also took a massive 14 rebounds and may have provided the spark which lit the Phoenix in the second half when she took off from her own half and drove all the way to the Rocks end to score.

Lesley’s daughter Keri and Katie McPherson were next top scorers with nine points each, McPherson also hauling down 15 rebounds and Keri nine, while another big rebounder was Lauren Forde with 12.

Mirren Summers, eight points in total, had an unlucky day with her shooting but did convert all four free throws, which was vital in such a close game.

“I’m so delighted for the girls,” said Lesley.

Steven Dickson did not have to endure quite such a nail-biter to steer Edinburgh Kings to the cadet men’s trophy with a 67-53 win over Boroughmuir Blaze, who also fought back from a first-half 29-23 deficit but in their case in vain.

Rian Neil had an outstanding game for Kings, scoring 27 points including 19 of 23 attempts from the free throw line, to which he added 12 rebounds, while point guard Finlay Wood, who scored eight points, coolly iced the win in the later stages with four from six from the line as Blaze fouled to stop the clock. Ryan Brown added nine points and Gregor Gray took 11 rebounds.

For Blaze Malcolm Winning scored 13, Tom Skinner had ten points and five assists and Sam Stott nine points and seven rebounds.

St Mirren won the senior men’s and both junior cups, the senior men for only the third time in their history, upsetting favourites Falkirk Fury 88-68, thanks to a blistering 25-12 third quarter.

Superb double doubles from Nic Collins (25 points and 13 rebounds) and Chris Cleary (18 and 11) led the Paisley men.

Glasgow Rocks, took the senior women’s cup with a deserved 72-60 win over Edinburgh Kool Kats, the power and athleticism of the Cumbernauld-based side, particularly Rona Corkindale (23 points) and Ailidh Hood (19) proving decisive.

Sarah O’Brien (13) and Emma Findlay (12) led Kats’ scoring, while Rowan Bell had 13 rebounds and Hannah Peacock seven.