Basketball: Narrow win sees Kool Kats move level with Phoenix

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The Capital’s top two women’s basketball clubs produced another cliff-hanger at Portobello High School on Saturday when Edinburgh Kool Kats held off previously unbeaten Polonia Phoenix 54-52 to draw level with their close rivals in the title chase.

When the two teams met at the Crags Sports Centre last month Polonia had won by just one point after trailing by seven and again the Phoenix rose to come from behind and close the gap, only this time to fall one basket short.

“We should have won by more,” insisted Kats coach Ben Gunn, whose side led 38-30 at half-time but only 48-45 after the third quarter and now face another big test at home to champions Glasgow Rocks at Portobello on Friday.

For Kats, Sarah O’Brien led all scorers with 18, Shauna O’Connor had 11 and Leanne Paige (nee Stupart) eight, while for Phoenix “super vet” Les Jackson had 14, Claire Paxton 10, Ali Mitchell nine and Julie Ritchie eight.

Led by 20 from Kirsten Simpson, Kats won the junior game 66-47 and also took the cadette clash 39-37 and with the Kings cadet men comfortably beating Tayside Musketeers 63-53 it might have been five wins out of five on “Super Saturday” for the City club.

But though the junior men were 19 up against Tayside in the third quarter, 34-17 up at half-time and still 15 up going into the final ten minutes, they dried up drastically and added only two more points to be pipped 53-52 by the unbeaten league leaders.

The previous evening Kings seniors had vanquished Stirling Knights 101-57 behind 23 points from Ed Rekis, 20 from a revitalised Paddy Campbell, 17 from Lee Reilly and 13 from Simon Flockhart to make it five out of six for the City’s busy home weekend.

Boroughmuir Blaze went down again 83-73 at home to Glasgow Rocks in the men’s league: “We shot poorly and defended poorly,” said coach Chopper Pettett.

But Blaze juniors were big 88-46 home winners over Highland Bears and the cadets did their bit, beating Bears 86-64.