Basketball roundup: Boroughmuir Blaze ready to Rock Glasgow in cup

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CUP action dominates the weekend programme with the quarter-finals of the Scottish Senior Men’s Cup tomorrow and Sunday and last-eight ties in both the Scottish junior and cadet cups.

Boroughmuir Blaze, who have a home tie against Glasgow Rocks at the Crags Sports Centre tomorrow (2.20pm), must have a good chance of reaching the semis.

Glasgow University are in the same half of the draw and away to non-league Portlethen Panthers in Aberdeen on Sunday so a last four clash with the students is on the cards for Blaze provided they can overturn their recent Scottish League 83-73 defeat to the Rocks.

“We’re confident of a win,” declared Blaze player-coach Chopper Pettett. “But to do that we have to pick up our transition defence, improve our help defence and cut down the turnovers – we were extremely flat last time and we’re looking to start with far more intensity and purpose on Saturday.”

“It’s our biggest game of the season so far and we’ve been trying to plan accordingly.”

Kings bid to bounce back

Given their shock league defeat to Falkirk Fury at the Mariner last weekend and the injury to their pivotal player, Edgars Rekis, Edinburgh Kings face a potentially hazardous trip to play Troon Tornadoes at their new venue at Stewarton Sports Centre tomorrow (3.20pm).

Rekis, who tweaked a hamstring muscle in a separate incident following Roni Gordon’s unfortunate knee injury in the first quarter of the Falkirk game, is rated a doubtful starter for tomorrow’s tie, the winner of which will play Fury in the semi-final. Kings juniors already have their crunch game with Fury, a quarter-final tie at Portobello tomorrow (11am), and they are entitled to be confident they can get the victory following their comfortable away win over Fury in the league last week.

Kings cadets follow on with a quarter-final home game against Dunfermline Reign (1pm).

Polonia Phoenix complete the Capital fixtures with a home Scottish Women’s Cup tie against St Mirren at the Crags on Sunday (1.30pm).

It’s a high five for juniors

Kings supply no fewer than five of the Scottish junior (under-18) training squad recently announced, in the shape of Gregor Gray, Kieran McAdam, Sam McArthur, Rian Neil and Neil Rowan.

Coach Doug Reilly has also included two from Blaze, Malcolm Winning and

Ronan Mullan, and only two from league leaders Tayside Musketeers – Jeb Spink and Nicky Sim. The big surprise is the omission of Tayside’s free scoring Kevin Myers.

Szifris goes on the beat

Thanks to this column, former Scotland national team coach Toni Szifris has opted to resume coaching after a six-year break.

“I was delighted to receive a call inviting me to become coach of the Lothian and Borders Police team,” said the former Portobello High Head of PE, who was in charge for last night’s top-of-the table clash in the Lothian men’s first division. Though it was not a winning debut – Edinburgh Kings beat the lawmen 58-47 – Szifris declared: “It was a lot of fun – our aim is to win the British Police title.”

Spotted in the police ranks were several former Kings men, including the Flockhart brothers Campbell and Grant and Mark Walker and current Kings national league player Pete Lyons, who had to scurry off afterwards for training along with several of the winning side.