Kool Kats and Phoenix opening wins

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Helped by some hot scoring from their veteran Scottish caps, Edinburgh Kool Kats and Polonia Phoenix made promising starts to their Scottish Women’s League campaigns with victories at Oriam, Basketball Scotland’s new national high performance centre at Riccarton on Saturday.

Suitably inspired by the new surroundings perhaps, Tracey Phillips scored 30 points for Kats as they defeated league rookies Glasgow Fever 76-52 and they also had good contributions from Leanne Paige with 14, Emma Findlay, 12 and Casey Morrison with 10.

There was also first return appearances from three former junior stars Annie Rowan, a Scottish senior cap, Rachel Boyd and Nicola McBrierty.XX

Before that Julie Ritchie had proved far too strong for the other rookies Glasgow University as she poured in 30 for Phoenix in a 76-23 win which could have been more severe.

Ritchie’s fellow Scottish multi-capped centre Les Jackson, now a Golden veteran, celebrated with 11 points, Lynsey Lochhead added 10 as did Lyn Cochran.

But perhaps most encouraging for coach Toni Szifris and his side was the 10-point debut of Greek guard Eleonora Theodoridou, whose unselfish distribution created a flow of other scoring opportunities.

Meanwhile inspired by their Scottish captain Kieron Achara and a welcome return to form of former Chicago Bulls NBA star Ben Gordon, Great Britain defeated FYROM 96-79 at London’s Copper Box Arena to haul themselves back into contention in their Eurobasket qualifying round.

GB now play Luxembourg on Wednesday at the same London 2012 venue with some tickets still available and then play Hungary there on Saturday in a bid to turn round their defeat in Budapest last Wednesday.