Porty plays host to Kings’ push for league crown

Fury's Jonny Bunyan, right, will need to be closely guarded. Picture: John Devlin

Fury's Jonny Bunyan, right, will need to be closely guarded. Picture: John Devlin

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Basketball fans have been warned to turn up early or risk missing the Edinburgh Kings v Falkirk Fury clash at Portobello High School tomorrow, a game which could decide the destination of the Scottish League title.

Although home coach Doug Reilly is understandably playing the 3pm fixture low key, it is quite simply a “must win” game for Kings who have already lost twice in the league this season, once away to Fury.

The Capital club would need major and unlikely favours from other teams in the league if they were to lose this one and go three defeats behind the unbeaten champions.

“It’s an important game for both teams,” agreed Reilly.

“For us a win keeps us in the race for the league and a loss gives Fury the opportunity to consolidate their position in defence of their title – both teams have been playing well recently and it should be an entertaining game.”

The signs are that Kings’ form has picked up quite a bit since their defeat by Fury at the Mariner Centre and, with their new players beginning to settle in, they may be able to go down the bench a lot further for substitutes than they did last time.

The key factors will be whether they will be able to put enough pressure on Scotland’s international point guard Jonny Bunyan and at the same time lend enough support to their own Scottish international centre Simon Flockhart, who was outstanding in their recent Scottish Cup victory over Boroughmuir Blaze.

Falkirk are the visitors for three games at Portobello, their cadets playing Kings at 11am tomorrow with their unbeaten junior side providing the opposition at 1pm.

Blaze, meanwhile, are at home to Glasgow Rocks at the Crags tomorrow (2.20pm) and will be doubly keen to beat them given that the much-improved Glasgow side have outdone them and are through to the last four of the Cup.

Pantheon building hopes of beating Grizzlies in cup

Leading Lothian league side Pleasance Pantheon face a long trip to play the Granite City Grizzlies in the Scottish Chairman’s Cup at Aberdeen’s Beach Leisure Centre tomorrow, their reward for ousting Highland Bears in the first round.

“Unfortunately, we’ve lost two of our starting five players in the last few weeks due to work and family commitments and we could be without more this weekend,” said their three-point sharp-shooter Gavin Menzies.

“But the team have been putting in the graft in training and there’s no reason we can’t get a win despite Grizzlies’ reputation as a good team.”

Edinburgh University, who beat Aberdeen University 79-40 in a student league game this week, have a Chairman’s Cup-tie on Wednesday at home to Boroughmuir’s Lothian League side.

But that is a different team from the Boroughmuir Masters team, who are through to meet City of Edinburgh in the same cup next year.

Their ranks include the amazing 53-year-old former Scottish cap Dave McKenzie, who is still in remarkable shape.

Lochhead proves a point

Aided by the former Polonia Phoenix coach George Swanson, Scottish international point guard Lynsey Lochhead has been practising her shooting in weekly, hour-long sessions in a bid to help Polonia turn their fortunes round after their poor start in defence of their Scottish Women’s League title.

“All her hard work is beginning to pay off and she’s a fine example to younger players of what can still be achieved if you apply yourself,” says Swanson, who has now gone back to coaching to help the under-12s at Queensferry High School.