Basketball round-up: Kings and Uni Ladies chalk up key wins | Pride’s woes continue
Two loose ends were tied up on the final weekend of the Scottish Basketball Leagues when City of Edinburgh Kings and Edinburgh University ladies posted important victories to secure more favourable draws in the end-of-season play-offs.
Kings were contesting fourth place with Boroughmuir Blaze, but while Blaze lost on Friday, Kings got the result they needed against Glasgow Storm at Scotstoun. Two recent defeats were forgotten as the visitors led 19-8 after the first quarter and pushed on to win 79-53 with coach Craig Nicol making a cameo appearance on court. Kings now have home advantage in the play-off quarter-finals when Blaze come to Portobello High this Friday.
Boroughmuir gave everything to finish as Edinburgh’s top club, but last season’s champions St Mirren scuppered their chances after ending their three-game winning run at The Crags.
Despite trailing by 21 points at the end of the third period, Blaze somehow took the match into overtime and even led by two before eventually going down 114-107. Yannick Onifade and skipper Eoghann Dover totalled 51 points between them yet still finished on the losing side.
A third Capital team, Edinburgh Lions, will also contest the play-offs following promotion last year, but an 88-53 home loss to Cup winners Falkirk Fury left them down in eighth place and handed them the daunting task of taking on champions Dunfermline Reign in Fife.
Edinburgh University face Division Two basketball next term after their 59-56 away defeat to old rivals Glasgow University meant they finished at the bottom of the table with just one win all season.
EU’s women enjoyed a better weekend as they reversed the result of last month’s Scottish Cup Final by defeating City of Edinburgh Kool Kats at Portobello. Kats led by eight points with ten minutes left, but the students produced an inspired fightback to win the final quarter 32-12 and the match 79-67. Raquel Pederzani’s 33 points – 29 coming in the second half – proved crucial as EU clinched third place. The Edinburgh clubs had an identical 11-5 record, but the students beat Kats in both league meetings to book a home play-off against Falkirk. Kats are also at home to Glasgow Fever.
Caledonia Pride’s recent woes continued in England on Saturday when the Edinburgh pro outfit was beaten 85-66 by Manchester Mystics. Tia Weledji (17 points) and captain Hannah Robb (15) scored freely, while Kai-Brith Kalda claimed 16 rebounds and Alix Henderson made seven assists, but all to no avail. Pride were only three points adrift at half time before a third-quarter collapse further damaged their play-off prospects as they dropped to tenth place in the WBBL following an eighth defeat in nine matches in 2019.