Basketball: Kings overcome Ali Mackay injury | Pride defeated

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City of Edinburgh Kings overcame another injury to Ali Mackay to score a thrilling victory over high-flying Dunfermline Reign in the game of the weekend in the Scottish Basketball League.

Mackay missed the start of the season due to a broken finger, but returned to inspire Kings to a four-match unbeaten run and a place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals. Injury struck again, however, in the opening minutes of Saturday’s game in Fife, although Kings still managed to pull off an epic 88-86 victory as they ended Reign’s five-match winning streak. It was also sweet revenge for an early-season defeat to Dunfermline at Portobello High School.

“It was a great result for us although we unfortunately lost Ali early on,” said head coach Craig Nicol. “He got a very deep cut in his hand and had to go straight to hospital for stitches. We’re not sure yet if he’ll be fit for the Stirling Knights game this Friday, but it’s unlikely. We’ll see what the doctors say. If the stitches come out fine before Friday, then he should be okay.”

Edinburgh University also reversed a September defeat and in the process claimed their first win in five when they edged Stirling 74-70 at The Peak. They can now look forward to this weekend’s local derby with Pleasance Basketball Club.

In the Scottish women’s league, defending champions City of Edinburgh Kool Kats bounced back from losing their top of the table clash with Lady Rocks as they scraped past Division One side Glasgow Fever at Portobello High. A nine-point lead was cut to just one inside the final quarter, prompting Kats coach Ben Gunn to call a time-out. Gunn’s shrewd move paid off as Kats closed out a hard-fought 63-58 victory.

Third-placed Edinburgh University were due to play West Lothian Wolves in a cup semi-final dress rehearsal on Sunday, but the match was postponed.

Meanwhile, in the Women’s British Basketball League, Caledonia Pride lost 79-41 to leaders Sevenoaks Suns in Kent on Sunday.

The Edinburgh-based pro team had won back-to-back matches before last week’s international break, but the gulf in class was yawning as Suns racked up their seventh straight league victory.

Despite taking the 5.30 early-morning flight to give them maximum time to prepare, Pride trailed at the end of the first quarter and were 46-24 adrift by half time. The gap continued to grow in the second half as only American centre Tricia Oakes, who scored 12 points and played the full 40 minutes, managed to get into double figures for the visitors.