Basketball: Lions may yet get claws into national league

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Edinburgh Lions, who lead the Lothian Basketball League men’s first division by seven points with only two games left to play, have been tipped as contenders for a place in next season’s Scottish National League.

Rumours abound that one or more teams might drop out of the ten-team league and the obvious candidates would be the bottom two, Dunfermline Reign, who have only won one game, and Glasgow Rocks, the fledgling development side of the Rocks pro team in Glasgow, who have won just twice.

But no obvious strategy appears to exist about how new teams gain entry.

Lions might have helped their case by winning the Lothian Cup but they crashed out in the semi-finals to West Lothian Wolves who beat them 60-37 at Linlithgow recently and now play City of Edinburgh in the final at Portobello High School tomorrow (11am). City disposed of Heriot-Watt University 63-53 at Riccarton in their semi.

Lions meanwhile have still to play City again in the league on April 8.

Some of the City team may also be on duty for Edinburgh Kings in their Scottish National League second leg play-off against Glasgow Storm also at Portobello at 3.30pm. Kings lead by 17 points from the first leg at Bellahouston last Saturday and should have little problem reaching the last four.

Two other senior men’s second leg games are tonight, Falkirk Fury defending a 20-point lead over Boroughmuir Blaze at the Mariner SC (8pm) and Troon Tornadoes having to overcome a six-point deficit to Glasgow University at the Citadel SC, Ayr (8.15pm).

Two of the Blaze team, Davy Rowan, and Ben Warrington (both Edinburgh), and Kings’ Niall Mackle (Aberdeen) are in the Scottish Universities squad to play St Mirren in a challenge game at Linwood on Sunday (2.45pm).

Kings’ resources are certainly stretched on all fronts tomorrow as their cadets and juniors bid for a trophy double in the age group Play-Off finals at Grangemouth Sports Complex which clash badly with the games at Portobello. The junior men’s final, in which Kings and Falkirk Fury will battle it out, is at 4.45pm and is preceded by the cadets “battle” between Kings and Boroughmuir Blaze at 12.15pm.

The cadets defend their season’s unbeaten record and bid for a clean sweep of trophies when they face Blaze in what will be a repeat of the entertaining and highly competitive Scottish Cup final for that under-16 age group.