Basketball round-up: Kings, Kats and Edinburgh Uni into play-off semi-finals

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Holders City of Edinburgh Kings reached this year’s Scottish Basketball play-off semi-finals by defeating Boroughmuir Blaze at Portobello High.

Kings won by a single point at The Crags in October and Blaze took revenge last month, but their latest confrontation looked to be going only one way when the home side led 50-33 at half-time. Boroughmuir trimmed the deficit to 11 points entering the closing quarter, but Kings eased away again to win 87-70 and set up a mouth-watering semi-final with league champions Dunfermline Reign at St Columba’s High this Saturday.

Ali Mackay top-scored for Kings with 21 points, while Calum Nicol and Konrad Kantorski both contributed 19. “The guys played very well,” smiled head coach Craig Nicol.

Dunfermline booked their last-four spot with an 85-54 home victory over Edinburgh Lions, who performed above expectations to make the top eight following promotion last season.

Defending ladies’ champions Edinburgh University kept a tight hold on their play-off title after overcoming Falkirk Fury 83-67 at The Pleasance. Following 33 points in last week’s victory over City of Edinburgh Kool Kats, Raquel Pederzani added another 21, plus ten rebounds, six assists and five steals. Laoise Carey (17) and Dori Lansbach (15) also scored heavily as the students advanced to a semi-final with St Mirren Saints in Paisley.

“Our team all worked really hard against Falkirk, but some of our execution wasn’t great, so we’ve got plenty to work on,” said coach Donnie MacDonald. “St Mirren caused us problems in our league games, but hopefully the work we’ve done in practice will put us in a better position. It should be a good game.”

City of Edinburgh joined their men’s team in the semis thanks to a routine 74-41 victory over Glasgow Fever at Portobello. Kats were in control from the start before surging 24 points clear in the third quarter to put the result beyond doubt. Tracey Phillips led the way with 16 points, but the Scottish Cup holders can expect life to get far tougher in the next round. Finishing below Edinburgh University complicated matters and means they will now face their successors as league champions, Lady Rocks, in Cumbernauld on Sunday.

Caledonia Pride had no game last weekend, but it’s been an exciting time for Queen Margaret University’s men’s squad as they advanced to this month’s British Universities Trophy final after beating Nottingham Trent 60-57 in Edinburgh. They play Worcester in the final on 27 March.