Caledonia Pride achieve third victory on the bounce

Boroughmuir Blaze's Simon Ferriman goes on the attack in their Play-Off final against Falkirk Fury. Pic: Neil Hanna
Boroughmuir Blaze's Simon Ferriman goes on the attack in their Play-Off final against Falkirk Fury. Pic: Neil Hanna
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There was joy in the Caledonia Pride camp but disappointment for Boroughmuir Blaze after two days of non-stop basketball including the Scottish National League Play-Offs at the National Performance Centre at Oriam, Riccarton.

Pride won two more games in the Women’s BBL, beating Oaklands Wolves 66-56 on Saturday then producing a sparkling performance less than 24 hours later to defeat Barking Abbey Crusaders 70-45 yesterday to go three in a row.

Sarah Thomson gave a confident display yesterday to score six three-pointers and also take 13 rebounds while close behind her with 16 points was tall centre Tricia Oakes, who added eight rebounds, and Hannah Robb who had 15 points.

“Now we have to work even harder,” said a delighted coach Bart Sengers, who is refusing to rule the Play-Offs in or out.

“I think we can do it. Our core players are stepping up and Sarah’s got her confidence back,” he added.

“We shot really well in the second half.”

Ahead 18-5 after 10 minutes and 27-12 after 15, Pride let Barking close the gap to five at half-time.

But they soon took charge again to dispel any doubts, despite the presence of GB cap Savannah Wilkinson (16 points) in the opposing ranks.

After their heady win over Sheffield Hatters the previous weekend it was perhaps inevitable that there might be some fall away when Pride lined up against the winless bottom club Oaklands Wolves.

All seemed to be going to plan however when Pride took the opening quarter 25-12.

But a 7-0 run by the visitors at the end of the second quarter took Wolves back to just six down at half-time amid some signs of tension in the home ranks as shots were missed and turnovers made.

Natalie Bastian, named in the WBBL All-Star Five for her exploits v Hatters, missed her first four three-point attempts and only Sarah Thomson with two threes and eight points overall was hitting the target consistently.

A much better third quarter which Pride took 17-10 seemed to steady the ship.

But again Wolves fought back, narrowing the gap to just five points and winning the final quarter 19-16, though by then Bastian was back on target, adding three threes in her final game-high tally of 19, and Pride were home 66-56 for their third league win.

American centre Tricia Oakes had another vital “double double” of 14 and 17 rebounds, Hannah Robb added a late flourish of 11 points and six rebounds and Thomson ended with 10 points and eight rebounds, as well as three steals and six assists.

Falkirk Fury were emphatic winners of the senior men’s Play-Off title defeating their beaten Cup final opponents Boroughmuir Blaze much more comfortably this time 95-75.

Fury guard Eddy Leginus scored a remarkable 30 points, including nine threes, to pick up the MVP award, closely supported by Austrian student Adam Hammerschmidt with 27 including four threes.

A 14-0 run at the end of the second quarter to give them a 43-29 lead virtually sealed the game for Fury with Blaze chasing shadows after that.

Captain Eoghann Dover fired in four threes in a 20-point contribution, Sam Stott and John Browne adding 15 each.

Rebounds were certainly the name of the game in the Junior Women’s final particularly for MVP Sian Philips who helped Boroughmuir Blaze to a 61-51 win over City of Edinburgh Kool Kats by hauling down 30, 17 defensive and 13 offensive, as well as adding 10 blocks and 26 points, a huge “triple double” contribution.

Blaze, who also had 14 points and rebounds from Pride trainee Shawnisay Millar, led 18-3 after the first quarter and 30-14 at half-time, had to hold off a resurgent Kats who won the second half 37-31, helped by 12 points from Pollyanna Storie and 10 each from Tia Davies and Niamh Mackle.

Kings juniors had no better luck going down 76-46 to St Mirren.