Capital basketball clubs fight way into Play-Off Finals

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Next weekend’s Scottish Basketball Play-Off Finals will have a strong Capital flavour after City of Edinburgh’s two teams and Edinburgh University’s women scored hard-fought semi-final wins to book their places at Oriam.

City of Edinburgh Kings have already won the Scottish Cup and finished second in the men’s league, and they earned another shot at champions St Mirren after edging out Falkirk Fury in an epic semi-final at Portobello High. Despite a crippling injury list, Kings led by seven points at half-time but were two adrift going into the last quarter. It was all-square with 90 seconds left to play before Kings landed two free throws to squeak home 70-68.

“It was an unbelievable performance,” said head coach Craig Nicol. “We were missing six players, three of them starters, so it meant we had to play without a point guard.” In a true team performance, Matt Wilcox was their top scorer with 14 points, while four others made it into double figures.

St Mirren eased through to this Saturday’s final following a 71-55 victory over Boroughmuir Blaze at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre. The visitors were only four points behind with ten minutes remaining, but the home side’s late surge prevented a repeat of January’s Kings v Blaze Scottish Cup Final.

Sunday afternoon’s women’s final will see league champions City of Edinburgh Kool Kats tackle Cup winners Edinburgh University. Kats avenged their shock Cup defeat to St Mirren in their semi-final, Emma Findlay top-scoring with 18 points as they overcame a slow start to win 74-65 at Portobello High. The students forfeited one game last month but remain unbeaten on court since late-October after beating Lady Rocks 66-60 in Cumbernauld.

Meanwhile, Caledonia Pride took a massive step towards the WBBL Trophy semi-finals following a thumping 82-64 away victory over Team Northumbria.

Centre Tricia Oakes continued her recent sparkling form as she contributed 18 points and 14 rebounds, while skipper Robyn Lewis provided a match-high nine assists.

Head coach Bart Sengers hopes Pride can finish the job in their quarter-final second leg in Edinburgh on April 1.

“We’ve been playing good basketball lately, so now we just need to find a way to continue that,” smiled Sengers.