City of Edinburgh Kings sent an ominous warning to their title rivals after posting a comfortable win over Stirling Knights on the opening weekend of the Scottish Basketball season.
Kings were runners-up to St Mirren last term but won both the Scottish Cup and the end-of-season play-offs, and on this evidence they look well equipped to challenge on all fronts once again.
Despite the loss of two key players, Paddy Campbell and Kyle Jimenez, to retirement and Loughborough University respectively, head coach Craig Nicol’s remodelled side cut loose in the third quarter to crush Stirling 73-51 at Portobello High. Ryan Armour led the way with 20 points, while Calum Nicol added 17 and Jimenez’s replacement Konrad Kantorski chipped in with 15.
Last season’s Cup finalists Boroughmuir Blaze suffered a shock defeat to Dunfermline Reign at St Columba’s High School. Blaze had won there in the play-offs in March, but a remarkable second-quarter turnaround gave the Fifers ample revenge. Having trailed by three points at the end of the opening period, Reign outscored the shell-shocked visitors 26-2 in that second quarter to lead 48-27 at half-time. The gap grew to 25 points, allowing them to coast through the closing stages to win 86-64.
Newly-promoted Edinburgh Lions were mauled 122-69 by defending champions St Mirren at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre, and they face another daunting challenge this Saturday when they meet in-form Kings.
In the women’s league, Polonia Phoenix lost 80-42 to last season’s runners-up Lady Rocks at St Maurice’s High in Cumbernauld.
Reigning champions City of Edinburgh Kool Kats and Cup holders Edinburgh University will open their season this weekend against West Lothian Wolves and St Mirren respectively.