Edinburgh basketball: Kings back on track | Blaze kid in promising debut

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City of Edinburgh Kings got their Scottish Basketball League campaign back on track after narrowly avoiding a third straight defeat, while Edinburgh University’s women put on a first-class honours display against Glasgow University.

Kings went unbeaten this season until losing their grip on the Scottish Cup in a major upset in Ayrshire. Last week’s heavy league defeat in Paisley knocked them off the top of the table, so it was vital that they returned to winning ways against struggling Stirling Knights at The Peak.

A youthful Kings team looked solid enough when leading 33-16 at half time, but Knights refused to go away and drew level at 50-all with barely 33 seconds left. In a finish reminiscent of last month’s single-point victory at Boroughmuir, teenager Rory Milne landed a couple of clutch shots to see Kings home 54-50. Another youngster, Calum Nicol, led the scorers with 18 points.

Leaders Dunfermline Reign stayed top and sent a ominous warning to Kings and the rest by outclassing Boroughmuir Blaze 85-63 at The Crags. Reign broke clear in the second quarter and were then able to coast to a tenth straight win in all competitions. Their margin of victory was exactly the same as in September, and the only consolation for Blaze was a promising debut from 16-year-old Ryan Nealon-Lino, who bagged nine points for the home side.

Defending champions St Mirren remained in title contention after coming to Broughton High and thrashing Edinburgh Lions in a feast of high-scoring which delivered well over 200 points. With Saints on a high following their victory over City of Edinburgh and Lions still licking their wounds after losing in overtime to Glasgow University, there was a certain inevitability about the result. St Mirren had already handed Lions two bruising defeats in the league and cup, and a third hammering was duly administered as the visitors prevailed 133-85.

In the women’s league, Edinburgh University took full advantage while the top two – Lady Rocks and champions City of Edinburgh Kool Kats – were not playing at the weekend. The students stretched their winning run to four games by overpowering old rivals Glasgow University 61-23 at The Pleasance. That meant they joined a logjam in second place behind Rocks, although their title credentials and that unbeaten record will be seriously tested this Sunday when they take on fellow contenders St Mirren in Paisley.