City of Edinburgh Kings gave head coach Craig Nicol the perfect wedding present as they added the Scottish Basketball Play-Off title to January’s Scottish Cup victory after stunning league champions St Mirren in an epic final at Oriam on Saturday.
Edinburgh University completed the same double by blitzing league winners City of Edinburgh Kool Kats in Sunday’s all-capital women’s final.
Nicol was married to wife Katie on Friday and experienced another momentous occasion just 24 hours later when Kings survived a storming St Mirren fightback to hand the Paisley side its first defeat since early-December.
A seemingly-unassailable 22-point lead was slashed to just four with less than two minutes remaining, but bridegroom Nicol then earned his corn, calling a timeout to calm his team’s frazzled nerves. Following some well-chosen words and a few deep breaths, Kings held on to win 72-66.
Paddy Campbell, in possibly his last-ever game, was voted Most Valuable Player, while youngsters Rory Milne and Ryan Armour were equally influential. Centre Ali Mackay also made a massive contribution with a “double double” of 14 points plus 14 rebounds and can consider himself unlucky not to be going to the Commonwealth Games. Nicol and Kyle Jimenez – who missed Saturday’s final due to suspension – are both part of the Scotland squad and left for Australia on Monday.
Sunday’s women’s play-off final was eagerly-anticipated after Edinburgh University lifted the Cup and Kats successfully retained their league title, but the end-of-season showpiece proved surprisingly one-sided.
Having defeated Kats last month during a long unbeaten run stretching back to October, the students were full of confidence and led by five points at the end of the opening quarter and by 14 at half time.
The gap grew to 25 in the third quarter and, with the result already decided, both teams went through the motions before coach Jordan Webb’s side wrapped up an emphatic 75-51 victory. Kai-Brith Kalda was named as MVP after grabbing 12 rebounds and top-scoring with 14 points, while Emma Findlay posted an unlucky 13 for the runners-up.
“The girls peaked at the right moment,” smiled the university’s head of performance Bart Sengers. “Kats didn’t play their best and it was one of the first times our team was complete. There was no Caledonia Pride game at the weekend, so that made it possible.”
In other finals, Kats’ Under-18 girls completed a league, cup and play-off treble and also rounded off an unbeaten season by defeating city rivals Boroughmuir Blaze 58-40.
The Kats Under-14s lost 54-34 to Perth Phoenix, while Kings’ Under-16 boys took league champions Stirling Knights to overtime before going down 75-73.