Edinburgh Kings said farewell in fitting style to their home court for the last 20 years when they defeated Edinburgh University 77-71 after overtime in an enthralling game at Portobello High School.
Thanks to a spirited display by the students the game was by no means the stroll some expected and it was only in the last 30 seconds of the extra five minutes that Kings opened up a six-point gap and went on to victory.
Ali Mackay, the game’s top scorer with 21 points, and Ryan Armour, the hosts lively junior, both scored two from two from the line to kill off the visitors who on this form will trouble quite a few teams this season.
Mackay added nine rebounds, Calum Nicol 11 points and five rebounds and Armour and Si Flockhart ten points each with Flockhart adding nine rebounds.
Laurits Juffers, a Dutch student at Queen Margaret, who was born in Germany and brought up in Finland, Rodrigo Colorado from Mexico City, who played for Redemption Christian Homeschool in Houston, and Eric Steffen, from Luxembourg who attended the University of Wisconsin and represented Luxembourg v Scotland juniors at Euro B, were the EU newcomers who caught the eye while Davy Rowan, in possibly his last EU game ever, enjoyed his return to his former home court.
Brendan Mullan, a former Boroughmuir Blaze player, shared top scoring on 15 points for EU with Colorado while Steffen posted 13 including three three-pointers. Juffers slotted ten.
EU led 27-23 at half-time and were still up 45-42 after the third quarter.
“Though it’s a tough loss to take considering how close we got, it’s a game we can build on for the rest of the season,” said EU coach Achilleas Chatzitheocharis.
Kings will play their next home game at Holyrood High School and hope to have their first home game in the new Portobello High School following that.
Champions Boroughmuir Blaze, without possibly their best two players Tomas Cicenas and Eoghann Dover, went down 87-74 away to St Mirren at the Lagoon Centre, Paisley.
It was their first defeat of the season and the weakened team fought back and took the lead on more than one occasion when it appeared Saints would run away with the game.
As feared, the Capital’s new women’s pro team, Caledonia Pride, were heavily punished by Leicester Riders 87-37 when they ventured south for their first game in the WBBL with a patchwork team.
Despite carrying an injury, former Kool Kat Hannah Peacock did play and shared top scoring spot on nine points with US point guard Natalie Bastian.