Kool Kats emerge from lion’s den unscathed with win

Emma Findlay top scored for Kats with 19. Picture: Stuart Cobley
Emma Findlay top scored for Kats with 19. Picture: Stuart Cobley
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Scottish Women’s Basketball Cup holders Edinburgh Kool Kats survived a visit to the lion’s den when they travelled to Paisley with only six players to beat St Mirren 62-53 in the first round at the Lagoon Centre.

Kats’ Capital rivals and Scottish League champions Polonia Phoenix however, similarly afflicted by injuries and non-availability, travelled to the Mariner Centre with only four first-team seniors to go out 47-43 to Falkirk Fury.

Kats coach Ben Gunn came in for praise for the way he out-foxed Saints and their coach Barry Lang, BasketballScotland’s new Head of Basketball, who will continue in his unpaid role as the club mentor.

“It was a fantastic performance from all – we dug deep, hung on and came good when we needed to,” said Scotland cap Lauren Walker.

“It was very well coached and all went to plan.”

Scotland guard Emma Findlay top-scored with 19, Tracey Phillips added 13 and Walker and Kara Gillies scored 10 each. Natalie Chaloner led Saints with 21. Lack of personnel was not the problem for Edinburgh Kings, who suffered their second league defeat of the season, going down 77-64 to St Mirren at Portobello HS.

Coach Doug Reilly had a full bench for a change but not one who had all played together in a game and it showed.

He said: “We’re still a work in progress – it would have been nice if we’d had a better run of games but we are where we are.”

Acknowledging that some home ill-discipline had not helped, he added: “We’ll get better.”

Reilly could take comfort in the first appearance of Greek guard Menelaus Kokolios who gave glimpses of real class.

But it was his son Craig who hit the target consistently with 22 points, Audrius Ciapas and Matt Krucznski adding 11 each.

Saints owed much to a five-star performance from centre Nic Collins, who scored 29 points and took a stack of rebounds. Chris Cleary added 17 points.

Elsewhere, Falkirk easily accounted for Dunfermline Reign 81-44 and Troon Tornadoes took out Stirling Knights 85-77.