City of Edinburgh Kings boss: “Nobody will want to play us in the play-offs.”
City of Edinburgh Kings and Caledonia Pride were the big winners at the weekend as Kings ended Dunfermline’s long unbeaten run in the Scottish Basketball League and Pride made a winning start in the WBBL Trophy.
Kings had lost their first two matches of the new year to slide out of title contention, but they recaptured their sparkling early-season form when champions-elect Dunfermline visited Portobello High on Friday night. A ten-point home lead was whittled down to just three, only for Kings to pull away again in the final quarter to win 84-71 as Reign tasted their first loss in their 13th league fixture. The Fifers went on to beat champions St Mirren on Sunday but will need to wait a little longer to clinch the title. Ali Mackay top-scored for Kings with 21 points, while Calum Nicol and Konrad Kantorski added 19 and 15 respectively. “It was good to get back to winning ways,” said coach Craig Nicol. “Nobody will want to play us in the play-offs.”
Boroughmuir Blaze had won two out of two in 2019, but with four players missing they went down 68-64 at Glasgow University despite another promising display from 16-year-old Ryan Nealon-Lino.
In the women’s league, Edinburgh University warmed up for the Scottish Cup Final against City of Edinburgh Kool Kats by posting their third straight win this month. Paced by 13 points from Katrina Kirsop, they beat traditional rivals Glasgow University 56-40 to join Kats and St Mirren in second place, although coach Donnie MacDonald admitted: “It wasn’t our best performance, on offense or defence, but we did enough to hold Glasgow off.”
Kats had no game at the weekend, but Polonia Phoenix were in action and are still waiting to break their duck this season after losing 68-57 to St Mirren at Gracemount High.
Caledonia Pride desperately needed a positive result against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL Trophy after starting the year with three league defeats. They got what they wanted, triumphing 78-64 at Oriam to make it third time lucky against Eagles this season.
“I’m very happy with the way we played,” smiled head coach Bart Sengers, whose side led 22-8 at the end of the first quarter. “It was a great team performance and we managed to stay consistent for the whole game.”
Hansine Marshall and skipper Hannah Robb were joint top scorers with 14 points, while Sian Phillips and Kai-Brith Kalda claimed 25 crucial rebounds between them.