BBL Championship: Cheshire Jets 85 MK Lions 76

JOHN Lavery praised his entire squad after they maintained their momentum from the derby victory with a big BBL Championship victory over the MK Lions at the Northgate Arena.

JOHN Lavery praised his entire squad after they maintained their momentum from the derby victory with a big BBL Championship victory over the MK Lions at the Northgate Arena.

Watched by new Greek/Serbian signing Milan Psaltou after the release of Dan Briglia earlier in the week, the Jets started strong, eking out their lead in the early stages through Colin O'Reilly and Adam Brown.

DeMarius Bolds and Howard Crawford kept the Lions in the game however and their persistence helped them reel in their hosts and build a 14-8 lead.

But the Jets are riding on a wave of confidence after seeing off the Mersey Tigers last weekend and a final push at the end of the quarter saw Brown and Schneck put the Jets 19-15 up.

The second quarter saw the Jets change up a gear as everything dropped for them. Brown's cuts were incisive and Matt Schneck, despite collecting two first-quarter fouls, was powerful.

Bill Cole swatted away shots as the Jets' tough defence kept Lions scoring to a minimum and O'Reilly surprised everyone by going inside more than looking at shots from downtown.

The improved hustle worked for the Northgate Arena side however and they began to take full control before half-time, leaving the Lions in disarray as they built a 42-30 lead.

In the third the Lions tried repeatedly to close the gap and although it reduced slightly, the Jets never lost their grip.

Bolds, Crawford and Robert Youngblood did all they could to keep the Lions n the game but O'Reilly found his three-point range before Keith Page drained a triple of his own to help the Jets close the period 61-50 up.

The fourth began with a bang as Nathan Schall, facing his old club, stole the ball in the opening minute and raced away to dunk with authority in front of Mike New's bench.

Cole stretched the Jets' lead but before long the Lions' expected resurgence began to bite as the double-digit gap was slowly reduced.

However, no matter what the Lions threw at their hosts, they could not stop them scoring and the Jets maintained enough of a lead to put New's side under increasing pressure,

Even when Matt Schneck fouled out with the Jets leading by 11, there was no concern in the Jets camp and when Bolds walked within a minute of Schneck it was game-over fr the Lions as they lost the only offensive threat that could have saved the game for them.

The referees had to step in with just over eight seconds remaining when New sparked an angry exchange between himself and Jets head coach Lavery over the Jets calling their final time-out so late but the home boss had done nothing wrong and his side held on for a deserved 85-76 victory.

Afterwards Lavery said he was happy to get the right result, but added there were still some kinks to iron out.

“Any win's a good win,” he said. “We'll take anything at the moment. We need to move up that table as quickly as possible.

“There was some good basketball out there at times. At times I thought we were a bit lacklustre we didn't come out with a lot of energy but I think we did enough to get that win so obviously the guys are pleased and I'm pleased.

“The guys that came off the bench did really well for us when people were getting into foul trouble and everybody worked as a team. There's no individuals that are going to win you a game it's a team game and a team effort and I think that was a good performance tonight,”

On new boy Psaltou, Lavery believes he will bring another tall weapon into the Jets' armoury.

“He's a great scorer, he can play defence, he's very athletic so with our rotation at the moment I think he's going to do really well for us and we've just got to get him into the sets, into the team structure and once we do that I think we will be really strong and hopefully we can have a good run and get our play-off spot.

“Dan is a really good player and a really nice guy and it was a tough decision to make but I just felt we needed a little bit extra.

“He plays a little bit below his height so we got Milan in who is 6ft 7ins and hopefully he will give us some extra height and and extra threat outside and inside.”

 

Journalists

David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Reporter
Carmella de Lucia
Reporter
Rachel Flint
Reporter
Contact Us
Full contact details