BBL Championship: Mersey Tigers 72 Cheshire Jets 83

THE streak is over!

THE streak is over!

The Cheshire Jets ended their seven game losing run with an 11-point victory over Mersey Tigers at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park.

It is a grandly named home venue, but it was the Jets who brought the culture with a superb second-half performance that put to bed their problems holding on to leads late in the game and also their two-year quest to nullify the Tigers' offensive press.

Admittedly the Tigers were missing their talisman David Aliu but they fielded the best side they could without the big man and they came up short.

The Jets executed well early on, making their shots count and pulling a 10-4 lead in the first quarter.

Tony Garbelotto's side – featuring Helsby's own Devan Bailey - are tenacious however and clung to the Jets' tailcoats, reeling them in with strong hustle in the middle of the period.

By the end of the first they were level thanks to a Colin O'Reilly shot on the buzzer but the Tigers continued to push in the second, leaving the Jets to play catch-up.

But despite their recent battles with injury John Lavery's side stepped up their work rate and got their just rewards as, despite giving away a huge 17 first-half turnovers, the Jets began to stretch out their lead once more.

Keith Page changed things up adding energy to the court and nailing a three-pointer and a fast-break deuce and despite the Jets not receiving a number of obvious foul calls they showed grit and determination to go into half-time 38-35 up.

In the third the Jets came out with ball security high on the agenda and the Tigers found it much more difficult to intercept the pass.

Page's introduction at key points disrupted the Tigers offence and sparked a number of important fast-break possessions and Bill Cole and Matt Schneck were working tirelessly on the boards in defence to grab rebounds and prevent second chance scores for the home side.

Lavery's men had hustle on their side. Having finally unlocked the press offence that has plagued them for two seasons against the Tigers, they kept their work rate up and allowed nothing to distract them from the task at hand, pulling away at the end to score an 83-72 victory, with double doubles for Schneck – who hit 17 points and 11 rebounds – and Bill Cole who bagged 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Page made 16 points in just 24 minutes on-court but Adam Brown underpinned the scoreline with a game-high 23.

Afterwards Jets head coach Lavery said: “Obviously the guys came out and did a really good job both offensively and defensively but still I think there's a lot to come from this team.

“The potential is vast. First half we didn't really gel, second half we came together a bit more, winning the game by 11 points but I do think there is a lot to come from this team.”

And he praised his players for adjusting on the fly after some allowing the Tigers in with some sloppy first-half play.

“At half time we had 17 turnovers, which is absolutely unbelievable but we addressed it in the second half and we ended up with only two turnovers in the whole second half which was great.”

There was also high praise for Keith Page, who the Tigers struggled to contain from the bench all night.

“Keith gives us a lot of energy, a lot of hustle. He's a hard-nosed Manchester kid who won't back down to anybody. Nathan (Schall) is exactly the same and the two of them came off the bench and did a really good job for me,

“You go in that locker room now and everybody is on a high but we put it into context, It's one win. We can't celebrate on one win, get on our high horse, We'll have a couple of days off, well get back on the practise floor and we'll get ready for Milton Keynes on Sunday.”

 

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