Login Register

WATCH: Taylor King on Cheshire Phoenix BBL Play-Off quarter final win over Glasgow Rocks

Phoenix to face London Lions in the BBL Play-Off semi-final for a place in the final at the O2 Arena

Cheshire Phoenix moved to within two games of a BBL Play-Off final at the O2 Arena after they edged past Glasgow Rocks in the quarter final.

The Nix lost 86-87 to the Rocks at the Northgate Arena last night but progressed thanks to their stunning 91-78 success in the away leg at the Emirates Arena on Friday night, a victory that helped head coach John Coffino's men to a 12-point aggregate win over the Scottish side.

Victory for the Phoenix sets up a double header with the red-hot London Lions in the semi final after they ruthlessly disposed of reigning Play-Off champions Worcester Wolves, claiming a 106-67 win at the Copper Box on Sunday night, where Zaire Taylor poured in a mammoth 41 points, to build on their first-leg, 80-75 win at the Wolves on Friday night.

Cheshire, who move to their new arena at Cheshire Oaks at the start of next season, travel to London on Friday (7.30pm) for the first leg before ending 21-years at the Northgate Arena on Sunday (5.30pm), for a game which could see them reach the grandest stage in BBL history on May 10.

On Friday in Glasgow, a fourth-quarter power show from the Nix saw them emerge from the first leg of the tie with a healthy 13-point advantage as Demond Watt, the standout MVP candidate in the BBL this season, hit 28 points and grabbed 11 boards as Coffino's side battled their way to a crucial success.

Dustin Salisbery drained 20 points in the win while veteran club skipper David Aliu aided the offensive effort with 19 points to go with his nine rebounds.

The Nix outpaced Glasgow in all but one of the quarters, starting the contest with purpose and doing a good job in the paint as well as shutting down the talent in the Rocks line up that included former Cheshire guard Reggie Middleton and Great Britain international Kieron Achara.

The scores were tied at 62-62 going into the final quarter in Scotland but Cheshire, as they have done so many times this season, proved their credentials when the chips were down late in the game and opened up the Rocks defence.

They opened up the fourth with seven unanswered points and kept Glasgow at arms length before stretching their lead to as big as 15 with 2.28 left to play thanks to some big plays from Salisbery, Watt and Martyn Gayle.

Cheshire held firm to stymie any attempts at a Rocks revival in the dying embers to take what proved to be a decisive lead back to the Northgate.

Sunday's clash in Chester saw the Rocks throw all but the kitchen sink at Cheshire, with their interior defence proving hugely effective as they limited Watt to just seven points in the paint, with Achara proving a dominant force and coming up with six huge rejections to counter one of Cheshire's greatest offensive weapons.

But the Nix have a number of big guns in their arsenal, and none can be more devastating on their day than Taylor King who finished the contest with a game-high 26 points, completing a double-double with 12 rebounds.

Former Duke prospect King, a one-time All-American who was the number one player in the US coming out of high school, was back to his superb best after shaking off a disappointing game in Glasgow, where he finished with seven points and failed to register a point in the opening half.

But King, who overcame early foul trouble, led from the front and tormented the Rocks, hitting a big three late in the fourth to peg back a Glasgow side that were making ground on the home side.

Glasgow made the Phoenix, who had Salisbery foul out with a little over six minutes left to play, work for their spot in the semi-finals and came close to overturning the deficit late in the game as they led by eight points on the night with 2.28 left in the contest, leaving home fans nerves jangling.

The Rocks, who had Middleton and Tommy Freeman foul out late on, made the Nix earn it from the free-throw line in the final minute but the home side kept their cool from the charity stripe to trim back the Rocks lead and take a one-point advantage with five seconds left until Danny Huffor hit a long two to bring Sterling Davis' Rocks side a win on the night, but it was too, little too late and Cheshire progress to the final four.

Cheshire scorers (Sunday): King (26pts), Aliu (15pts), Gayle (14pts), Naydenov (9pts), Salisbery (8pts), Watt (7pts), Sturt (7pts)


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details