THE form side in the BBL Play-offs, Plymouth Raiders, are out after Paul Smith's Cheshire Jets delved back into their defensive armory to take the second leg of the quarter-final away from Gavin Love's visitors.
Captain Colin O'Reilly banished concerns about his fitness to bag nine of his 18 points in the opening quarter and spark the Jets in front of a packed and rowdy Northgate Arena to take an early lead.
"It was good for Colin," said Jets head coach Paul Smith. "He's not been able to practice too much but he keeps himself in great shape. Colin mentally is pretty tough and he wouldn't let things like this affect him.
"The sluggishness of recent weeks was replaced by fire and aggression as the Jets focused their efforts on a semi-final against either Mersey Tigers or Newcastle Eagles.
There were still mistakes - stray passes, missed opportunities to turn the game into a more comfortable victory - but the Jets got the job done and in doing so proved they can still defend tough.
Matt Schneck continued his impressive recent form with his fifth double-double in six games, scoring 13 points and 16 rebounds, 11 of which were defensive while Quemont Greer, whose tireless work rate was matched by an uncharacteristically demonstrative performance on -court, put up a game-high 22 including a rare three-pointer from the channel.
But it was from defence that the Jets built their lead, beating the Raiders by 10 rebounds in total and using their 38 defensive rebounds to spark a flurry of fast break attacks which usually ended in scores for Jeremy Bell, O'Reilly or Gareth Murray.
Afterwards Smith praised his side's performance: "That was much better than recent games.
"We could have come into tonight with a pretty good lead actually as the performance yesterday was pretty good as well but we got blown out of it by some diabolical refereeing.
"But apart from that we brought the game back here and played defence for a lot longer than we have done lately and that got us what we needed in the end.
"Fast breaks spring from good defence. You have to get a stop, turnover whatever it is and then we're off and running. They shoot 53% normally, tonight we kept them to 36%, those extra stops and pushing the ball, that's the strategy really and we did it for the most part tonight.
"The guys played really hard and I think we're quite close to becoming really good again, the thing we're missing is consistency. There was a few stages of the game where I got quite frustrated, we could have gone in at the half with a big lead and we let them come back at us in the fourth as well. We just have to stick to the gameplan and play every play like it's the most important play of the season.
"It is a boost to get to the semis. I think 2005 was the last time we got this far in the play-offs and we lost in the final that year. It's been a while since we got past the first round so I think we'll enjoy it for a day or so and get ready for whoever we get in the semis.
"With Glasgow Rocks leading Sheffield Sharks by 15 and their second leg tomorrow Smith will have to wait to find out who the Jets will face next weekend.
If the Rocks win, the Jets will play Newcastle Eagles but if the Sharks overturn the deficit, it will be Mersey Tigers who will await the Jets next weekend.
"We don't know until Monday night who we're going to play but that's alright as we'll take Monday off," said Smith.
"I might prep on Monday but I can watch the tape of this game and see where we're going right and where we're going wrong defensively. Or first practice is Tuesday night so I'll have all of Tuesday to do some specific stuff.
"It's going to be a busy couple of days for me but the guys work very very hard on the floor so the least I can do for them is to do some preparation!"