BIG Storage Cheshire Jets crashed out of the BBL Trophy at the weekend, but Chez Marks offered the team hope of a BBL Championship revival with a 60-point haul over two games.
Marks has been struggling with injury of late and when he has played has not been able to put up the impressive numbers he opened the season with.
But on Friday he signalled his return with a game-high 31-point haul at Everton Tigers as the Jets lost by just one point in the BBL Trophy. It was enough to guarantee the Tigers top spot in Group Two and a semi-final berth, but Jets made the league leaders work hard for the result.
The Tigers led 89-84 going into the final minute of the game, but a three-pointer from 25-point star Stephen Gayle sparked a 6-0 Jets run to give them the lead 90-89 with less than 20 seconds remaining. The Tigers still had a little left in the tank, however, and Josh Gross bagged the winning basket for the home side as time expired.
Sunday was a dead rubber as Leicester Riders came to the Northgate Arena in the Trophy, with neither team having a chance to progress. But the game was an opportunity for the Jets to build a bit of confidence as they recover from a nightmare mid-season.
The Jets ran out 115-92 victors with Marks again blowing all scorers away with 29 points.
The Jets had only a slender 58-52 advantage at half-time, but they exploded in the third period and the Riders ended up trailing 89-73 going into the final quarter. The Riders came back and trimmed the deficit to 89-86 before Paul Smith called a time-out to regroup. When play restarted the Jets netted the next 19 points and eased to victory.