Cheshire Phoenix fired an almight warning shot ahead of this weekend's BBL Play-Off first round with Newcastle Eagles by putting on a superb display to down the north east side 105-84 at the Cheshire Oaks Arena.
Kinu Rochford posted a monster double-double of 40 points and 14 rebounds, a feat that ensured his display was the highest scoring individual performance of the BBL season, beating team-mate Danny Huffor's 38 points he posted in Cheshire's 99-92 win at Worcester Wolves on Friday.
Huffor himself hit 29 against the Eagles while Quincy Taylor and Akeem Ellis accounted for 15 and 14 respectively.
The Nix had hopes of taking sixth spot and avoiding the Eagles in the first round of the play-offs but London Lions claimed wins over Bristol Flyers and an under-strength Leicester Riders to pip the Nix to sixth by virtue of them having the head-to-head over head coach John Lavery's men.
Newcastle arrived having lost out to the Riders in securing the BBL title and missing the key duo of Scott Martin and Andy Thomson, but they played their strongest available side and were no match for a Cheshire side who have hit a red-hot streak of form at just the right time.
"At the beginning of the week everything was focused on getting the two wins," said Coach Lavery.
"We knew it was going to be a tough one (against Newcastle) but the focus was getting the win and having the momentum going into the play-offs.
"We are playing some really good basketball on the floor, we are making that extra pass and getting guys wide open and shooting the basketball really well. It's all good but next weekend is the business end of the season for all eight teams in the play-offs. The weak will go home and the strong will survive."
Against the Eagles Cheshire shot above 50% from the field and made a total of 13 three-pointers during the contest, with Huffor making seven of his 12 attempts.
The home side were behind early on, but took control with a dominant 15-0 spell as they went on to lead 32-16 after the opening 10 minutes. The Eagles closed within nine in the second, but another strong run from Cheshire saw the lead balloon to 19 points just before the half.
It was more of the same when play resumed in the third for the hosts and an 11-2 run extended the lead beyond 20 points. Cheshire were in complete control and their lead peaked at 31 points in the final quarter before Newcastle finished with the final 10 points of the game.
The Nix travel to Newcastle for the first leg of the play-offs on Friday (7.30pm) before hosting the Eagles on Sunday (5.30pm) as they look to stop Fab Flournoy's side from defending their title as play-off champions.
In the other play-off first round games, league champions Leicester Riders play Leeds Force, Sheffield Sharks face London Lions and Worcester Wolves match up with Glasgow Rocks.