Cheshire Phoenix head coach Ben Thomas has paid tribute to his team’s powers of recovery after they staged yet another incredible fight back.
The Nix came from 45-36 down at half-time and 64-55 down in the fourth quarter to win their BBL Trophy last-16 tie at home to Glasgow Rocks 79-75 on Sunday.
The thrilling victory came hot on the heels of their BBL Cup semi-final success at London Lions, where they overturned a 13-point first-leg deficit to seal the club’s first appearance in a major final in seven years.
And Thomas said: “It didn’t matter how we got there, the most important thing was just getting to the quarter-finals.
“I was a bit worried that we were going to be complacent given what had happened the previous weekend (the win over London).
“Training was good, we worked hard, and it was another good week, but I just had this feeling.
“We came out and won the first quarter 21-17 and I thought, ‘it’s our day, we’re not going to be complacent’.
“But it couldn’t have been more of a different story in the second quarter. We looked asleep and almost beaten.
“But we had a talk at half-time and we said that if we out-work teams, most teams will be not be able to live with us.
“We had to work hard in defence, work hard on rebounding, and play team basketball offensively – and that’s what we did.
“We started out-working them in the third quarter, winning the rebounding battle, playing a lot more intense defence, and we turned them over a lot more times. They had two turnovers at half-time and finished with 13, whereas we had six turnovers at half-time and finished with 11, so that’s says a lot.”
CJ Gettys (21), Malcolm Riley (18) and Orlan Jackman (13) led the scoring as Cheshire set up a quarter-final showdown at home to Worcester Wolves, who they will also face in the BBL Cup final.
The Wolves booked their place in the BBL Cup showpiece with a 71-65 victory at Sheffield Sharks last night, which ensured they ran out 173-157 winners on aggregate.
The Nix’s victory over the Rocks was the latest in a string of examples this season in which they have battled back from behind to triumph.
And Thomas said: “It is satisfying that we have the ability to do that. I know I’ve got players who never know when to give in.
“As I’ve said on numerous occasions, we’ve got a good team chemistry, and the players are willing to work hard for each other down the stretch.
“That’s a credit to the atmosphere in our team. We don’t want to lose.”
Gettys’ performance against Glasgow ensured he became the first player to be named in the BBL All-Star five for the fifth time this season.
As well as netting 21 points on a sensational 90% shooting from the field, the league’s player of the month for November also produced five rebounds and three assists.
The Nix return to action at Manchester Giants on Friday, December 29 (7.30pm).