Ben Thomas has reflected on a weekend of high and lows for Cheshire Phoenix .
The Nix produced a stunning victory at the Newcastle Eagles on Friday night to end the holders’ three-year stranglehold on the BBL Cup.
But Thomas’s team came crashing back down to earth on Sunday when they lost their BBL Championship derby at home to previously winless Manchester Giants.
Cheshire coach Thomas said: “It was the highest of highs and then the lowest of lows. Friday was a very big high. Newcastle haven’t lost all season and haven’t lost in that competition for four years.
“But we played team basketball, and put ourselves in a position where we could challenge them and take it to them, and that’s what we did. We ground it out, we never said die, and we scored the last 13 points of the game, including the crucial last two on the buzzer.
“It was a fantastic win and it means we’re through to the semi-final of the cup, which is an achievement in itself. We’ve now got a double-leg semi-final with the chance to play in one of the biggest arenas [Birmingham] in the country and a chance to fight for silverware.
“Were we complacent on Sunday? I’m not sure, but we weren’t up for it as Manchester were.
“They desperately needed that win, got off to a strong start, and we struggled to get back into the game.
“We let the fans down and I have to say a massive ‘thanks’ to the support. The crowd was as good as it has been in the arena. They really got behind the guys and we let them down as well as ourselves. It is hard, mentally and physically, playing two games over the same weekend, but that’s the job, and we’ve got to get used to it as double-headers are coming thick and fast.
“But it was only our second double-header of the season and we will learn from it and we will get better.”
The Nix have been drawn against London Lions in the two-legged semi-finals of the BBL Cup. The first leg will take place at Cheshire Oaks Arena on December 3 (5.30pm) with the return leg at the Copper Box a week later on December 10.
Worcester Wolves will face Sheffield Sharks in the other last-four clash.
First up for Cheshire is a BBL Championship double-header.
They travel to Leeds Force on Friday (7.30pm) before welcoming table-topping Newcastle to the Cheshire Oaks Arena at the Ellesmere Sports Village on Sunday (5.30pm).
Thomas said: “Leeds beat Manchester last Friday so they’ll be looking at our result on Sunday thinking, ‘we can get the win’, but we’ve just got to handle our business. Newcastle will want to get one back on us so we’ve just got to be ready and hopefully we’ll come out of the weekend with positive results.”
CJ Gettys, meanwhile, has been named in the BBL All-Star Five for week 16 after he scored 22 points and 18 rebounds, including a phenomenal 11 offensive boards, in the BBL Cup win over Newcastle Eagles.
The Nix have been drawn at home to Glasgow Rocks in the first round of the BBL Trophy.