LAST weekend saw TCS Chester Jets pitted against the two bottom sides in the BBL, not that you would have thought so for much of both games, so close were the contests.
In the end it proved a winning weekend, with the game against Leicester Riders on Friday at the Northgate ending up 97-87 in the home team's favour, while the road trip to Birmingham on Sunday produced a 90-83 Jets win.
The Leicester game itself was dominated by the performance of one player - John McCord. Jets own Captain Marvel led by example.
Jets led by the odd point or two for most of the opening but Riders edged into the lead as the quarter ended to lead by two. The high-light of the quarter was a stunning pass by Billy Singleton that put James Hamilton in for two points, possibly the best pass of the game.
The second quarter began with Riders going on a 9-0 run, to lead by 31-20. This run was ended by a typical John McCord drive into the basket which resulted in a foul, which John converted.
From then on it began to go wrong. Riders teased into a 13-point lead. At this point McCord obviously decided enough was enough. On the next three successive plays he hit his signature midrange jump shot to add six points and then on the next Jets' possession drove into the basket, picked up the foul which he duly converted from the charity stripe.
The half ended with a superb two points from Mike Nurse right on the buzzer - so the half time buzzer saw Jets 42-50 down.
The second half started with a strong Jets tear of 6-2, cutting the deficit to four points. Riders replied with another run which opened up a 11 point lead and fears on the bleachers were now growing.
Then James Hamilton hit one from the foul line and John McCord drove into the D for a superb basket. All of a sudden the adrenaline was beginning to surge. Then BINGO - 60 seconds to savour.
It started raining threes - Ryan Huntley hit a three from downtown, Riders attacked but failed to score. Ryan then hit another three. Then Nurse hit another!
Suddenly Jets lead 62-61 and the worries evaporated.
The 3rd quarter ended with Jets up 74-63. They went on a 24-2 run and won the quarter 32-13 - a staggering turn around. The win was never really in doubt in the fourth quarter with Riders unable to reduce the deficit to less than nine points.
The final score was 97-87. John McCord, with 34 points, led all scorers. Mike Nurse scored 23 while Calvin Davis and James Hamilton both had 14.
TCS Chester Jets' victory at Birmingham Bullets on Sunday moved them into outright second place in the BBL Championship after their 93-80 success.
Jets did not have it all their own way as they trailed by a point at the end of the first quarter and a 9-1 start to the second quarter had the home side 33-24 clear, but Chester scored 25 of the next 31 points to lead 49-39.
An 8-2 burst to begin the second half had their advantage out to 45-57 and they made the game safe at the start of the final quarter with a 13-2 run to lead 80-58.
Calvin Davis led the Jets scorers with 27 points with Michael Nurse contributing 19 and John McCord completed a highly satisfactory weekend's work with 17.