Mansfield Giants produced one win from two games last weekend with a convincing 94-64 victory over local rivals Sheffield Arrows before a 98-80 defeat the following day to high flyers Teeside Mohawks.
Giants started the game well, but the home side were not about to just roll over and die and put up a resilient fight, winning the first quarter 16-14.
The Giants came out and upped their intensity, pressing the Sheffield guards who struggled to cope with the pressure.
Calvin Morant-Hudson started his assault on the South Yorkshire outfit, scoring 17 of his 42 points in the quarter.
The Giants opened up a 12-point gap to lead 43-31 at the half and were starting to play with some rhythm. Mike Isembert came into the game to make a great steal resulting in a back court violation to Sheffield.
New signing James Hanson made an instant impact in the game, weaving into the gaps of the Sheffield Zone to score some easy buckets. The quarter ended 70-45 to the Giants.
The fourth quarter started a bit slow, and the Arrows found some intensity of their own for the first two minutes, but a Giants time-out stopped the hosts from causing any major comeback and Ayodeji Jegede nailed two three throws to seal a good away win.
Top scorers: Morant-Hudson 42, Richards 18, Jegede 14.
Sunday’s game against Teeside was always going to be tough as they had two of the league’s best players, but the Giants were going into the game full of confidence after the previous day’s blow-out.
The Giants started the game strongly, going into an early lead, but struggled to match Teeside on the boards, giving them second chances leading to put-backs to give the home side a 19-8 lead.
The Giants began to execute offensively and started running which caused the Mohawks some problems, but the home side’s outside shooting kept a nice lead and the half ended 42-29.
However, Mansfield never give up and clawed the game back to just two points.
Giants’ leading scorer Dan Watts made a comeback from his ankle injury, playing limited minutes, which definitely helped, and Dan Richards started scoring at will to end the quarter 65-63 to the good.
The Mohawks quickly opened up a 12-point lead, with the league’s leading scorer Ralph Bucci proving to be the difference between the two teams. He controlled the game and closed out an 18-point win for his side.
Top scorers Richards 24, Mornat-Hudson 17, Jegede 12.
Head coach Dan Richards said: “I’m really pleased with the win on Saturday. Calvin was excellent, but I know he is capable of doing that on any given night.
“I was more happy with some of the other things we have been working on that go unnoticed. Jordache and Sean are doing an excellent job as well, especially on the defensive end.
“I was pretty pleased with how we played against Teeside as well and again the things we had been working on showed for the first time this weekend.
“We have still got a long way to go but I think we must get better at our defensive rotations and trust each other a bit more on offence, then we will be really tough to beat.
“It was nice to see Dan (Watts) back on the floor and he will play much bigger part in this week’s game against Hemel.”
l The Giants are back in action this Saturday. A full day of matches begins with the U13s playing two matches against Derby Trailblazers and Leicester Dynamite.
The Women square up to Sefton Starlights, who proved tough opposition earlier in the season.
Giants shaded a one point win in the earlier match up after Sefton had led for most of the game so this promises to be action packed.
The men take on Hemel Storm who are currently four places above them in the League.
Giants will be hoping to have a fully fit team, after a speight of injuries has seen the side running with a depleted squad.
l Giants have signed 21-year-old, 6ft 6ins power forward James Hanson from Division Four team Shropshire and is a versatile big man with a great attitude. He works tirelessly on the boards and should give the team some extra scoring power in the post.
But forward Semi Eboigbe has parted company with the club at his own request after a short spell with the Giants.
Full Schedule: 2.30pm - U13s v Derby Trailblazers; 3pm - U13s v Leicester Dynamite; 4.30pm - Women v Sefton Starlights; 6.30pm - Men v Hemel Storm.
l All games will take place at Oak Tree Leisure Centre and Chad readers can gain discounted admission - adults £3, U16s £1.50 (price includes entry into both games) by buying this week’s Chad and cutting out and taking the preview article to the game.