Mansfield Giants look to end on high after missing out on play-offs

MANSFIELD Giants Basketball men aim to finish the season on a high with their final two games this weekend after missing out on the play-offs.

On Saturday they take on Glamorgan Gladiators (6pm) - a team they recently suffered a narrow overtime defeat to.

And on Sunday they bow out against East Side Eagles (2pm), who the Giants beat earlier on in the season. Both games take place at Oak Tree Leisure Centre (discout admission vouchers below, right)

After a fantastic midweek win over neighbours Killamarsh Arrows, Giants could not keep up their good form at the weekend with a narrow 95-90 defeat to the Birmingham Mets and then went on to lose to Team Solent 79-67 on Sunday.

The depleted Giants had a great start against Birmingham, who were missing both Matt Curtis and Doug Smith.

It was looking like the team were going to start where they left off on Wednesday, but the West Midlands outfit soon readjusted with some aggressive defence and got back into the game.

Birmingham started to open up a gap, but with seven minutes left in the game, the Giants really upped their intensity, and clawed their way back into the game.

With just under two minutes remaining, the Giants got the deficit down to just one point.

With the momentum swinging in the Giants’ favour, it was looking like the Giants were going to steal a win, but an unnecessary turnover handed Birmingham an easy basket, as they finished the game with a five point victory.

Top scorers: D. Watts 21, C. Morant-Hudson 20, JP Marcellus 16.

The Giants then made the long trip down to Southampton to take on Team Solent, in a must-win game to stand any chance of a play-off spot.

Again, the Giants had a bright start, but in the third minute of play, star point guard Calvin Morant-Hudson went down with an ankle injury.

As the game went on, Team Solent began to open up a lead and the Giants didnt have any thing more to give as Team Solent recorded a 12-point win and shattered Giants’ play-off dreams.

Top scorers: S. Eboigbe 16, D. Watts 15, A. Jegede 15.

Head coach Dan Richards said: “The guys did a great job this weekend and gave it everything.

“We have had a very difficult schedule recently and with a couple of players out just didn’t have the legs.

“It’s a shame we haven’t made the play-offs because the progress we have made in the last month or so has been fantastic, and feel we could give any team in the league a run for their money right now.

“We have got two games left and I know the players want to finish the season on a high and will give it everything again this weekend.”

l Giants saw off Derbyshire Arrows 95-80 last Wednesday night.

Despite 42 points from American Robert Clyburn III, Giants led by 12 at half-time and recovered from a poor third quarter with a 9-1 run to take control in the fourth.

JP Marcellus had 28 points for Giants and Calvin Morant-Hudson had 21.

Arrows started the game the better, but the quarter ended at 25-apiece.

The Giants continued to hit from long range, and stepped up on the defensive end to go into half-time with a 56-42 lead.

They then led 75-71 into the final quarter when they played their best defence of the season to hold the Arrows to just seven points.

Great team work enabled the Giants to keep piling in the points to take a 95 - 80 win.