Quick play-offs exit for Mansfield Giants’ women as men’s team end season with defeat

Mansfield Giants v EastSide  Eagles
Mansfield Giants v EastSide Eagles
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THE basketball season ended in disappointment for Mansfield Giants as the women lost 72-30 in their play-off quarter-final at Newham NASSA.

And the men, with nothing to play for but pride, had a mixed double home weekend, beating third place Glamorgan Gladiators 111-105 but then losing on the Sunday 91-97 against Eastside Eagles.

The women travelled one to play one of the first games in the new UEL basketball centre in London with the game showcasing on the venue’s official launch day.

UEL will be the host of the Team USA Olympic Team during the Olympics.

Influential starter and inside player Charlotte Levitt was missing from the fixture, which Giants suffered from heavily, missing her presence at both ends of the court.

Mansfield got off to a slow start and had to get used to the up-tempo NASSA team.

Giants then began to control the ball and break NASSA press break easy, but turned the ball over which was down to Giants own passing capabilities.

Joanne Richards dominated for Giants, scoring easy lay-ups inside, as NASSA led 19-6.

Giants’ team performance was better in the second quarter. Alison Bridge scored a long jump shot as Jess Shillito scored offensive put-backs as Giants got them self back in the game at 25-14, though youngster Kirsty Russell took a blow to the face and saw her sit out of the remainder of the game.

It was a tough start to the second half of the game, where Giants couldn’t buy a basket to drop, with NASSA turning the defensive rebounds into points at the offensive end and pull away to lead 32-16.

Giants called a time-out, with the view to go out even stronger to ensure fouls were to be called at the offensive end.

But still no calls were made as Giants began to suffer gaining fouls themselves, being battered at one end and having to run back to the defensive end.

Player/coach Gail Richards gained a nose/mouth injury towards the end of the third quarter, which also saw the lead at the end of the third quarter stretch to 45-21.

Giants continued to fight and J. Richards scored baskets inside, with further attempts missed due to being fouled, which led to a coach technical for Giants’ Gail Richards.

During the last few minutes of the games, calls began to go for Giants, but the deficit was too much and NASSA progresed to the semi-final stages of the play-offs against Solent Suns.

Giants’ men recorded a big win over third-paced Glamorgan Gladiators, 111-104.

In an old-fashioned shoot-out, Giants couldn’t do much about Division Two scoring champion Greg Hernandez pouring in 46 points, so they simply outran Glamorgan, averaging just under 28 points per quarter.

Player-coach Dan Richards top-scored for Mansfield with 24 followed closely by Dan Watts’ 23. Rhys Williams trailed Hernandez with 18 points for the Gladiators.

But Giants couldn’t make it two for two to see out their season after losing 97-91 to Eastside Eagles. Backed by Craig Pringle’s game-high 38 points, Eagles dismantled Giants with a 30-15 fourth quarter.

Although the win put Eastside level with London Westside on 9-11 records, the latter club will finish seventh due to owning the head-to-head. JP Marcellus and Dan Watts had 21 apiece for Mansfield.

Head coach Dan Richards said: “This has been a strange season.

“We had high hopes but just haven’t been able to get it together until the end of the season due to players joining us late, injuries, and work commitments.

“It’s a shame, but we have all got to learn from our situation and continue to build over the summer. I’m pretty sure if we all stick together we can do some damage next year.”

Highlight of the weekend for Giants was the U12 minis team coming runners-up in their league and receiving the league runners-up cup and medals.

The team came runners-up due to the head to head rule against first place team.

Nevertheless, his was a great achievement for the team, in which also saw them win their final game of the season 87-6.

The U14 girls lost their last game against Barrow Thorns 104-21.

It was the final weekend of the basketball season for all of Giants age groups, but the off-season is to begin.

Giants are now recruiting players across all age groups for the 2012-2013 season.

For all girls wanting to try basketball for a limited time only, why not attend the girls session at Samworth Church Academy on Thursday evening 6-8pm, or the U12 development session on a Saturday at Oak Tree 11-noon, where the first four sessions are free?

This offer starts tomorrow night.

The first session for anyone aged between 6-18 years of age across all age groups is free for any junior Giants player.

For further information on training nights visit www.mansfieldgiants.co.uk.

Giants will be running various camps over the Easter holidays open to new and existing basketball players.

This Saturday at Oak Tree the Easter Eggstravaganza camp is on from 11-4pm, cost £8 all day, players can turn up on the day or book in advance.

The Easter Camp at Samworth Church Academy will run from Tuesday 10th April to Friday 13th April 10-3pm, cost is £8 per day or £25 for the week.

Giants’ awards night take place on Saturday 28th April at Mansfield Town Football club, evening (7pm).

Adult tickets are £6 with pie and peas and children’s tickets are £5 with a chip cob.

For further information on the awards night or on the camps e-mail mansfieldgiants@yahoo.co.uk or telephone 01623 650770.