After a long two week break, Mansfield Giants Basketball Club’s men returned to action on Saturday with a tough task against high -fliers Hemel Storm.
But, after a much improved performance, the Giants could not finish the job as they went down 93-88.
A slow start from the Giants enabled Hemel to take an early lead, stand-in coach Ian Richards called an early time out for the Giants to regain their composure.
Tough defence and some excellent inside play closed the gap, but it was Hemel who led 25-20 after the first period.
Richards changed the Giants’ line up, and really fired the team up as they came out and played some of their best basketball of the season.
JP Marcellus raced ahead for the slam while Dan Richards knocked down an unbelievable acrobatic circus shot to give the Giants the lead.
Semi Eboigbe and Dan Watts continued to attack inside, causing Hemel’s big men to foul.
Gary Collins knocked down a buzzer-beater three point shot to send the Giants into the half-time break 47-43 up.
The second half started sloppily for both teams, but it was Hemel who eventually started to get into some kind of offensive rhythm first, narrowing the gap.
Dre Spinks seemed unstoppable for the home side as he continually caused the Giants problems.
New signing Doug Smith and Diego Bineto stepped up and played some outstanding post defence, but the home team regained the advantage, going into the final period 64-67 up.
Then the Giants started to get back into their offensive groove and started to score at will.
Jegede started hitting from outside, and another monster dunk from JP tied the game up.
Both teams continued to attack each other, but neither team really stepped up on the defensive end and Hemel Storm came out eventual 93-88 winners.
Head coach Dan Richards said: “This was one of the best team performances we have had this year, and proves we can compete with the top teams.
“We have been working on a number of small aspects of our game which I think the players have definitely improved on.
“If we had done a much better job on the boards I feel we would have certainly won the game, and this is something we will continue to work on.”
Giants’ top scorers: JP Marcellus 25, S. Eboigbe 19, A. Jegede 14.
l This Saturday Giants men’s scheduled home clash with local rivals Killamarsh Arrows has been postponed. This is due to the Arrows geting to the Patrons Cup final.
However, some of the club’s junior sides are in action with the U13 boys playing Notts Nova while Giants’ U14 girls take on Bury.