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Mansfield Giants men hang on to sink the Saints

NEW signings for Mansfield Giants.
NEW signings for Mansfield Giants.

Mansfield Giants Basketball Club men hung on at the death to record a 74-71 away win at Sheffield Saints on Saturday.

With the home side 3 and 2 in the league, they were holding a better a better position than the visitors with their 2 and 3 record.

The game started with three of the Mansfield starting line-up held up en route, so the visitors went on court with three juniors - Liam Burton, Dan Burmiston, Nathan Halstead and Keagan Allen - in support of Barry Plummer, Joe MacDonald and captain Gary Collins.

After winning the tip, the Giants went into a blistering 9-2 lead, forcing home team player/coach Garnet Gayle to take an early time-out to stem the Giants’ scoring.

This settled the Saints as they managed to claw back the deficit and go one up at the end of the first quarter to lead 14-13.

With the success of the junior line up in the first quarter, coach Ian Richards continued in the same vain by sending the young players back out to wear down their opponents.

In the fourth minute of the second quarter Gayle picked up a technical foul for threatening behaviour and Giants’ seniors entered the game to stretch the scoreline to 32-29 in their favour at halfway.

The third quarter was pretty equal on points scored with Giants 57-53 up.

With both teams trying to gain the advantage Giants stepped up their defensive efforts and stole the ball to go on the attack, putting the opposition in foul trouble and seeing the Saints’ court general Gayle fouled out in the fourth minute of the quarter.

By the seventh minute Mansfield were five points up and the home were resorting to fouling at every opportunity to stop the Giants, offering easy points by sending the visitors to the foul line.

The fight went down to the wire as time-outs were taken by both teams to try to take the advantage, Giants finally coming out the winners.

Coach Ian Richards said: “We started badly with players missing. However, the juniors must take great credit for their first quarter performance.

“We even held the opposition to our target of 14 points in 10 minutes. The rest of the game was a tough scrap as we fought to control a well-organised outfit.

“We are still not playing to our best, but with four players in double figures we have good firepower in the team.

“However, we could have done with our foul shots. This would have made life easier at the end of regulation time as we hit only 11 from 28.

“I also saw how effective our new signing Romeo Sithole could be as he settles in.

“We are now 3 and 3 level on six points with four other teams mid-table in the league.”

Giants scorer: Barry Plummer 18, Romeo Sithole 15, Jo Jo Owusu-Ansah & Keagan Allen 12 each, Calvin Morant-Hudson 8, Liam Burton 4, Gary Collins 3, Dan Burmiston 2.

Giants’ men are back in action this Saturday against Newcastle Under Lyme Knights.

The games were split at one apiece last season and it is expected to be a fast physical game.

Tip off is 2.15pm at the Oak Tree Leisure Centre.

Admission is just £3 for adults, and £1.50 for U16s.

After two consecutive defeats Mansfield Giants U14s got back on track with a convincing 76-50 win over neighbours Derby Trailblazers.

An understrength U16 team showed great spirit but were pipped 82-75 by Northamptonshire Titans, while the U18s took a 98-53 win over rivals Notts Nova.