Baskets abounded when Mansfield Giants entertained unbeaten high-fliers Doncaster Danum Eagles in a high-scoring National Basketball League, Third Division match that thrilled the fans at the Oak Tree Leisure Centre.
Unfortunately, Giants were on the receiving end of a 122-102 scoreline that underlined their need for better defence.
Coach Ian Richards admitted: “We are not going to win anything by letting our opponents score as many as 122 points. We seem to start far too slowly, giving ourselves the biggest hole to climb out of.
“On a more positive note, we scored 102 points. But even on offence, we need to get more players involved to create more opportunities. This will make us far harder to defend against and less predictable.
“We are also missing a number of key players at the moment through injury and family commitments, which is hurting us immensely. Their return to the team will fill some gaps that we are trying very hard to cover.”
Such was Giants’ laboured start that, by the end of the first quarter, they already trailed 35-27 and by the halfway stage, they were 70-48 down.
The game looked as if it would be a total blow-out, so Giants deserve some credit for recovering bravely in the third quarter, restricting Eagles to 26 points while scoring 23 of their own.
The home side continued to claw back the deficit in the final quarter, which they managed to win 31-26, battling for every loose ball.
The points’ scorers for Giants were Mike Buffalow with 38, Calvin Morant-Hudson 24, Barry Plummer 15 and Gary Collins eight, with juniors Keagan Allen (eight), Liam Burton (seven) and Dan Burmiston (two) also on the scoresheet.
MEANWHILE there was better news for Giants as their women’s team celebrated their first victory of the season to reach the quarter-finals of the Women’s National Cup, alongside the elite teams in the country.
They inflicted a 53-49 defeat on North Division rivals Team Birmingham, defying soaring temperatures on their opponents’ court, where the tie was played.
Said coach Jo Richards: “This was a really tough game to play in, with unbearable heat. The girls played well and never gave up.” Richards herself led the point-scoring with 17, while influential guard Steph Jones bagged ten and Rachel Campbell nine.
Giants edged into leads of 15-14 and 26-25 at the end of the first two quarters, but had to fight back after going into the final quarter 42-36 down.