An unbelievable game-winning shot in the dying seconds sentenced Mansfield Giants to a heartbreaking defeat fter a thrilling match at home to title-chasing Sefton Stars in the Men’s Third Division of the National Basketball League.
Giants had given as good as they got and were level at 90-90 with only SIX seconds left on the clock. But even though they had all possible players covered, pushing Sefton as far from the basket as they could, the visitors’ Mike Embaye scomehow scored from two metres outside the three-point line to snatch the match 93-90.
“This was a bad day at the office,” admitted Giants’ coach Ian Richards. “Not just because we lost in such a way -- literally beaten on the buzzer.
“But also because we lost one of our veteran scoring guards, Jojo Owusu-Ansah, who incurred a back injury at the beginning of the second quarter and will be out for at least three to four weeks. Because he is such an influential player, this is going to hurt the team immensely.
“On a more positive note, we played some great team basketball against a much bigger and mature Sefton side, and this was complemented by 19 points from the bench.
“If I had to single someone out, it would be former England point-guard Calvin Morant Hudson, who stepped up to the plate again, scoring 29 points and also having the confidence and creativeness to help our juniors.
“We now have to prepare for another tough away game against Birmingham Mets on Sunday as we fight to secure a play-off position.”
Giants matched their opponents all the way in the first two quarters, both of which ended with Sefton leading by just one point, 24-23 and then 46-45.
In the third quarter, a blistering start saw Giants surge into a 51-46 lead, which became 65-62 by the end. And then as both teams fought tooth and nail to gain the upper hand in the final quarter, the home side managed to cut a 90-85 deficit after coach Richards’s last time-out. A massive three-point shot from junior Dan Burmiston gave them a glimmer of hope and then Morant Hudson fed big man Barry Plummer for a shot that brought the scores level.
Plummer finished with 18 points to his name, while Owusu-Ansah and Keagan Allan posted ten apiece, and Burmiston seven.
IN the Women’s National League, Giants exacted magnificent revenge on fellow strugglers Worcester Wolves by pulling off a stunning 52-37 victory.
They had been beaten 68-55 by Wolves on the opening day of the season, but showed how much they are improving after a display that delighted coach Jo Richards.
“The girls have trained hard all season, and it’s starting to come together now,“ said Richards.
“We have a great team mentality and I’m confident we can build on this in the second half of the season.” Richards herself was Giants’ top scorer with 14 points, supported by Chedell Cruickshank and Charlie Levitt with ten each.