Giants 66 v @Le Mont Saint 63
Giants made their mark on opening night following their step up into @Vistra Division 1. In a back and forth contest, the inside presence of Giants kept them in the game with Sam Simon and Nico Robinson causing issues for the LMS interior defence. Kaine Hyde was also enjoying success from outside with some early threes to keep the scoreboard moving. LMS slowly found their feet and with Matt Sawbridge orchestrating, the inside / outside game of Mike Beausire and Andy Stephens pushed LMS into the lead by the end of the half 33-37. LMS continued to press in the third quarter with Pete Beausire getting on the end of some transition breaks but as LMS rotated, Giants big men took advantage to go on a 10-2 run to end the quarter to trail by just 2 heading into the fourth. Both side continued to trade baskets and the lead changed or was tied on 7 occasions during the last ten minutes. LMS missed chances from the free throw line to extend their lead and ultimately paid the price as Robinson and Simon combined for 12 points in the quarter to give Giants the lead in the final minute. LMS had a chance to win it at the buzzer but Stephens shot was off, handing Giants their first top flight win.
Giants: Robinson (16), Hyde (16), Simon (14)
Le Mont Saint: M Beausire (15), Stephens (12), P Beausire (14)
MVP – Nico Robinson (Giants)
Skipton 91 v Mayside 68
Defending champions @Skipton got their league campaign off to a flyer with a convincing win over Mayside. Despite a fairly even and high scoring opening quarter, Mayside were undone by the outstanding shooting of Island Stars, @Treeline’s Jason Hooper and @Skipton’s Max Hamon who combined for 13 threes and 54 points. In addition, the welcome return of @xthefinishlines Martin Yabsley gave them a three pronged attack that Mayside couldn’t live with, Yabsley dominating inside and showing a light shooting touch from outside. Mayside rang the changes in the second half giving debuts to Jack Turton, Lucas Ozanne and Markuss Embutnieks and together with U21 guard George Thomas, they showed the potential for development in the young Mayside squad, however the experience and shooting prowess of Skipton were too much on this occasion. Skipton ran out comfortable winners 91-68 by the final buzzer and look odds on for back to back titles, even at this early stage.
Skipton: Hooper (28) @Skipton Hamon (26) @xthefinishline Yabsley (21)
Mayside: Dulbinskis (22)
MVP – Jason Hooper (Skipton)
Le Mont Saint Storm 56 v @Praxis Pumas 65
The Women’s league opened with two teams harbouring title ambitions. League runners up and KO winners LMS faced off against the re-branded @Praxis Pumas and it was the Pumas who made the most of their opportunities to take the win.
In a cagey opening, both teams were guilty of missed shots and turnovers but it was Praxis who settled first closing the quarter with a 13-0 run to lead 6-20 heading into the second, Gemma Batiste, Tia Barnett and Josie Chandler leading the way. The lead grew to 19 early in the second quarter before Emma Webb lead a mini comeback with 9 points in the final 3 minutes of the half to close the gap to 10. Into the third and LMS continued to close the gap with Pumas going through a lean spell. Had it not been some average free throw shooting by LMS, the gap would have closed considerably more but heading into the final stanza, Pumas held a 42-48 advantage. It was a similar story in the fourth as LMS had multiple opportunities from the line, but without closing the gap, they could not exert pressure on the Pumas who benefitted from some easy fast break points and ran out winners 56-65.
Praxis Pumas: Gemma Batiste (25). Tia Barnett (18), Josie Chandler (14)
Le Mont Saint Storm: Emma Webb (17)
MVP – Gemma Batiste (Praxis Pumas)