A late fightback by Mansfield Giants came too late as they lost 89-81 at home to Liverpool Basketball in EBL Division Three action at the weekend.
Liverpool were promoted, having won Division Four and the play-offs last season, so a tough game was expected.
From the start, Liverpool struggled to contain Giants’ D.J. Spain as he scored four three-pointers in this quarter alone, with new signing Parish Xavier scoring his first points with another three-pointer.
But it was Liverpool who played unselfish team basketball to take a first quarter 27-22 lead.
Liverpool started where they left off in the second quarter, moving the ball well to find an open player, as Giants struggled defensively.
Calvin Morant-Hudson was again on form for Mansfield, controlling the ball well offensively and defending strongly. However Liverpool led 56-41 at half-time.
Tough words from coach Richards woke up the sleeping Giants as their energy at both ends of the court increased.
Giants played great team basketball, with Gary Collins found open to score a three-pointer and Spain continued to rebound and score put-backs.
Defensively the team came together to produce defensive stops as Giants out-scored their opponents 23-14, but it was Liverpool still in the lead by six points at the end of the third quarter at 70-64.
The final quarter started with Liverpool opening up the scoring. But Giants’ Mirant-Hudson was found up to score lay-ups with inside and outside jump shots, with Oliver Chenery and Xavier scoring jumps shots themselves, as Giants continued to fight to the end, the deficit proving just too much.
Scorers: Spain 31, Morant-Hudson 25, Plummer 8, Xavier 7, Collins 6, Chenery 4, Brown, MacDonald, Halstead.
Giants juniors were in action at the weekend with the U14 team losing to Team Birmingham 72-53 while the U16s lost 81-54 to Newcastle Eagles.
All of Giants teams are in action this weekend with the men playing on Sunday at Derby Trailblazers II, whilst the women begin their league season at City of Sheffield Hatter II. The U13s play Northampton Thunder, U14s face City of Birmingham and U16s playing Derbyshire Arrows all are away games.