Mansfield Giants Basketball Club men recorded their second win of the season with a hard fought 88-75 victory over Tees Valley Mohawks on Saturday.
The Giants have now moved up to seventh in the BE Division Three North as they start to gain momentum for the 2014-15 campaign.
Giants’ Ladies also won 54-49 away at an unbeaten Northants Lightning on Sunday to secure a quarter-final tie with Oxford in the Women’s National Trophy.
On the men’s win, head coach Dan Richards said: “The guys did an outstanding job in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
“This is probably the strongest we have been since pre-season, but we still have a way to go.
“Our chemistry is coming along nicely, but our defensive rotations still need to improve and we simply need to bring the defensive effort we saw in the final quarter all game, every game.
“We have got a massive weekend coming up against two very good teams, but my main concern is us just getting better every day.”
Tees Valley had the better of starts with some easy baskets as the sleeping Giants lacked any real defensive intensity.
After a time-out, Mansfield worked themselves back into the game, but still trailed 22-16 after the first period.
The Giants’ offence started to click with some excellent ball movement, but they still struggled to contain the visitors defensively as Tees Valley went into the half-time break with a three point lead.
A better start from the Giants saw them immediately take the lead. Both teams went back and forth at each other, with neither team really gaining control of the game as Tees Valley went into the final period with a two point lead.
But a change in defensive tactics seemed to do the trick, as Mansfield dominated the fourth quarter. A massive block from big man Barry Plummer sparked the Giants as Calvin Morant-Hudson hit three huge three point shots, and Mike Buffalo attacked the basket well as the Giants raced ahead. Outstanding defence from both Parish Xavier and Lance Cresswell ensured the visitors had no chance to work themselves back into the game.
Giants’ top scorers: C. Morant-Hudson 30, M. Buffalo 22, P. Xavier 9.
Still understrength with a couple of injuries, Giants’ women were looking to make their mark on a Northants side currently top of Women’s League North with three wins under their belt.
The game started with Giants winning the tip, sending Sarah Taylor off on a fast break to put the first points on the board.
This was closely followed by a foul on the Giants player Krista Van Alten as she drove to the basket putting her on the foul line.
After five minutes the game was level at five-a-piece which saw Giants call a time-out after which the team came out to take total control of the quarter with points coming both from dominating inside and the speed of Katy and Sarah Taylor, which forcing Lightening to buckle under pressure, finishing the quarter 18-8.
The second quarter was much more even as the Lightning began to regain composure, both teams trading baskets.
It was in the third quarter that Lightning came out fighting, knocking down outside shots as Ogden hit 10 of her 14 points total in this quarter alone, causing the Mansfield side big problems.
This was the most productive part of the game for both teams with a 20-17 points tally and a Giants lead of 46-40 going into the final quarter.
Giants came out strong to lead 52-40 with five minutes left on the clock.
But a time-out by Northants saw them come out to nine unanswered points going into the final minute of the game.
With Mansfield now on the back foot, the team regrouped and set up a play to establish command.
The experienced Giants side then spread the floor to run out the clock and to give Sarah Taylor the last look at the basket.
Top scorers: S. Taylor 12, K. Van Alten 12, C. Gaynor 9.
The Giants men travel away to take on the City of Sheffield Saints on Saturday, then local rivals Nottingham Hoods make the short trip to Oak Tree Leisure Centre this Sunday for a 2pm tip-off. The Hoods are flying high this season and Richards urges the people of Mansfield to come and support the team.
He said; “This is sure to be a great game. The Hoods are a quality team and got off to a great start this season and going to be very tough game.
“I feel our team is just starting to gel and have a great chance of an upset, and we are asking everyone to get behind us on Sunday.
“This is the biggest game the team has had at Oak Tree for a while and will definite be a very fast and physical one.”
The women play Sefton Stars at home this Saturday (2.30pm) at Oak Tree Leisure Centre.
Mansfield Giants U16s won their first National League game of the season last weekend with a 74-49 win over Leeds Tigers.
The Giants raced ahead with a 21-11 lead after the first period. Leeds dominated the rebounding in the second period as they clawed themselves back into the game, but the Giants still held a six point lead going into the half-time break.
An outstanding defensive effort, holding the visitors to just eight points, saw the Giants open up a 20-point lead going into the last quarter before another solid quarter saw the Giants close out the game with a 25-point win.
The U13s recorded two big wins to push them up to third place in their league with a 104-45 win against Worcester Bears on Saturday followed by a 104-30 victory over Shropshire Warriors on Sunday.