Mansfield Giants’ men split their results in their double-header weekend against South Yorkshire opponents in the EBL Division Three.
Saturday saw the Giants go down 78-60 to the Sheffield Saints, while on Sunday grinding out a 79-69 win against the Sheffield Sabres.
On Saturday, a strong start from both teams set the pace for the game.
Saints’ Pete Olusoga was on fire early on but the Giants matched the Saints point for point.
However, three missed lay-ups by Mansfield gave the Saints a six point lead after the first period.
The Sheffield side upped their defensive intensity, holding the Giants to just 10 points in the second quarter gave them a 38-28 half-time lead.
A laps in concentration by the Giants gave the Saints some easy looks at the basket as they raced ahead in the third and it was an uphill struggle now as the Giants trailed by 19 points going into the final period.
Mansfield weren’t going to go down without a fight and some outstanding full court defence cut the defect to just eight points.
But that’s as close as the Giants got as they ran out of steam to hand the Saints a well earned victory.
Giants’ top scorers: C. M. Hudson 27, B. Plummer 10, L. Burton 9.
Sunday saw a change in the starting line up as 16-year-old Hucknall duo Liam Burton and Keagan Allen completed their progress through the Mansfield ranks.
The move paid off as the increased defensive pressure saw the Giants race out to an early lead as the Sabres struggled to keep up with the pace of the Giants.
The Sabres started to take advantage of their strength in side and closed the gap to four points.
But another strong defensive performance from the Giants saw their lead start to increase as they went into the half-time break 37-25 up.
The Sabres’ increased physicality started to cause the Mansfield side some problems, but the referees started to penalise them for their physical style of play.
An unsportsmanlike foul saw youngster Keagan Allen leave the game with a shoulder injury, not to return.
However, the Giants put in a good, offensive performance to close out the game and finish with a 10 point victory.
Giants’ top scorers: K. Allen 25, C. M. Hudson 22, G. Collins 10.
The Giants travel away to face Leeds Force on Saturday.