A week of double disappointment for Mansfield Giants senior men saw them lose two games to all but end any hope of an EBF Division Three play-off spot this season.
After a midweek 82-76 overtime defeat at home to Derby Trailblazers, the team had to quickly brush themselves down and prepare for an away trip to Tees Valley Mohawks II on Saturday with coach Dan Richards sidelined again after receiving a broken thumb earlier in the week.
But a late fightback from the home side saw them down the Giants 97-87.
The Giants again made a good start to the game. But every time they looked as if they were going to pull away, Tees Valley seemed to hit a big shot out of nowhere to give them some extra defensive energy and stop the Giants from gaining any kind of momentum.
Barry Plummer put in another fine display, looking unstoppable with 29 points and 19 rebounds.
The clash was close throughout and again Keagan Allen had a fantastic game, adding 24 points to the Giants’ tally.
With three minutes remaining, the Giants gained a four point lead and hopes were high.
However, two consecutive misses gave the Mohawks two easy baskets to tie the game.
Another three point shot then gave them the lead and momentum.
Giants’ leading scorer Calvin Morant-Hudson left the game with an ankle injury and the Giants had no answers for the Mohawks pressure.
Tees Valley played some outstanding team basketball with six players reaching double figures.
Giants’ top scorers: B. Plummer 29, K. Allen 24, C. M. Hudson 15.
The midweek game versus Derby Trailblazers ended with a nailbiting finish as Mansfield ran out of steam in overtime.
Led by the slick passing of coach Richards, who had stepped back on the court in the last couple of matches, the Giants raced out to an early lead.
Some strong inside play from Plummer was causing the Derby side some problems.
Great outside shooting from Derby closed the gap, but the Giants led 19-15 at the end of the first period.
Derby began to step up at the defensive end, but Calvin Morant-Hudson found his way to the basket. However, Derby again started to hit from the outside to give them a four point lead at the half-time break.
Another strong start from the Giants saw them regain the lead as some intense defensive efforts from team captain Garry Collins and new signing 16-year-old Keagan Allen gave the Giants some easy baskets.
The game went back and forth with both teams level-pegged throughout the final period with neither team really getting a grip on the game.
Crucially, big man Plummer received his fifth foul and had to sit down for the rest of the game as regular time ended 68-68.
With Plummer on the bench, Derby exposed the Giants’ small line up with ex-Mansfield player Richard Bailey doing most of the damage to eventually take the six point win in overtime.
Top Scorers: C. M Hudson 23, B. Plummer 15, C. McIntyre/D. Richards 9.
The Giants are back at home this weekend with both Sheffield teams coming to town for a double header.
Saturdays game against Sheffield Saints tips off at 6.30pm, whilst Sunday’s game versus Sheffield Sabres tips off at 2pm.
Both games are to be played at the Oak Tree Leisure Centre. Admission is adults £3, U16s £1.50.