Mansfield Giants’ men’s and women’s teams complete their EBL seasons this weekend after mixed fortunes in last weekend’s home double header.
Giants’ women coasted to a 77-33 win against Bury Blue Devils on Saturday at the Oak Tree Leisure Centre.
But Newcastle-under-Lyme College Knights then took revenge over the Giants’ men with a thrilling 99-97 success.
Men’s head coach Ian Richards said: “I’m so proud of our guys. They gave it everything and I couldn’t have asked for more.
“It’s by far the best performance we have put in for a while against a very good team, and we have got to maintain that level going into our final game on Saturday.”
The men’s game started at a frantic pace with both teams really battling hard against each other. The Knights took advantage with their size early on, pounding the ball inside, but Giants’ youngster Keagan Allen kept the game close with four three point shots as the Knights held a three point lead after the first period.
The game continued to be a close affair, as both teams went on the attack, but a last second drive to the basket from the Knights’ Jones opened up a five point lead for the visitors going into the half-time break.
Calvin-Morant Hudson and Barry Plummer started to dominate the scoring for the Giants, but were unable to contain Jones as he went for 39 points in the game.
Once again the Knights won the quarter by just three points, but all the points added up to an eight points deficit for the Giants going into the final period.
Giants closed the gap and with just seven seconds were down by just two points.
Coach Richards called a time-out to draw up a play and advance the ball up the court.
A perfectly executed play fell short for Allen, but his shot hit the front of the rim to hand the visitors a two point win.
Giants’ top scorers: K. Allen 29, .B Plummer 27, C. M. Hudson 14
Giants’ women faced Bury Blue Devils, who had previously caused them problems, taking home an 11 point win earlier in the season.
However, it was Mansfield who went into the game with confidence, coming off a string of good performances in the closing stages of the season.
The Giants started strong, with Alison Bridge kicking off the scoring with a huge three on the first attempt at basket.
It was clear statement that the Giants side meant business, taking control of the game from the start with the formidable duo of Katy and Sarah Taylor again combining to score seven straight points.
With Giants’ deep bench, the team went out to run at the smaller Blue Devils side, making some quick fast break points to take the tally to 22-6 in the first quarter.
From there on out, the game played into Giants’ hands, taking advantage of their height once again to find youngster Chloe Gaynor under the basket to make her mark on the game.
Despite the Blue Devils’ attempt in the final quarter to bring back the deficit, the home team dominated until the final buzzer.
Giants’ top scorers: Bridge 15, Gaynor 14, Jones 11.
Giants’ men play their final game of the season this Saturday as they host the Sefton Stars.
The Giants won the last encounter 93-87 back in December when Giants’ star Calvin Morant-Hudson scored his memorable 54 points.
The game tips off at 4.30pm at the Oak Tree Leisure Centre. Admission is adults £2.50 and U16s £1.50.
Giants’ women complete their fixtures when they face Hull Panthers on the road on Saturday.
Mansfield Giants U16s notched up another win against Gateshead Phoenix by a score of 61-56.
They have a double header weekend to finish off their season and two wins will see the Giants progress to the post season play-offs as long as other results go as expected.