Perfect day for Mansfield Giants

Mansfield Ladies Giants v Loughborough Students Riders II
Mansfield Ladies Giants v Loughborough Students Riders II

A perfect day saw all the Mansfield Giants basketball teams win their respective home league games at Oak Tree Leisure Centre on Saturday.

Giants’ men won their first EBL Division Three league game of the season, 73-64 against Hull Wasps, despite leading point guard Calvin Morant Hudson not playing due to illness.

However, Giants’ new American import Mike Buffalo made his debut, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Giants’ women also continued their perfect start to their Basketball England’s Women’s League North season with a comfortable 60-50 point win over Loughborough Student Riders II.

And the club’s U13s and U14s also ended the day with victories.

However, a depleted Giants’ men were then knocked out of the the National Shield on Sunday with a 92-64 defeat at Nottingham Hoods.

On Saturday against Hull, both Giants and Wasps struggled for scoring momentum in the first half, Giants without leading scorer Morant-Hudson.

But inside player Barry Plummer dominated both scoring and rebounding for Giants in the first half as they led 28-27at the halfway mark of a low-scoring game.

Both teams traded end-to-end baskets in the third quarter, with still a matter of points separating the two teams, and it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Giants stepped up the defensive tempo to gain quick steals and turn the steals into points with Plummer playing well both ends of the court.

Giants’ guards Parish Xavier, Olly Cherney, Lance Cresswell began to control the ball well, finding Mike Buffalo and Plummer to score points inside and stepping up defensively as Wasps finally ran out of steam.

Giants scorers: B. Plummer 22, M. Buffalo 20, P. Xavier 12.

On Sunday Giants’ men travelled away to Nottingham Hoods in the National Shield againwithout Morant-Hudson, but also without other key players Tom Brown and Parish Xavier due to work commitments, which enabled Hoods to book their place in the next round.

Against Loughborough Student Riders, Giants’ Women were once again without influential guard Steph Jones, who is out for another month recovering from thumb surgery.

However, with last week’s buzzer winner still on their mind, the team went into the game full of confidence.

It was the home side that once again got off to a good start, showing outstanding teamwork and strength in depth with five players adding to the score.

The sides traded baskets for the first few minutes, before Giants began to take control, once again dominating inside to draw contact before converting free throws.

But with Loughborough’s young tall line-up matching the height of the Giants, they began to fight back, outpacing the more experienced Mansfield team.

It was a defensive game leading up to the half-time break, with neither team scoring heavily, but the Riders’ strong defensive pressure held Giants to just six points in the quarter.

During the second half, Giants began to regain control, breaking down the Riders’ press to gain some fast break points.

But once again, the Loughborough side dug deep to take one last push for the lead.

With two minutes left, the side had pulled back to within a point, seeing their chance with Giants being issued a technical foul.

However, the Giants team still had another gear, drawing Riders into foul trouble, converting all 10 free throws issued in the last two minutes of the game to finish with a second league win.

Giants’ scorers: Van Alten 19, Bridge 12, Levitt 11.

Both Giants U13 and u14 teams beat local teams in their respective leagues with two great team performances, as Giants U13s beat Notts Nova 67-43 and the U14s won 94-24 against Ilkeston Outlaws.

This weekend sees three home games at Oak Tree on Saturday as Giants’ U14s play Northampton Titans at 12.30pm, the U16s play Leeds Tigers at 2.30pm and the Giants men’s team take on Tees Valley Mohawks II at 4.30pm.

Admission is adults £2.50 and child £1.50 to watch the men’s game.

Giants’ U13 team are away on Saturday in Worcester while on Sunday Giants’ U13s play Shropshire Warriors at Oak Tree Leisure Centre at 1.50pm.

The women take on Northampton Lightning away on Sunday in the National Trophy where a win would see them reach the quarter-finals.