It was a losing end to the season for Mansfield Giants as they were beaten 104-80 by Sefton Stars in their final game at Oak Tree Leisure Centre.
In their previous meeting Giants had narrowly beaten them 93-87, with point guard Calvin Morant-Hudson scoring a club-high 54 points.
From the start of Saturday’s game a matter of a few points separated both teams.
Captain Gary Collins hit two jump shots to start Giants off on the scoreboard, with Sefton’s Onuora finding form, scoring eight consecutive points.
Both teams matched up well defensively in a very physical game, and Sefton struggled to shut down Morant-Hudson as they tried prevent a replay of the last game in Sefton.
However, a three from him and a quick put-back inside from Barry Plummer, saw Giants take a 24-20 lead by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter ex-Giants player, Scottie Summersgill starred for Sefton, scoring long range jump shots and a quick drive to basket.
Chris McIntyre nailed a long three point shot for Giants, with Plummer grabbing important rebounds defensively. Jamaal Frederick did the same offensively, scoring a put-back to keep Mansfield in the game.
As the tempo increased it was Giants that took a 43-40 lead into the halfway mark.
However, Giants struggled dramatically in the third quarter where, offensively, outside shots didn’t drop.
Sefton defended inside the arc well to stop Giants scoring and took advantage to outscore them 36-17 points.
Most of Giants’ points came from offensive rebounds and put-backs from Plummer, adding 10 points in this quarter, as Sefton took a 76-60 lead.
Sefton’s guards stepped up to score back-to-back threes from Embaye as Giants tried to step up at both ends if the court.
Plummer continued to dominate with Morant-Hudson adding a three, but the scoreline was too much to pull back in the end.
Giants’ scorers: Morant-Hudson 27, Plummer 25, Allen 11.
It was a great weekend for the junior section of the club and a first in Giants’ history that a junior team has made the play-offs with Giants U13s having the confirmation that they are to play Oldham Titans away this coming weekend in round one.
The team finished third in their U13 Midlands League and a win on Saturday will secure a place in the national quarter-finals.
They finished their season off with a bang, getting back-to-back wins, on Saturday they beat Leeds Force II 114-57 and on Sunday beat a strong Doncaster Danum Eagles 88-79.
The only loss came from the U14s against top-of-the-league Northants Thunder.
Giants played the best they had all season with a matter of points separating the teams, up to the final few minutes of the game, as Thunder took an 82-69 win.
Both Giants’ U14s and U16s local league teams have booked their places in this coming week’s semi-final games as the U14s beat Cobras 49-21 and the U16s beat Hucknall II 103-17.