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Posted: 16/03/09

Heartbreak for Basketball Academy

Birmingham Mets 83 - 79 WNC Mansfield Giants

WNC Mansfield Giants National League season ended on Saturday with a heart breaking defeat against Birmingham Mets.  The loss means the youngsters will finish third in the Midlands Conference and will not make the play-offs.

It was one of the most exciting games of the season in the West Midlands as both teams needed to win to finish second in the league.  Giants captain Ian Burton played despite being unable to shoot with his right hand due to muscular damage and requiring surgery on his ankle, which will take place once the season is finished.  Coach Shaw praised Burton’s efforts saying: “it was a remarkable performance from him; he scored 20 points despite not being able to shoot jump shots or free throws with his right hand, especially when he’s right handed.  He played nearly the whole game, yet has not been able to practice fully for the last three weeks due to his ankle injury.  It was a courageous display.”

Giants had started the brightest, leading 22-24 at the end of the first quarter and 34-40 at half time.  Alex Denholm had a productive first period scoring 12 of his 20 points.

In the third quarter, the Mets pulled back the deficit and started to wear the students down.  The quarter ended 57-58.  In the final period, the lead changed 7 times as both teams fought hard.  With just ten seconds remaining, Will Mott was sent to the foul line to shoot two free throws for the Giants with the score 80-78 in favour of the Mets.  After making the first, his second shot rimmed out and Giants were forced to foul in order to try and regain the ball.  Mets made 3 or their 4 free throws in the closing seconds to secure the 83-79 triumph.

It was a superb game, played in great spirit as Shaw reflected after the game: “it was a great advertisement for basketball.  Two excellent teams battling to keep their seasons alive.  We just didn’t have the juice in the end.  But I am really proud of the lads’ efforts.  If someone had said at the start of the season we’d finish 3rd with a 13-5 record, I’d have been delighted.”

Assistant Coach, Phil Storer added: “it was our Free Throw shooting that let us down today.  We scored 18 out of 36 (50%), whereas they were 21 out of 28 (75%).  It’s so frustrating.  I am so disappointed yet proud at the same time.  To think that we lost the 3 main games by only 9 points shows just how close we came to winning it all and emphasises how well the guys have done throughout the season, so being so disappointed is only natural.”

Scorers: Denholm 20, Burton 20, Davy 18, Mott 8, T Hook 6, A Hook 4, Inwood 2

The season is not completely over yet.  The lads still have several College league games remaining and also games in the local under 18s Sherwood League.