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Coventry Crusaders 87
Quinnipiac Braves 100

Coventry Crusaders served up a treat in their pre-season opener last night as they fought out a thriller against the Quinnipiac Braves.

The Braves, are playing four games on a ten day tour of Ireland and England and came to the Coventry Sports Centre big, strong, young and full of confidence.

Playing in the top division of American college basketball, they were always going to be a challenge to the Crusader side.

The Bupa Crusaders, however, were fired up and ready for the offensive and defensive onslaught the Braves gave them.

The game was as fast-paced as it was exciting.  After the first few minutes the Crusaders took the lead and held onto it into the 4th quarter.

The Braves came back to tie and go ahead in the final minutes of the game.

Pre-season lack off match fitness caught up with the home side and they simply couldn’t keep up with the Braves in the last few minutes, giving them the victory on paper, 100 - 87. 

Adam Stevens, new recruit from the USA for the Bupa Crusaders, made an outstanding start to his English career with an impressive 32 points, half a dozen steals, and numerous rebounds, including some three point shooting from as far out as 25 feet.

Added to his contribution, Derrick Pope continued in the same unstoppable form he left off with at the end of last season as he scored over 20 points.

The Braves found him an impossible threat to stop inside the key and under the basket.

Matt Collins, still hopeful of being able to join the Coventry crew crowned his debut at Coventry Sports Centre with an impressive number of three-pointers and assists, also scoring in double figures.

He was instrumental in getting the ball into Stevens and Pope’s hands, taking the initiative in shooting when he was open.

Nicholas Pope, fifteen-year-old son of Derrick, who started in the point guard position for the Bupa Crusaders, exhibited a good display of ball handling skills against the tenacious pressure of the Braves, who were all his senior by a number of years.

Manny Shareland and Colin Rhooms played excellent defence and both showed bright offensive moves that added to the Crusaders attack.

Their efforts along with the striking performance of guest American player Jeff Chapman enhanced the Crusaders performance throughout his minutes on court.

Coach Dip Donaldson said was really pleased with the overall team effort. He said:

“All in all, it was a tremendously exciting game. The Crusaders can be pleased with their performance, however, against a top American side.

“They gave the crowd a spectacular display of basketball, and everyone present a pleasant anticipation of things to come.”

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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 16 Aug 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM