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Kingston Wildcats (46) 88
Coventry Crusaders (42)

Coventry Crusaders could not do enough to turn over the Kingston Wildcats despite a sterling effort by captain Derrick Pope.

The Crusaders are now out of the National Trophy Cup after losing twice to Kingston. They had to win this away fixture by four points to get through, but were squeezed out in a tough dogfight.

After the game Crusaders Coach Dip Donaldson said:

“We just didn’t play smart in the two games against Kingston, losing twice has made me look at the way I have been coaching this team, and I am not happy with our production. I will look to change things around this week.”

The Bupa Crusaders came out firing and the defensive style of play was strong in the early part of the game, but the Wildcats weathered the storm.

At one stage the Crusaders were in the lead by seven points and didn’t fall behind by more than seven points in a display better than the previous week, when the team trailed by as much at 17 points before rallying.

Donaldson said:

“We played some good ball in the second half, but as soon as we made some good plays we would turn the ball over with bad passes, poor defensive position and missed lay-ups.

“We missed at least five easy baskets during the second half that we normally make, and that cost us the game.”

The Crusaders can be pleased with the effort of Coventry University student Eduard Girbal from Spain, who scored 11 points and played very good defence.

Girbal has earned more playing time each week since he signed for the Crusaders a few weeks ago.

Donaldson said:

“With Eduard Girbal, Dominic Davis and Colin Rhooms all starting to find their way within the team, the Crusaders look to have a good strong rotation of players that will pay dividends in the long run.

“I think this week of training will be good for those three players as they begin to set forward and take on a bigger role."

Behind Pope, Matt Collins followed up the scoring with 19 points, despite playing with a bad ankle, and Dominic Davis had ten points in his first time as a starter this season.

Donaldson added:

“Overall we are heading in the right direction. Our team played better defence but still not as good as I would like. We turned the ball over fewer times this week too.

“I hate to lose but we seem to grow and learn more as a team each time we play together, and that is part of the big picture.”

The Crusaders are still in first place in the NBL Conference and this weekend’s game against Plymouth is expected to be the biggest home game of the season.

Tip-off will be at 7.30pm and the game will be preceded by a Warwickshire netball game at 5.00pm.

Crusaders scorers: D. Pope 30, Collins 19, Girbal 11, Davis 10, Sharland 6, Scott 6, Rhooms 4, Donaldson 3.

Wildcats scorers: Whitaker 23, Ramagge 18, Routledge 13, Poynton 11, Rich 8, Jeremiah 6, Jones 5, Orelaja 5, Durrant 2.

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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 6 Nov 00
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