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Crusaders Bruised Without Collins

Hopes of the Coventry Crusaders getting a win in this weekend’s double-header looked good in the first half of Saturday’s game, and steadily declined after that.

Despite a slow start against Manchester Magic, the Crusaders led at the end of the first quarter following strong play by Marvin Harrison, good free throw play by Derrick Pope and support Manny Sharland and Alvin Scott.

It was tight by the end of the second quarter, 38-37 to the Crusaders, and Magic stormed ahead in the second half of the game as Coventry went into one of their lethargic bouts.

A brief fight-back was inadequate as the opponents surged forward again. Pope’s effort kept Coventry in the game, but the support had evaporated.

The Crusaders were down by 13 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter their subdued supporters could only watch as the deficit mounted.

New recruit Simon Lowe got on the court to make his debut, finding his way into the side after a chance meeting with coach Dip Donaldson in a chip shop, but it wasn’t the happiest of occasions for him as his team collapsed to 63-84.

Donaldson said:

“We didn’t do a good job defensively, obviously, but we also have to be able to put points on the board or it just isn’t going to work.

“I was very pleased with the way our youngster Nicholas Pope came in and played. He did everything just as well as I expected him too.

”I was very disappointed with the result, but we just have to keep on working to salvage what we can from the remainder of the games.”

Crusaders: Donaldson 2, Rhooms 3, Sharland 5, Girbal 8, Scott 8, Harrison 13, D. Pope 22

Magic: Lars-Bercial 6, St. Kitts 6, McKie 7, Gomez 11, Weedall 11, Goodwin 12, Linsley 14, Troso 18

Worse was to come last night when a long trip north ended with a serious scalping by the Teesside Mohawks, who ran out 105-68 winners.

The home team started as they meant to go on, scoring ten points before the Crusaders had broken their duck, and by half time the Coventry side were trailing by 22 points.

Marvin Harrison shot well throughout the game and scored 26 points. Dip Donaldson played in the point guard position for most of the game to try and control the game, but to no avail.

Donaldson said:

“We haven’t won without Matt Collins. We have to face the facts.

“Collins was scoring on average 25 points for us and creating a lot of opportunities for other players.

“I’m not trying to undermine any of our players or put anyone down, but we don’t have a replacement in any one player who can make up that kind of slack.

“Added to that, Dominic Davis has been missing this weekend. He was scoring in double figures for us in the games leading up to his most recent injury. It’s a big loss.

“Until they return we may continue to struggle, but we will continue to work hard and fight. We know what the problem is, but until nature takes its course we have to do without the solution.”

Crusaders: Rhooms 2, Girbal 3, Sharland 6, Donaldson 8, Scott 8, Pope 15, Harrison 26

Mohawks: Stonebridge 3, Butler 6, Hopper 8, Camara 8, Ley 11, Swaine 11, Tellakis 15, Jackson 17, Bucci 24
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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 26 Feb 01
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