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Solent Stars (47) 85
Coventry Crusaders (23) 72

Injury-hit Coventry Crusaders showed their inconsistency by going down to Solent Stars, who had previously been without a win this season.

Crusaders travelled south knowing they would be without their point guard and recent top-scorer, Matt Collins, out with an ankle injury.

Collins who went along as a bench supporter for the game, could only watch helplessly from the sidelines, as his side slid to their sixth loss this season.

At the end of the first quarter the Stars had already outscored the Crusaders 28-17 and by half time the Crusaders were 47-23 down.

Marvin Livingston opened the second half with a three pointer. Manny Sharland’s quick defensive play, combined with contributions from Eduard Girbal and Marvin Harrison, helped the deficit fall slightly to 48-65.

Girbal led both teams in steals with his quick defensive moves and scored a personal high as a Crusader with 16 points.

Harrison led the Crusaders, scoring with 24 points, and also impressed with his hustle and effort, diving on the floor for balls and rebounding well to combine with his scoring output.

The Stars could smell victory, however, and they weren’t about to concede.

They continued shooting well from the floor, American shooting guard Toby Tripalin outscoring everyone else with a fine 20 points and aided in by Chris Harper with 17 points.

With the final buzzer came Solent’s first win of the season, and a serious time for reflection for the Crusaders who cannot seem to find any consistency this season. 

The injury-laden team has suffered since November with personnel changes and injuries to players.

There does not seem to be any two weeks when the same players are healthy enough to be on court together, and this has been one of the factors that has kept the Crusaders in the middle of the league table rather than at the top.

Donaldson, reflecting on his team’s poor performance said:

“We started out the game playing too tentative which led to silly passing mistakes and lack of confidence in our own shooting abilities.

“After having some extra training sessions I was 100 per cent confident that the effects would carry over into the game, but unfortunately, there’s always a team out there ready to knock you down.

“I will make a few tactical adjustments to what we need to do and I look forward to seeing what the players will show me in training this week in preparation for our games against Worthing this weekend.”

Crusaders scorers: Sharland 3, Rhooms 4, Davies 4, D. Pope 6, Scott 7, Livingston 8, Girbal 16, Harrison 24

Stars scorers: Sheldrick 3, Donaldson 4, Stomer 4, Laight 9, Cunningham 11, Scott 14, Harper 17, Tripalin 20
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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 5 Feb 01
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