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Coventry Crusaders (58) 113
Solent Stars (49) 105

With the return of Matt Collins, Coventry Crusaders salvaged some pride at the end of the league season in a pulsating game.

By the end of the first quarter the Crusaders had jumped out to a 28-16 lead, with all five of the Crusaders starters putting early points on the score board.

In the second quarter the Crusaders continued their onslaught of scoring with Eduard Girbal, Colin Rhooms, Pope and Collins all throwing up three pointers to keep the lead over the Stars in one of the highest scoring first halves of the season.

The third quarter was remarkable for the Crusaders. It was their strongest third quarter performance all season, with Pope scoring 15 points alone, and the team scoring 33 points overall.

At this point it looked like the game would end in a total demolition of the southern team, with Crusaders leading 91-74 by the time the buzzer sounded.

Solent regrouped during the short interval between quarters, however, and they came back storming in the fourth with great determination.

Player-coach Mark Scott was on fire, and was complimented by Toby Tripalin, and Chris Harper’s contributions.

The Stars ran into foul trouble, however, deep in the fourth quarter when Alan Cunningham, Tripalin and Trevor Donaldson all fouled out.

In the meantime, the Stars had clawed away at the Crusaders lead, and managed to cut their deficit to just two points. 

The Crusaders had been in the lead the entire game and were just too hungry for a win to stand by and watch, though, and with the final seconds on the clock were able to control the outcome of the game and score several more baskets.

Coach Dip Donaldson said:

"I was very pleased with our performance tonight. The players pulled through in a great way tonight.

“The way they have improved and played more controlled over the past several games, I really felt confident that tonight would be a win, and they did it!

“It was a critical game. If we had lost we definitely would have lost footing in the league table.

“As it is we now have to sit and wait on next week’s results to see what position we will end up in. 

“The position will determine who we play for the quarter final of the play offs the first weekend in April. We will be playing away, because we will not be one of the top four teams.” 

The Crusaders’ Conference games are now over, and the play-offs will be on the weekend of 7 and 8 April.

Top Crusaders scorers: Harrison 21, Pope 32,  Collins 32.

Top Solent scorers: Tripalin 17, Scott 24, Harper 29.

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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 26 Mar 01
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