10 Feb 13: Wildcats 89-84 Lions


BBL Championship

Durham Wildcats 89 (28,50,71) (Page 29, Baldarelli 19, Guinane 15)

London Lions 84 (28,44,60) (Martin/Jackman 18, Sturt 13)

Durham Wildcats moved level with the Cheshire Phoenix into ninth position, and level on points with the One Health Sharks Sheffield in eighth position, of the BBL Championship table thanks to a hard-fought 89-84 victory over the London Lions at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre on Sunday afternoon.


After a early basket trade, a Brad Guinane three-pointer sparked the Wildcats into life as they rattled off a 10-2 burst to take the score out to 12-6 midway through the opening period. The Lions got themselves back into the game almost immediately as they netted 10 of the next 11 points to re-take the lead at 13-16, but the home side ended the period the stronger as a Mike Baldarelli basket gave the Wildcats a 28-26 lead after the first period.


The Wildcats continued their strong play at the start of the second period as a 13-2 burst took the score out to 41-30 with six minutes remaining in the half. The Lions tried valiantly to get themselves back into the contest, and managed to half the deficit as the teams headed into the locker rooms with the home side leading by six points at 50-44 at the half.


In the second half, the home side maintained their advantage throughout the third quarter and spent the majority extending their lead as a Samuel Johnson basket sparked a 9-3 burst to take the score out to 71-59 with three seconds remaining in the quarter. A Joel Barkers free-throw ended the third period with the Lions trailing by 11 points at 71-60 heading into the final stanza.


In the final quarter, a Guinane basket with six minutes remaining in the contest gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the game at 16 points with the score at 80-64. This only served to spark the Lions into action as a pair of free-throws from Mike Martin drove the visitors forward as they rattled off a 17-3 burst to get themselves right back into the contest to only trail by two points at 83-81 with 90 seconds left in the game.


A pair of Keith Page free-throws with 22 ticks remaining gave the home side a six-point dvantage at 87-81. An Orlan Jackman three-pointer gave the Lions hope as they trimmed the deficit back to three points at 87-84, but another pair of Page free-throws handed the Wildcats the all-important victory.


Page's 29 points was the leading mark in the whole game for the victors, while a combination of Jackman and Mike Martin led the way for the Lions with 18 points a-piece.