An amazing home performance, which saw dominance from start to finish was enough to get the Gladiators their first win against the Cheshire Phoenix this season.
In their last game, Cheshire lost to the London Lions. In the loss, the Phoenix didn’t shoot well from the field, behind in all shot categories – this would definitely be on Coach Gareth Murray’s scouting report going into the game.
Before tip-off, Cheshire sat at sixth in the current BBL Standings on a 7-8 record after 15 games with the Gladiators sitting one spot behind them with three games in hand on a 6-6 record.
The Gladiators came into this one looking for better fortunes as they lost the previous two matchups against the Cheshire Phoenix, Sloan with 23 in the last outing.
After winning tip-off, Gladiators got off to an electric start, getting off to a 9-2 start before backing the opposition into a corner by making them take a timeout.
To carry out the remaining time left in the corner, the Phoenix were in a drought – they struggled to get points on the board for so long.
Jeremiah Bailey spearheaded the offence with his 14 points including great team play to get him open looks, dunks and even a three to make it 40-17 with the clock expiring.
I’m the second quarter, although a dominant 10 minute spell, the Phoenix chipped away and won the period, despite being down 18 at the half.
Another flashy quarter and the two losses this season to Cheshire seem like flukes with the lead rising to as high as 30 and the score being as tight as 18 as the clock expired.
Jeremiah Bailey took his first quarter tally of 14 to a strong 21 with Jordan Burns close on his tail with 18 of his own.
The Gladiators scored most of their shots from inside the three-point line, 38 from either paint or midrange, with six three-pointers to compliment the twos nicely.
What the Gladiators failed to do in the half was keep the ball, one of the downsides with fluid ball movement is that you are more susceptible to committing turnovers, the Gladiators had nine in the half which could have extended the lead further, but by this point the game was out of reach for the Cheshire Phoenix.
To start the third quarter, Phoenix got off with a bucket but the Gladiators managed to score again and got the score lead back to 18.
For the remainder of the third, the Gladiators were keeping the score at around 20 points too far for the visitors and they were just piling on the agony, this was highlighted by a Patrick Tape alley-oop from Jordan Burns which was absolutely sublime.
Turnovers were still the case, an easy layup was gifted to Cheshire as Johnny Bunyan tried to return the ball to the inbounder but it was intercepted and two points were lost.
The score at the end of the third was 85-71, not impossible for the Phoenix to win this as the door was still open at 14 points and to begin the fourth, Austin made a lay-up for the first points of the closing quarter to give them hope.
But it wasn’t to be, the Gladiators found triple digits with Burns fadeaway with 5:34 to go with the Phoenix just reaching 80 points.
To close out the game, the Gladiators dominated with no mercy with a lead of 21 and the score finsihing 117-96, it just wasn’t Chesire’s night – but it was absolutely ours.
There was only one man that was going to give us our sixth straight home victory and that was All-Star five of the week Jeremiah Bailey who had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists! What a game.
Bailey ended up as the game MVP with that 36 points, breaking it down and he only missed one three pointer out of 7 he took (85%) and had a field goal split of 13/20 (65%).
For the team, it was just steals and turnovers that the Gladiators didn’t dominate. The Phoenix had 11 compared to eight, they also kept the ball better with 12 turnovers compared to 16 for the hosts.
Dominating the boards, the Gladiators had 38 rebounds to Cheshire’s 26. We also moved the ball around better, getting more looks for our guys which gave the team 31 assists, one off doubling the Phoenix’s tally.
In terms of shooting, the Gladiators also dominated that, 48/74 field goals (64%) broken down into 39/54 two-pointers (72%) and 9/20 (45%), which Bailey dominated hitting two-thirds of the teams threes.
Tonight’s match: a strong, merciless win with almost everything going right, 48/74 (64%) from the field, 39/54 (72%) from two-pointers and 9/20 (45%) from three!
That wraps up the action for the Gladiators tonight, a dominant win over the opposition who already beat us twice away from home, it extends our win streak at the Emirates Arena to six games and moves us up to 4th place in the BBL Championship!
You can catch the Gladiators next in action on the 23rd of December as we take on the Sheffield Sharks at home at 7:30pm! Get your tickets HERE!
Report by Daniel Gilfoyle.