Written by Sam Scouller

The Caledonia Gladiators responded well to Friday’s loss to the Sharks as they secured a crucial 92-83 win over the Manchester Giants at the Emirates Arena as they continue their bid for fourth place.

There wasn’t much separating the two sides before the game as Manchester sat in fourth on 28 points with a 14-12 record while Caledonia were in fifth on 26 with a 13-13 record. Both sides had also lost their most previous match before today.

Caledonia set up for tip-off with Sloan, Kyle Jimenez, Princeton Onway, Jeremiah Bailey and Patrick Tapé starting on the court. The Giants were forced to play without William Lee and Nathan Robinson due to injury, but could add new signing, and former Glasgow Rock, Kofi Josephs to their roster.

Dirk Williams was first to score when he landed a clean three-pointer to get the game running. David Sloan put the Gladiators in front shortly after though, and in slick fashion as Jeremiah Bailey handed him the ball before walking away with three fingers in the air as Sloan sunk the three-point-shot. Bailey continued to exude confidence and flair throughout the opening quarter as he and Aljami Durham helped the Scots onto a 24-15 lead at the end of the first.

In the second quarter, the Giants burst out of the gates from the first quarter break as they scored seven unanswered points to trail the navy blues by just two points. Durham reignited the flame within the Gladiators though with a strong driven dunk which set them up the restoration of their eight-point lead. Bailey was once again showing off his talent when he scored a breakaway circus-shot dunk with a mid-air spin and behind the head finish. Sloan also had a highlight-reel shot as he pirouetted through the Manchester defence before lobbing the ball into the net. Dirk Williams was the star-man for the yellows as he picked up nine points in the second quarter. It wasn’t enough to close the gap on the hosts though as they finished the half ahead by twelve points at 50-38.

Gareth Murray’s side continued to dominate the game as they started off the third quarter with an emphatic alley-oop from Jimenez to Tapé. Bailey followed up from Tapé with yet another breakaway dunk before staring down Legend Robertin, who had just missed a dunk himself. The visitors kept on the Gladiators’ heels throughput the quarter with Fletcher and Roberson supplying crucial points in bid  to recover the game. The Scottish side did well to maintain their advantage though as they headed into the final quarter with a 67-57 lead.

Dirk Williams and Fraser Malcom traded three-pointers instantly to kick-start the highest scoring quarter of the game. Durham was Caledonia’s powerhouse in the fourth as he racked up 10 points while Williams continued to stand out for Vince Macauley’s side with seven points to bring him up to 27 points in the game. Cali-captain, Jonny Bunyan made his presence felt in the fourth period as battled across the court to defend the lead. Tapé delivered the dagger to Manchester as he two of two three throws to close out the game and secure a 92-83 win for the Gladiators.

The win is crucial for Gareth Murray’s Gladiators side as he continues to push the team onto a fourth place finish in the standings.