Report by Darren Adams
It was a rematch of last season’s trophy final as Cheshire Phoenix came to the Playsport arena with the bit between their teeth in a tough loss for the Caledonia Gladiators.
The Gladiators took a while to settle into the game as Cheshire Phoenix tightly marshalled their key, but a great side-step off the inbound from Fahro Alihodzic followed by a tidy layup opened the floodgates for both sides.
The Gladiators edged it in the first quarter but the second was a different story. An aggressive Phoenix side attacked the basket regularly and the attack was unstoppable as they scored more than double the points in the quarter. Anytime the Gladiators ate into the Phoenix lead it was quickly extended by the potent Cheshire attack as the English side went into the half eight ahead.
Whatever Gareth Murray said at the break revitalised his side as the team from East Kilbride stormed out the gates. Two quickfire threes ate into the Cheshire lead, but a spirited performance from the English side’s Laquincy Rideou kept the game close. The game was at a crucial point when the number three stole the ball on a Gladiator fastbreak and drove down the other side of the court for an easy two points. The quarter was nearly done but there was still time for more entertainment as Ian Dubose found Clifton Moore Jr. with a no-look alley-oop pass to dunk in style. However, right at the death the Gladiator bubble was burst as Phoenix’s Cam Christon drilled a corner three at the buzzer to make it a seven-point game.
And the frustration continued for the Caledonia Gladiators toiled for points, with Alihodzic bearing the brunt of the Cheshire defence to score points. It wasn’t to be though, as just as the game looked like it could be tied, Maceo Jack converted an and-1 opportunity to give Cheshire the necessary breathing room to see out the game. DuBose was the Gladiators’ MVP with 21 points, four rebounds and nine assists in a tough loss at the Playsport arena. At the end of the fourth it finished Caledonia Gladiators 83 – 92 Cheshire Phoenix.
You can get your tickets to our next games as the unbeaten women take on Essex Rebels on Sunday!