Reports via British Basketball League
Caledonia Gladiators 66-46 Manchester Giants
Caledonia Gladiators: Samantha Roscoe, Hannah Robb, Ariadna Pujol, Laken James, Kirsty Brown
Manchester Giants: Brooklynn Mcalear-Fanus, Georgia Anderson, Myah Pace, Hannah Shaw, Sydney Hunter
The first quarter saw the Gladiators first out of the firing blocks.
With help from Kirsty Brown, Caledonia were up by 17, before the Giants switched on and brought the gap down to 13-points.
The second quarter was a different story. Carrying over that form from the end of the first quarter, the Giants stared to mount a comeback.
By the end of the first half the Gladiators only held a six-point advantage, 41-35.
Any hope of a comeback for the Giants were dashed away.
The Gladiators showed why they are at the top end of the table, restoring their 13-point advantage with help from Samantha Roscoe.
The final quarter was a quiet one from a scoring aspect, with only 13 points put up in total by both teams.
The quiet quarter would have been welcomed by the Gladiators, as they saw the game over the line and stay near the top of the table.
Caledonia Gladiators 93-97 Leicester Riders
Thanks to 28 points from Teddy Allen and a clutch fourth quarter showing from Kimbal Mackenzie, the Riders edged the Gladiators 97-93 at PlaySport on Sunday (February 11).
Caledonia Gladiators: Mike Bothwell, Princeton Onwas, Patrick Whlan, Lukas Palyza, Fahro Alihodzic
Leicester Riders: Kimbal MacKenzie, Miryne Thomas, Teddy Allen, Mo Walker, Jaren Holmes
In a scrappy opening exchange including amid missed shots close to the basket and careless turnovers, Lukas Palyza elevated the hosts with a triple for a 7-3 lead.
Palyza would connect again from deep to hand Caledonia a six-point advantage, as Leicester had good looks but could not covert.
Jaren Holmes would help the visitors come back into the game, with a hammer throw dunk narrowing the gap to 14-12 with around three minutes to play.
The Gladiators would then attack the basket, getting the Riders into team foul trouble, and led 24-15 after the first quarter.
Leicester would fight back slowly but surely as the second progressed, but the advantage remained with the Gladiators as a mid-range jumper from Clifton Moore Jr. gave the home side a 28-20 lead.
That eight-point cushion then became more comfortable, as a Fraser Malcolm triple made it 34-23, but from there, Leicester made its move.
A 13-2 run from the Riders, led by Allen, knotted the game at 36-36, and even though Caledonia re-established their lead again, a triple on the second quarter buzzer from Holmes made it a one-point game at the half.
Looking to create some space early on, a solid start from the Riders, thanks to Miryne Thomas, gave them a 57-52 lead within the first three minutes of the third.
Like Leicester did to start proceedings, Caledonia struggled at the beginning of the third but got points from the line, hitting their first 14 free-throws overall.
And Thomas would extend the Riders’ lead to 65-54 with a three from the wing as Caledonia coach Gareth Murray welcomed the media timeout with 4:19 left.
The timeout and break of play had no effect, as Caledonia’s offence dried up from missing free-throws and committing turnovers, allowing their visitors to take advantage.
Allen drained a three for a 73-60 lead before buckets from Palyza, and Patrick Whelan narrowed the gap as the Gladiators looked for a second wind.
Up 75-67 going into the final period, Leicester needed to maintain what they had.
Caledonia had other plans. Two quick scores shrunk the deficit to 75-71. Mackenzie came to the Riders’ rescue with a triple from the wing.
That three settled Leicester down as they stamped their authority on matters and while the Gladiators seemed to rely heavily on going to the foul line, Leicester were comfortable.
That was until the final three minutes when the Gladiators found their rhythm from deep.
Caledonia made life hard for their opponents and chipped away. Palyza made it a three-point game with a triple to lift the near sell-out crowd at PlaySport to its feet.
The roof came unglued with 1:41 left, as Moore Jr. stringed a fadeaway giving the hosts a one-point lead.
And just like he has done throughout his career with Rob Paternostro, Mackenzie hit a clutch six points in the final 1:20 – and 21 overall – to ice the game.
Palyza led the Gladiators with 17 points, including five three-pointers.