In a game that saw Robyn Lewis return to play her former team, and player/coach Chantelle Handy face off against her former GB teammate, Stef Collins, Caledonia Gladiators travelled to Wales to take on Met Archers in Cardiff.
Heading into the game, Miguel Ortega’s squad was missing latest signing, Tamara Jovancevic, who was out through injury.
Despite the hosts winning the tip-off, Téa Adams got it going for the Gladiators, making the first bucket of the game. Throughout the first five minutes, both sides traded basket-for basket, Cardiff edged on via their home fans, and the visiting Scottish side backed by their bench. A few huge plays from Archers forced a Miguel Ortega timeout half-way through the first. After building some momentum at the end of ten minutes, Gladiators had built a slim four point lead, 18-22.
Cardiff continued their momentum into the second with high-energy plays on both ends, causing Gladiators to miss a few shots in the first minutes of the quarter. Archers showed belief, determination and hope thanks to the backing of the crowd, as the travelling side were looking to properly get going after a fairly difficult start. A Téa Adams tough play got the momentum going for Gladiators, bringing the hosts’ lead down to seven – forcing a Stef Collins timeout. With Cardiff playing arguably their best 20 minutes of basketball all season, Caledonia went into the locker rooms down ten, 32-42.
In the third quarter, the Scottish side got theirselves back into the ball game. Trading basket-for-basket, it was certainly all to play for. Despite the home crowd cheering on their Archers, Gladiators ended the third down only three points, 57-60.
The fourth quarter was all to play for, with the game on the line and only a slim margin between the two sides. A Chantelle Handy three ball, and two Abbie Wolf made free throws tied the game at 62 with just under nine to play. As had been a theme in the previous three quarters, basket trading remained prevalent in the final one. Half way through the ten, Archers led by one, forcing a timeout to be called. 71-71 – 1:51 to play. Erin McGarrachan shot to take the lead with 37 to play. A huge block from Jamila Thompson and final free throws from captain Erin McGarrachan sealed the game. Upon the final buzzer, Gladiators picked up a crucial win – 71-75.
Robyn Lewis picked up the game MVP from the coaches as she dropped 16 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists in a clutch performance.