Cannons impress in Cup opener

Basketball sprang back into action as the Cup Competition tipped off with four games on Thursday night. Players from the Senior League and D2 were joined by returning veterans and new sign-ups in a series of high energy and good natured games. A slightly different format sees the eight teams split into two groups of four for a 3-week round robin tournament, teams then playing against their respective placements in each group (1st v 1st, 2nd v 2nd, etc) for positioning in the final week. Games are also tweaked with 20-minutes running clock halves, extended team fouls and running substitutions, all making for a faster pace.  

Highlight of the evening for Group 1 was the debut game of SOS Cannons, who faced Cavaliers. Cannons are a youth development team from Douglas with aspirations of joining the Senior League next season, and they hoped to capitalise on a solid exhibition game performance against Ravens by stepping up in the Cup. Traditionally the Cannons would be too young to go into the Senior League but the different format of the Cup opens an opportunity for them to compete against Senior players.  

Cavs were early to dominate with Rick Greig, Kyle Furlong and Andy Cregeen all finding routes to the basket to build an 8-point lead in the opening minutes. It seemed that this would be a by-the-numbers matchup but the dogged attitude of the Cannons soon had Cavaliers on the back foot. Fighting for boards and pushing the ball down the court at pace, they were soon on a level pegging with Cavaliers – with thanks to a drive from Gabe Thatcher and two deep 3-pointers from Rowan Coulter. A late surge by Cavaliers gave them a 27-20 edge at half time, but it was a much tighter margin than anyone would have predicted after 20-minutes of play. 

Cannons capitalised on the opening possession at the start of the second half as Gabe Thatcher again cut through the defence on the drive. Cavaliers had adjusted during the break though and kept cool heads on the return, switching to their tried and tested strategy of using big man Dave Minay on the inside. Minay continued to pickup points and boards throughout the second allowing Cavaliers to extend a much more comfortable lead. Cannons were also under pressure from Daniel Dunakjewski whose quick hands led to plenty of steals for Cavaliers. As the result became increasingly clear many teams would buckle, but Cannons fought to the end with Minay challenged for every rebound. Oliver Hamilton gave some relief in the final minutes with a swish 3-pointer, but at that stage the game was done. Final score stood 57-27 to Cavaliers with credit to the young Cannons for a putting up a tougher challenge than might have been predicted. 

Group 2’s highlight saw a close fought contest between Wolves and Turkeys. The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes, with Mike Brereton and Dave Boyle racking up points for Turkeys while Harry Brindle and Cameron Scott returned for Wolves. Wolves struggled to convert in the early stages and it was only two outside shots from Viktor Capkanovski at the mid-point that kept them ahead. Turkeys found greater success in breaking down the defence and converting, with Chris Wolfendale joining Brereton and Boyle on the scoresheet. Wolves held a slight edge at the half, 32-29, with all still to play for.

A switch up in the second half blew the game open as Wolves increased the pace, piling pressure on Turkeys in transition. Quick baskets from Oscar Lace and Ben Takkan soon had Wolves blazing ahead and they held up both pace and lead throughout the second. A late flurry of 3s from Brereton and Wolfendale kept Turkeys ticking over but couldn’t change the momentum of the game. Final score 69-49 to Wolves.  

The other results of the evening saw OG Marvels win out against Hoops 59-41 with newcomer Sullivan Forfar and returning veteran Nik Cain both impressing for Marvels. Meanwhile Jets racked up a decisive 79-28 win against Ravens in Group 2.  


This Thursday sees four more games in the cup competition as the round-robin format continues. At 19:30 OG Marvels will face Cannons on Court 1 while Court 2 plays host to Ravens and Wolves. Then at 20:30 there will be a match up between Hoops and Cavaliers on Court 1 as Jets and Turkeys play Court 2. All games are held in the NSC Main Hall and spectators are welcome to attend courtside.  

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