Cannons surge to near upset against Marvels

There was another outsized performance by SOS Cannons as they faced OG Marvels in the Basketball Cup this week. The first half was dominated by Marvels as Corey Pinder opened the scoring from the jump ball and rookie Sullivan Forfar sliced through the defence for a string of points. Cannons struggled to overcome the 3-2 zone defence of Marvels which contained the outside shooting and held firm inside the key. Adjustments by Coach Paul Shimmin saw Cannons build some momentum towards the end of the first, splitting the zone and opening opportunities which Rowan Coulter, Jack Wilkinson and Gabe Thatcher converted. Marvels continued to hold the initiative though and solid outside shooting from Ben Campbell and Ross Wilson further extended their lead. Again Cannons found success after an adjustment but it merely stemmed the bleed as teams traded baskets up to the buzzer. When half-time arrived Marvels had a significant lead, 29-17.

Momentum held for Marvels in the opening of the second half as Ollie Smith entered the fray, joining Forfar and Wilson with an unanswered run that extended the lead to 18-points. Most teams would collapse under the pressure of a significant deficit but Cannons have repeatedly displayed a relentless tenacity and unwillingness to surrender. This no-quit attitude powered a blistering run late in the second half that was spearheaded by Evan O’Dea and Rowan Coulter. A series of steals, intercepts and quick breaks saw Cannons slash the Marvels lead to 8-points with four minutes to go. Ross Wilson kept Marvels in contention with some excellent drives and pull-ups, despite visibly struggling with injury. Cannons continued to chip away at the lead through and two outside shots from Coulter drew them ever closer. A steal and break from Gabe Thatcher in the final minute saw the Cannons come within 3-points, and Marvels under serious pressure. Possession back in Marvels hands after the basket, there was a frantic run down of the clock as they tried to keep the ball while Cannons looked for the steal to try and draw the game level. Time worked against them though and Marvels managed to hold out to the buzzer, taking the slender win, 51-48, Cannons again putting down a marker for what will surely be a strong Senior debut next season.

The other games of the evening saw wins for Cavaliers, Jets and Wolves, all of whom are undefeated in their groups thus far. Cavaliers deployed a new pressing defence to wear down Hoops 46-24, while a five man Wolves ran the floor 63-42 against Ravens. Meanwhile, Turkeys put up a spirited fight against Jets and kept it within 2-points, 27-25 at the end of the first. Jets hit the afterburners in the second though with Peter Boussougou and Paul Kilic flying high to give them a 70-42 win.

Thursday sees the final round of the group stage in the Cup with four games at the NSC Main Hall from 19:30. Feathers will be ruffled as Turkeys play Ravens on Court 1 while Cavaliers take on OG Marvels on Court 2. Then at 20:30 Hoops will face Cannons on Court 1 while Wolves and Jets battle it out for top spot on Court 2. Spectators are welcome to attend any games with free seating available courtside.

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