Cavaliers best ravens to secure playoff spot

MicroGaming Cavaliers took on Ravens in a disappointing affair on the NSC hardwood this week. The young Ravens have shown great potential in a number of match ups this season and, after a unexpected victory over Cavs in the Cup Competition earlier this year, they had high hopes for this match-up. Cavaliers were keen to prove they were still a force to be reckoned with after the loss of key guard  Sergio Arboyela and a strong performance against Jets last week boosted their confidence from the get go. An unforced error on the jump ball may have given Ravens the first possession but they were denied the first basket by solid inside defence and a quick return which saw Andy Cregeen light up the scoreboard.

The Ravens worked an initial response from Ronan Thompson, relying on speed and agility to find a path to the basket for points and shooting fouls. It was a short lived run though as Cavs locked down the inside and ran a combination of breaks and quick movement set plays to dominate on offence. Dave Minay, Daniel Dunajewski and Baxter Chamberlain all joined Cregeen on the scoresheet as Cavaliers built a significant lead in a punishing first half. Ravens were feathers were truly ruffled by the strong opposition and a series of unfortunate choices on offence heightened the difference between the sides. At the end of the first quarter Cavaliers were well in control with a 27-point lead, 34-7.

The second half saw a better performance from Ravens with Thompson again delivering as Cormac Ewan played strong on the inside and mid-range. A more co-ordinated defensive effort denied Cavaliers offensive boards and led to some nice steals which Ravens used to their advantage. It was still an unsettled performance though and often devolved into a static offence or a single pass and shot over a well established Cavaliers defence. Cavaliers for their part held the line, taking the chance to work on some set plays and movement which shared the scoring but slowed their pace.

Ravens took the half but, by a single point in each quarter, the game was never in doubt. At the final buzzer Cavaliers had another notch in the W column, 49-29. The latest win sees Cavaliers secure their position in the play offs as there aren’t sufficient games remaining for any team to challenge their 3rd place finish. With only 2 weeks until the finals Wolves and Jets will not fight for 1st & 2nd while it’s all to play for between Ravens, Turkeys and Hoops for 4th place and the last spot in the play-off finals.

The second game of the evening was played as a friendly between Forget Me Not Jets and Turkeys. Both teams have suffered from injuries in recent weeks and a combination of this and the Easter break left Turkeys short benched for the game. As such the match goes down as a win by default for Jets – putting Wolves and Jets on equal footing and setting up a clash for top of the team when the teams face each other next week.

Playing as a friendly gave the opportunity for Tom Crosbie, visiting the island from Canada, to join the Turkeys on the floor. Tom is the son of Turkeys veteran Gary Crosbie, who played for Turkeys for many years and was a key part of their dominant league performances in the memorable days of the Summerland Basketball League. Gary also represented the island in the sport and was a big presence in local basketball until he moved to Canada a number of years ago. Unfortunately Gary passed away in 2020 so it was a fitting tribute for Tom to be able to suit up and play with his father’s former team mates and to prove his ability in the local league. Racking up 28-points – including six 3-pointers – in a good natured friendly, it was clear to all that Gary’s solid basketball ability and IQ has been passed down to his son. The Isle of Man Basketball Association continues to wish it’s best to the entire Crosbie family.

The next two weeks will see an intensive schedule on Thursdays as three games a week are played to round out the regular season ahead of the playoff finals and teams jostle for position in the league table. Court 1 will see MicroGaming Cavaliers face Turkeys at 18:20 then at 20:00 Wolves play Forget Me Not Jets while Ravens take on Hoops. All games are played in the NSC Main Hall and spectators are welcome courtside.

The details of the league finals have been released with both Junior and Senior finals to be played concurrently on the evening of Thursday 4th May. Junior League will round out its season with a trio of games tipping off from 18:00 as the two semi-finals will be immediately followed by the Junior Final. The Senior teams then take to the court with the winners of the play-offs facing each other in what should be an exciting conclusion to the 2022/23 season. All games will be played on the Arena Court in the NSC Main Hall and courtside seating will be available for any spectators who wish to attend.

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