MANCHESTER Giants continue their winning streak as they clinched a win in overtime to beat bottom of the league Bristol Flyers 82-80 last night.
After a shaky start to the season, the Giants were determined to carry on their recent form against the Flyers who had so far only won one game out eight.
Giants latest signing Samuel Toluwase was again on top form becoming the team’s highest scorer securing 28 of the home teams points.
The game got off to a great start for the Giants as Toluwase opened the scoring with a quick two-pointer in the first quarter’s opening moments.
The Flyers kept the pressure on the Giants though with some very close shots coming in quick and fast from the away team. This didn’t faze the Giants though with Moritz Lanegger weaving his way through three Flyers players for another easy two points.
Although they dominated the first quarter, the Giants kept giving away easy points to the visitors allowing them to recover from a 14 point trail to finish the first quarter 16-12, a much smaller lead than the Giants would have been hoping for.
Brilliant win from @McrGiants tonight! Such an exciting game I couldn't sit still ???⛹
— Leeanne Drummond (@LeeanneSD) November 20, 2016
As the second quarter rolled around, the packed crowd were back in their seats and again Toluwase opened the scoring with two free throws to give the Giants a 4 point lead over the Flyers.
Their lead continued for the quarter as they took their time to use the space on the courT and managed to not give away as many easy points as they did in the first.
The Flyers had more bad luck as Daniel Edozie, made three close shots but for nothing to come of it. He made up for it a little later on however as he made the first Slam-Dunk of the game, giving the team another crucial two points.
The Giants were looking like the likely winners by the end of the first half, never falling behind in the scoring and taking a nine point lead over the away team to go into the second half 35-26.
The Flyers weren’t going home without a fight however as the third quarter opened with two quick three pointers, one of which came off the back of a fantastic run from Hameed Ali, one of the Flyers signings for the 2016 season.
The visitors kept attacking as another five points were theirs meaning that they took their first lead of the game.
The home team kept fighting though with some fantastic defence from centre Ben Webster, who made some crucial blocks to keep the Flyers at bay.
A last minute three point shot from Richard Bell secured the Giants a ten point lead over the Flyers with the third quarter ending 59-49.
All that the Giants needed to do now was keep their cool and not make too many fouls and it seemed the game was theirs.
As the final quarter started, both teams were cautious with their shots and passes, neither wanting to give away vital points that could determine the result of the match.
The pressure was on for both sides as there was only shot made, which came from Michael Vigor in the first 4 minutes of the final period.
As the last 5 minutes rolled around, the shots were coming in thick and fast, with multiple points coming from both teams. With thirteen seconds left, the Flyers made two free shots to close the gap to 71-69.
The Giants were starting to quiver as Toluwase could only make one of his free throws to give the home side a three point lead 72-69.
The Flyers were determined to throw everything they had at the Giants though as an incredible last-second shot by Hameed Ali took the game to a draw 72-72 at full time.
You could cut the tension with a knife courtside as Overtime was announced. This was it, the final push from both teams to bring home a much needed win.
As both teams pushed for an early lead, the giants made an early error as Toluwase fell on top of Flyers Ali, giving the away side their second lead of the game to take the points to 72-74.
The pressure was mounting on both sides as easy shots were missed.
With 12 seconds left on the clock, it was the Giants Michael Lanegger that scored the home sides crucial last two points easily making two free throws.
@McrGiants what a game!!! So tense but so good! 3 wins in a row! Team coming together well now!!
— Sarah Wilde (@sarahwilde17) November 20, 2016
The final points came from the Flyers though as two points were theirs with only one second left on the clock. It wasn’t enough though as the Giants were still leading by two, meaning that they had now won their third game in a row 82-80.
After the match Jerrelle Okoro had this to say.
“It feels good to have won three games in a row because a lot of teams put us out of the league, saying that we weren’t going to win a game all season, so it’s nice to have three back-to-back. It shows that we are contenders in the league”
Their next match is against fourth place London Lions, but this doesn’t seem to faze Okoro.
“We’re going to prepare for the match the same as always, we’re gonna scout the team and we’re gonna come to the game ready. We don’t underestimate no teams, but we don’t give them too much respect”.
By Liam Shaw