Cheshire Phoenix began life at the Cheshire Oaks Arena on Sunday in emphatic style with a second pre-season victory in a row, defeating Irish Super League opponents Templeogue 121-51.
It was a dominant start from the Phoenix, stretching to a 21-7 lead midway through the first quarter, as John Lavery’s side controlled the tempo and spread the ball well on offense and were quick sharp on the break. Templeogue attempted to cut the deficit that had been built by the Nix through Mike Bonaparte, but ended the period 33-19.
Former Nix player Donatas Visockis also made a welcome return to the side having joined up with the squad this week and made the first points of the second quarter as Cheshire looked to lock down the visiting Irish side, who suffered a 76-59 defeat on the previous Saturday night against our first home league opponents, local rivals Manchester Giants.
Despite having only come together in recent days, the key message of what Cheshire is all about as a team both on and off court has sunk in quickly, as the workload was shared happily between players, holding the visitors to just six points in the quarter and extending their lead 61-25 at half-time.
It was more of the same after the break to please the Phoenix faithful in the brand new matching blue bleachers. Both Williams and McGonagill impressing from beyond the arc, the latter making three in succession as the gap grew larger still to effectively extinguish any hope Templeogue had of staying in the game, going into the fourth quarter 98-40.
The visitors tried in vain to put runs together, but it was to be a first home victory in our new Cheshire Oaks Arena, with young British rookies including Sedale Hanson-Young, Ben Goodacre and Max Jones all getting court time as the game played out to a 121-51 scoreline.
Jordan Williams top scored for the Phoenix with 35 points, not missing a shot from three-point range, and showed a glimpse of the dunks we will be expecting to see as the season moves forward.
Sean McGonagill chipped in with 23 points, whilst Akeem Ellis took 16 points with eight assists on top. Jeff Dirkin also turned in a fantastic double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Match report and image taken from Cheshire Chronicle, reported by Rob Jeffries.