by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix dominated the Manchester Giants as they secured an 18-point victory away from home.
The Nix played hard all night, they dominated the rebounding battle and pick-pocketed their opponents 14 times. Jalen Hayes was on fire as he contributed with 32 points, while Parker Jackson-Cartwright also played brilliantly as he posted up an incredible triple-double.
The game got off to a sluggish start as both teams missed their first few shots. Hayes finally broke the deadlock with a make from the free-throw line. The visitors jumped out to an early 6-0 lead but the hosts replied with an immediate 5-0 run of their own. The Nix put their foot on the gas once again and built up a seven-point cushion half-way through the first quarter. Back-to-back three pointers from Hayes increased Cheshire’s lead to 11. The guests closed the quarter out well, as they went into the second period up 26-16 on the Giants. Hayes had a great quarter individually as he scored 13 points on 5-7 FG.
Manchester started the second quarter with a 4-0 run but the Nix responded well as they restored their 10 point advantage at the 4:50 mark of the quarter after a vicious dunk from Hayes. The Giants dominated the mid-way point of the quarter, they reduced Cheshire’s advantage to just four points as the Nix struggled to make shots and gave up easy baskets at the other end. Ben Thomas’ side didn’t close the half too well as they struggled to rebound and defend but thanks to a Louis Sayers three-pointer in the dying seconds of the half, the team went into the locker-room up 44-36.
Both teams started the second half slowly, Jackson-Cartwright scored the first basket of third quarter at the 8:09 mark. The Giants scored just four points at the half-way point of the quarter thanks to great defensive plays, particularly from the big-man Michael Ochereobia. The Nix jumped out to their biggest lead of the game at the 2:39 mark of the quarter after Ben Mockford connected on a three-point attempt. The lead swelled to 16 points by the end of the third period of play, as the Nix went into the last 10 minutes up 62-46.
Both sides cancelled themselves out in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Cheshire increased their advantage to a game-high 20 points after a couple of makes from the free-throw line by Jackson-Cartwright. As the Nix eased off, Manchester took full advantage and played their best basketball of the game. However it was too little, too late from the Giants as they weren’t able to overturn the deficit. The Nix came out victorious, 82 – 64.
Key Team Stat: 50 rebounds. Cheshire won the rebounding battle convincingly, they also out-assisted their opponents 18 to 12. However, their three-point shot was off tonight, they hit just six of their 28 attempts.