by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix’s five-game winning streak came to an end following defeat at the hands of the Glasgow Rocks.
The Rocks played better for the majority of the game, but they were given a real scare in the fourth quarter when the Nix came very close to making a famous comeback, as they reduced Glasgow’s advantage to just four points. Parker Jackson-Cartwright had a good night as he scored 25 points on just 13 attempts, while Ben Mockford continued his fine form with 19 points on 11 attempts.
Both sides cancelled each other out in the opening three minutes of the game, as they accumulated five points a-piece. The visitors eventually pulled away as they worked themselves a five-point cushion at the 5:14 mark of the first quarter on the back of a couple of good plays from Greg Pryor. The Rocks extended their lead to 11 points at the 3:10 mark after Pryor connected on an attempt from deep. The Nix played poorly for the remainder of the quarter and found themselves down 13 – 29 heading into the second.
The Nix started the second period of play with a 6-2 run, but their opponents answered back quickly with a 5-0 run of their own. Phoenix battled hard on the offensive end, but were sloppy on the defence and particularly on the glass, as they allowed the Rocks numerous second chance opportunities during the quarter. A three-point basket from Parker Jackson-Cartwright at the mid-way point of the quarter reduced Phoenix’s deficit to 12 points but the home side weren’t able to cut into Glasgow advantage any further before the half-time break. The Scots went into the locker-room up 47-28 after a ‘Hail-Mary’ three-point shot from Jonny Bunyan connected just as the buzzer sounded.
The visitors continued their brilliant display during the third quarter, as Gareth Murray and Maxime Djo Ebala dominated the paint and secured crucial offensive rebounds. Despite Phoenix’s efforts to claw back into the game, Glasgow were very resilient and managed to even extend their lead half-way through the penultimate quarter. The Nix closed the quarter well and reduced the initial 19-point deficit to 17 points as a result of a few impressive hustle plays from the home side.
Ben Mockford knocked down a tough three-point shot to start the final quarter. Jalen Hayes followed up with a four-point scoring surge which meant Glasgow’s lead was cut down to single-digits. Disraeli Lufadeju’s steal and fast-break dunk brought the Nix within seven points of their opponents. Mockford’s two makes from the charity stripe at the 6:10 mark meant that the Rocks’ lead was reduced to just five points. The Nix fought bravely during the closing minutes of the game but Glasgow’s initial lead proved too difficult to overcome. The Scottish side were the better team for three quarters of the game and won the fixture 88-78.
KEY TEAM STAT: 86% FT. The Nix done a good job drawing fouls and they converted their attempts at the free-throw line too. Unfortunately their shot-making and rebounding let them down against a very efficient Rocks side.