by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix suffered their first loss in the regular season away to the Surrey Scorchers.
It was another great game that went down to the wire. Unfortunately, the Nix found themselves on the losing side on this occasion. Lovell Cook led the Scorchers with 18 points and seven rebounds while Jalen Hayes and Ben Mockford combined for 41 points for the Nix.
The bench mob did their job again as Disraeli Lufadeju and Demonte Flannigan combined for 19 points and 14 rebounds. A few defensive lapses by Coach Thomas’ men helped Surrey secure the narrow win.
The Nix started the game with a 7-3 run before technical difficulties halted the game. Surrey went on a 6-0 run after play resumed and gained a two-point lead at the 5:39 mark. The Scorchers pushed their advantage to nine following a three-point make by Henry Wilkins. The visitors went into the second quarter down 21-25 after their opponents took control of the quarter at the midway point.
Phoenix tied the game shortly after the restart thanks to Hayes’ hook-shot. Jalen’s scoring surge helped the Nix create a six-point advantage with six minutes left in the first half. Surrey managed to draw level at 34-34 after they kept the Nix scoreless for three minutes. Triples from Hayes and Mockford helped the Nix reinstate their six-point cushion however a late 8-0 run by the Scorchers meant that the hosts went into the locker-rooms up 44-42.
Surrey grabbed three offensive rebounds in a row to start off the second half. This helped push their original two-point lead to a seven-point advantage at the midway point of the third quarter. The two sides traded baskets for the majority of the penultimate quarter, with neither team managing to create a significant run for themselves. The hosts went into the final quarter up 65-64 following Wilkins’ last-second lay-up.
Cheshire regained the lead through a 3-0 burst at the start of the fourth quarter. Ben Thomas’ men extended their advantage to five points, with just 4:40 left however Surrey clawed back into the game following another late, 7-2 run. The Scorchers found themselves up by two with less than 90 seconds left in the ball game. A three-point shot by Mockford gave the Nix a marginal one-point lead with 50 seconds left, however Devontavious Payne answered back with a couple of free-throws which proved to be decisive for Surrey as they obtained a narrow 89-88 win.
KEY TEAM STAT: 50 REB. The Nix dominated the rebounding battle, however their shooting let them down, as 40% FG and 30% 3PT wasn’t enough to defeat the Scorchers.