by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix booked their place in the Quarter-Finals of the BBL Trophy after they defeated the Worcester Wolves.
The Nix did a great job on both ends of the floor as they thoroughly controlled the fixture. Defensive masterclasses by Michael Ochereobia and Demonte Flannigan combined with the usual offensive avalanches from Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Ben Mockford propelled Cheshire into the next round of the Trophy.
Phoenix started the game well as they went on a 6-3 run inside the first four minutes of the opening quarter. The visitors replied with a 6-0 run of their own which gave them the lead at the mid-way point of the first. An impressive 12-5 stretch during the closing minutes of the quarter gave the Nix an 18-14 lead going into the second period of play.
Louis Sayers opened the second quarter with a crafty, heavily contested lay-up. Jackson-Cartwright followed up with a shot-clock beating two-pointer of his own which helped the Nix create an eight-point cushion at the 8:22 mark. Cheshire extended their advantage to double digits following PJC’s fast-break lay-up. Back-to-back three-pointers by Disraeli Lufadeju meant Phoenix’s lead stood at 16 points with 1:25 remaining in the first half. The Nix went into half-time up 50-33 after a brilliant display in the opening 20 minutes of the game.
The two squads looked in the mood for another high-scoring quarter after they traded three-point buckets during the first two plays of the third quarter. The Nix kept their opponents at bay during the third period of play as their 17-point lead remained intact for the majority of the quarter. Demonte Flannigan extended Phoenix’s lead to 20 with less than a minute left in the quarter, however, a late three-point make by the visitors trimmed Cheshire’s lead back to 17, heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Wolves applied some pressure on the Nix at the start of the final quarter, as they embarked on a 6-0 run which was only stopped at the 7:00 mark by a Jalen Hayes trey-ball. The Nix used Hayes’ three-pointer as a catalyst for a 6-0 run which ended any hopes of a fourth-quarter comeback Worcester might’ve had. Cheshire finished the game in a professional manner and ran out triumphant, 88-69.
KEY TEAM STAT: 54.7% FG. The Nix had a good shooting night, as they made more than half of their shots from the field along with 36% from three-point range. They limited their opponents to just 36.6% FG on the night and also forced Worcester into 10 turnovers.