by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will aim to book their place in the Semi-Final of the BBL Trophy when they’ll be hosted by the Glasgow Rocks at the Emirates Arena on the 19th of January.
The two sides last met just before the turn of the year, a fixture which ended with the Rocks walking away with a comfortable 12-point victory. Since then, the Rocks have picked up four wins in five games while the Nix have won three out of their four outings.
The winner of Sunday’s fixture will play a two-legged Semi-Final tie against the winner of the Sheffield/Newcastle match-up.
The Rocks will have plenty of firepower at their disposal. Glasgow’s top scorer and rebounder is Ali Fraser, an established offensive threat in the BBL. The Scottish forward is averaging 18.4 points-per-game and 6.6 rebounds-per-game. Dante Thorpe can also put the ball in the basket for the home side, he’s averaging 14.2 points-per-game on 60.3 FG%. Greg Pryor will go up against Parker Jackson-Cartwright in the battle of the guards. Veteran forward Gareth Murray and imposing French center, Maxime Djo Ebala will look to pose the Nix numerous problems on Sunday night.
Cheshire will come into the fixture full of confidence following their remarkable win away at the Newcastle Eagles. However, they will still only have a pocket-sized rotation available for the Quarter-Final clash. Disraeli Lufadeju was brilliant for the Nix off the bench, he will need to bring the same energy and efficiency against the Rocks. Coach Thomas will also look for more of the same from Demonte Flannigan, who picked up a second consecutive double-double (24 points, 11 rebounds) against the Eagles.
Cheshire’s lockdown defense combined with their ruthless offense helped Thomas’ side jump out to a big lead early in the fixture against Newcastle. They will have kill off the game early once more, as it will be very difficult to close out a tight game on the road with a knackered seven-man rotation. The Nix will have to play just as hard and shoot just as well in order to give themselves the best chance of advancing through to the Semi-Final stage of the BBL Trophy.
BRING THE NOISE! GO PHOENIX!