by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix trashed the depleted Plymouth City Patriots in the last game of the year at the EPSV.
Despite a huge 30-point, 14-rebound double-double from Rashad Hassan, the Patriots failed to obtain their first win of the season, as the Nix routed them by a season-best 51 points. Paul James only had seven players at his disposal, while Ben Thomas fielded a 12-man rotation, with each player contributing in the blow-out victory.
The Nix got off to a flying start, as they established a 17-to-3 lead in the opening four minutes of the game, however the Patriots showed heart as they closed the gap to seven by the end of the first quarter. Kofi Josephs scored 11 of Plymouth 20 first quarter points. The British forward connected on some outrageous three-pointers which helped his side stay within touching distance of the hosts.
The hosts went into the break with a comfortable 15-point cushion as they added another 28 points before half-time, with most of the scoring coming from the back-court of Larry Austin and Namon Wright. The visitors delivered another 20-point quarter, as they managed to pierce Phoenix’s defence on multiple occasions.
Ben Thomas’ side came out of the locker room with the objective of embarrassing their opponents and that’s exactly what they did. The Nix played suffocating defence as they restricted their opponents to just eight points and did not let their offensive potency slip, as they increased their lead to 35 after adding another 28 points in the penultimate quarter.
Josh McSwiggan scored 10 of his 17 total points in the final frame, as the Nix flexed their offensive prowess by adding 37 fourth quarter points to bring their total up to a season-high 120. Robbie Graham drew the loudest cheer of the night after he drilled a three-point shot at the 2:55 mark, while Matthew Williamson assisted Austin on the final basket of the night, which iced the score at 120-69 in favour of the Cheshire Phoenix.
The Nix shot 53% from the field and 36% from three-point range, however they struggled to convert their freebies as they made just 9-of-15 of their shits from the line. Cheshire accumulated 37 assists on 49 made baskets and committed just eight turnovers (zero in the second half).
Despite playing just 21 minutes, Austin tallied a 21-point, 10-assist double-double, which also included five rebounds, two steals and zero turnovers. The American point-guard shot 61% from the field, 50% from deep and 80% from the foul line.
Noah Dickerson delivered another solid performance, as he totalled 13 points, 15 rebounds and a couple of steals, whilst shooting 60% from the floor.
Wright supplied the hosts with 20 points, six rebounds and a couple of assists, whilst shooting 61% from the field and 57% from three-point territory. The former Missouri & Colorado guard finished with a game-high +33 Plus/Minus.
Radwan Bakkali was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field, as he added 10 points and hauled in four rebounds in just 15 minutes, while Kyle Carey also finished with double-digit points (11) off the bench.
Kofi Josephs played the full 40 minutes and finished as Plymouth’s second best scorer, with 19 points, however he missed 15 of his 22 attempts from the field, was blocked on three occasions and turned the ball over twice.