This Friday, we will be in Grangemouth as Sony Centre Fury play host to City of Edinburgh Kings in the Men’s semi-final of the Scottish Cup. Which team wins this game will determine who goes on to the Scottish Cup Final to play one of either Boroughmuir Blaze or Pleasance BC in January.
The home team, Sony Centre Fury have had a strong season so far in the SBC league, sitting in joint-1st position with St. Mirren WCS with a 9-1 record. Fury’s three-point shooting trio of Adam Hammershmidt, Eddy Leginas and Keith Bunyan form one of the biggest threats in the league from deep, each averaging 19.1, 18.1 and 11.3 points per game respectively. In Fury’s run to the semi-final they edged out Dunfermline Reign 96-91 as well as comfortably defeating Glasgow Storm 75-44 in the quarter finals.
We spoke with John Bunyan ahead of Friday’s fixture;
“I expect this to be a very competitive game – the Kings pushed us all the way in this season’s league game at Grangemouth and we had to come up with some big plays in the final minutes to take that match. There is no reason to think it’s not going to be a tough game for both teams and with the home tie we will certainly be looking for our fans, as they did in that league game to give us the energy and motivation to get the win.”
“There are a couple of areas we have talked about strengthening as the season has progressed and in defence we have looked at some options out with our normal style that may be of use. Our team are focused on being ‘a team’ and as usual it will not be down to one or two players to bring us through the match, but whoever is on court will know their role and responsibility – we have a great team ethic and the players respect and work for each other – and they are all looking forward to the match.”
Fury captain, Keith Bunyan also had the following to say ahead of his team’s cup fixture;
“The team are excited and looking forward to another big home game. We need to be ready to do whatever it takes to get a win. Cup games bring a different atmosphere and energy to the game so we need to be motivated and up for it right from the first tip. We have had great success in previous years in the Cup and we want to give it our all to try and defend the Cup for our team and amazing fans.”
The visitors, City of Edinburgh Kings – who sit in 4th place in the league with a 7-3 record -had a rough start to the season but have begun to figure it out in recent weeks, and as a result they are coming off a 6-game winning streak ahead of their Cup fixture on Friday. Point guard, Kyle Jimenez has been the team’s leading scorer so far this season, averaging 16.6 points to go along with 4.6 assists per game. The team’s center, Ali Mackay has missed a number of games due to injury this season, but this has not stopped him averaging 12.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in eight games. With a number of shooters in the team, any of Kings’ players can get it going when they’re feeling their shot. On the way to semi-final, Kings defeated Ayshire Tornadoes 90-65 and upset top of the league side, St. Mirren in the quarter final.
We caught up with Kings’ head coach, Craig Nicol ahead of Friday’s game;
“Scottish Cup semi-finals are always tough matches, no matter who your opposition is. We should have seen out our game against Fury earlier this season at Grangemouth in the league, but we’ve learnt from that. We know they have some talented players and their fans will be right behind them as always. But we’re on a really good run at the moment, we’ve won six games in a row by playing as a team on both ends of the floor but especially defensively where we have been superb at times.”
“Whether Ali Mackay will play is touch and go at the minute but we still have a deep bench that we’ve been able to turn to all season and some exciting young players coming through and really contributing to the men’s team. We’ll be looking to continue our recent form on Friday and hopefully take us into the final.”
Kings’ forward, Ryan Armour also had the following to say ahead of Friday’s game;
“We know that we can beat Fury, we beat them in both games last season and we were unlucky not to win earlier this season. I think we play our best basketball against the better teams in the league, you just need to look at our two performances against St. Mirren this season – we’re the only team they have lost to this season. There is no doubt we’ll be up for this one on Friday, the atmosphere should be good given it’s a semi-final. I’ve not played in a Men’s cup final before and I’ll do everything to make sure I don’t miss out this year.”
Sony Centre Fury will host City of Edinburgh Kings at 8.00pm on Friday the 1st of December
If you’re at the game, let us know by tweeting us @basketballscot and using #SBCGotW