The last Playoff Final of Day One saw the Senior Men take to the court as Sony Centre Fury took on old rivals, Edinburgh Kings. A thriller was set as the two teams prepared in a fiery atmosphere.
Fury got out to a lead early behind their ‘Big 3’ dominance from Bantu Burroughs, Adam Hammerschmidt and Boris Matrakov, drilling the ball deep under the basket. A battle of two top coaches, would see the defensive and offensive strategies become a chess game as the two teams tried early to figure each other out.
Kings own big man Ali MacKay proved a threat on the interior, but Fury remained strong as they finished the opening quarter up 22-14.
A sharpshooting start to the second period saw both teams keep their own side of the scoreboard ticking over. Kings’ Konrad Kantorski had the highlight of the half as he hit a step back three to cut his sides deficit.
A surge of dominance on the interior came from Fury as Ross Gibson and Hammerschmidt both skilfully barged their way to the cup. Perimeter shooting from Burroughs and stalwart Keith Bunyan ensured Fury stayed on top as they came near the end of the half.
Standing at 10 points, the deficit could have grown with Fury having the final shot to end the half, but a strong defensive presence from Kings ensured it stayed only at 10.
Falkirk Fury led 46-36 at the half.
Fury maintained their control on the Playoff Final as they clamped down on defence and forced kings into working hard for every point. Their offence was efficient as well as punishing as they rained it in from behind the arc to open up an 18 point lead.
Kantorski again added some flare as he came off a screen to nail a three to cut the lead to 15. With the gathering momentum, Kings kept pushing the issue on offence and tightened up on defence which let them halve the initial lead all the way down to 9.
The momentum stayed with Kings as they cut the lead further way down into the single digits. A final push from the Fury bench pushed their lead back to 6 to end the third quarter.
Fury up 59-53 going into the fourth period.
Ali MacKay nailed a huge three to start the fourth period on Edinburgh’s first possession that sent the crowd wild. A three point game, everything was to play for.
An exciting fourth period was highlighted by, again, Konrad Kantorski, nailing a tough fadeaway as well as getting the and-1, left his team trailing by 1. Teammate Ali MacKay later tied the game up at 69, after a strong drive to the basket, draped in defence, he finished right at the hoop.
The final minute came down to the wire as Fury took the lead on a strong drive from Hammerschmidt. Up by a single point, Ross Gibson stood on the line with just under 17s remaining, hitting 1 from his 2 free throws, he gave Fury a 2 point lead.
A time out from Kings coach Craig Nicol gave them a chance to draw up a play that resulted in Kantorski nailing a clutch three to put them up 1.
The game winner.
Edinburgh Kings were crowned the 2019 Men’s Playoff Champions taking down Sony Centre Fury 74-73.
Report courtesy of The Church of Hoops