The action heated up once more this week with our professional sides both fighting intense battles ahead of the BBL and WBBL Playoffs. Our Scotland National Squads also had the first preparation games of the International season. Many of our teams travelled to Manchester last week to take on their English counterparts. Scotland then hosted Ireland's U15 Women at Oriam over the weekend where they faced our U15 and U16 Women's squads.
Glasgow Rocks 92 - 61 Leeds Force
The Rocks opened their key double-header Easter weekend against a Leeds Force side that sit in 2nd bottom of the table. Rocks, bolstered by the return of Gareth Murray and Anthony Elechi, were dominant early on, allowing them to rest their starters for much of the game ahead of their crunch match against Plymouth Raiders on Sunday.
Glasgow Rocks 88 - 84 Plymouth Raiders
This was the big one for Glasgow against a strong Plymouth side that recently reached the BBL Trophy Final. Rocks certainly didn't find this match as easy as the Leeds game, trailing by 12 at half time due to a poor 2nd quarter. Even going into the 4th, Rocks still trailed by 6. However, Glasgow mounted a great comeback in the 4th quarter including a go-ahead 3 with less than 2 minutes to play that in the end was the game-winning play as they held out for a 4-point victory.
Glasgow Rocks can now secure 3rd place if they win their final 2 games this weekend. This would be the best finish for Glasgow Rocks in recent seasons.
Caledonia Pride 72 - 59 Manchester Mystics
Pride have hit form at the perfect point of the season, holding one of the best records in the league through March and April,. However, Scotland's only Women's Professional team are in a dog fight against Cardiff Met Archers for the 8th and final WBBL Playoff spot.
Pride went into Sunday's game knowing it was a must win game to keep their dreams of reaching the Playoffs in their debut season alive. Pride have been a strong first quarter team all season long and this was no different as they played some great team basketball giving them a 15-7 lead after the first quarter.
The top 5 Mystics side then found their form, looking stronger than Pride in the 2nd and 3rd quarters as they went on to bring the game back, before taking a small lead. Pride are becoming known for their strong displays in the 4th quarter and they showed it once again as they won the final quarter 23-8 to give themselves a comfortable 13 point win in their final home game of the season.
Unfortunately, Cardiff were also able to take their must-win game against Oaklands just hours later forcing the chase for the final spot to the last day of the season.
Pride must win their game on the road at Team Northumbria on Friday evening and then if they can do that, have a dreaded wait until Saturday afternoon where Cardiff will host the 2nd placed Leicester Riders, in which Pride would need Leicester to take the victory to secure the 8th Playoff spot.
Following a last-minute broadcasting schedule, Pride's game will no longer be broadcast live on the BBC but instead will be broadcast LIVE on Facebook. We will also be live from Newcastle, keeping you up to date on all of the action.
International Friendlies - Manchester
England U15 Men 82 - 55 Scotland U16 Men
England U15 Men 57 - 44 Scotland U16 Men
Our U16 Men came up against what was a big England side mid-week. In the opening encounter, despite the size difference, Scotland were very competitive in the first-half, only trailing 43-40. The second-half saw England blow the Scots away, leading to an eventual 27-point defeat.
The 2nd match-up saw Scotland trail by a heavy amount early on after losing the opening quarter 26-7, however from then on Scotland improved and were the stronger team in the game, showing a great account of themselves while only losing out by 13, a nice finish to their trip.
England U15 Women 54 - 47 Scotland U16 Women
England U15 Women 53 - 58 Scotland U16 Women
The U16 Women were well matched over the 2 games with their English opponents. England pushed out to a 7 point lead in the opening game, which Scotland, despite multiple attempts, just couldn't claw themselves back from, losing out by 7 in the end. The next day, it looked as though it would be a similar tale, with England leading after 1, however the determined Scots then recovered to win the next 2 quarters giving them a 7 point lead going into the last period. Scotland then managed to protect their lead and hold out in a toughly fought game, giving them a 1-1 record for their trip.
England U17 Men 73 - 65 Scotland U18 Men
England U17 Men 76 - 73 Scotland U18 Men
Scotland's U18 Men found themselves up against a strong U17 side boasting many players with outstanding athleticism. However, it was the Scots who got off to a great start leading by 12 at the half. England's size and speed started to show as the game went on. England were able to put together a great come-back to take the lead and then held out in the final moments to defeat the Scots.
On day 2, Scotland were looking to grab some revenge against the Auld Enemy but unfortunately for them, the game didn't start as they would have hoped with England holding a near 20-point lead in the first half. This time, it was the Scottish side's turn to make a comeback of their own as they brought the game back to just 3 points. Scotland fell just short of an unprecedented comeback victory. Despite 2 defeats, the U18 men showed their ability to compete with their neighbours.
England U17 Women 29 - 63 Scotland U18 Women
England U17 Women 45 - 59 Scotland U18 Women
Our U18 Women had an impressive visit down South where they were able to put on a very strong defensive display over the 2 games. Scotland were able to hold England to just 29 points for the game.
The second tie between the sides saw the Scots have more of a challenge as the English trailed by just 5 at the half, and refused to give up, being within touching distance right until the closing moments of the game. None-the-less, a very successful journey for the U18 Women, the only Scottish team to record two victories.
International Friendlies - Edinburgh
Scotland U15 Women 34 - 83 Ireland U15 Women
Ireland brought over three separate U15 squads to challenge their Scottish counterparts. Scotland faced them with two separate U15 squads and our U16 Women's squad fresh from their trip to Manchester. The opening game saw Ireland stun Scotland with a relentless full court press which the Scots struggled to break in the first meaning that they were trailing heavily from almost the outset. The teams were comparable in shooting percentage but thanks to the volume of Scotland turnovers, along with Irish offensive rebounds, this led to the scoreline in the end.
Scotland U16 Women 49 - 57 Ireland U15 Women
It was a similar story for the U16's who were able to play some high-quality offence, holding a higher 2-point, 3-point and free-throw percentage than their Irish opponents. However, Scotland committed more turnovers and were dominated on the rebounds despite being a year older. This meant that even though Scotland led for most of the game, eventually the rebounds made their mark as the Irish finished the stronger team winning the second half 37-22.
Scotland U15 Women 46 - 82 Ireland U15 Women
In the final game, we thought we were in for a thriller, with Scotland trailing by just 2 at half-time, playing very well. The second-half saw Ireland race out of the blocks with an effective 24-2 third quarter. The Scots were further defeated in the 4th giving the heavy scoreline defeat, perhaps not a true reflection of the whole game. Again, the 2 main statistics where Scotland lost to the Irish were committing too many turnovers, and giving up too many offensive rebounds.