This week, the Game of the Week team was in attendance at Portobello High School to watch the City of Edinburgh Kings play host to Boroughmuir Blaze in the Edinburgh derby. Blaze would come away as victors, defeating Kings 70-57.
Third place, Boroughmuir Blaze came into the game 3-1 after winning against Pleasance, Glasgow Storm and Stirling Knights, but falling it at the hands of Dunfermline Reign in late September. City of Edinburgh went into Friday’s fixture sitting at 5th place, having lost their season opener to Dunfermline Reign then winning against Stirling Knights and St. Mirren West College Scotland, but then losing to Sony Centre Fury.
To start off the game for the visitors, Ben Warrington would score Blaze’s first 6 points, hitting his first three shots as a couple of high pick-and-rolls freed up Mateusz Kruczyñski, causing Warrington’s defender to help over and allowing Kruczyñski to find him in space to make the shot from the elbow.
Meanwhile, Kings would also start to put points on the board. Kyle Jimenez found Paddy Campbell on a backdoor cut allowing him to get the easy basket inside. On the next possession, Calum Nicol drove to the basket and made the contested layup over his defender. A couple of plays later, Campbell found Garreth Lodge on a cut to the basket, allowing him to convert the alley-oop layup to tie the game at 6-6.
Blaze would then hit two three-pointers, as Eoghann Dover came off a Kruczyñski screen and pulled up from deep. Then on a drive to the basket, Dover found Sam Stott in the corner for the catch and shoot opportunity to give Blaze a 12-6 lead. After Lodge made two shots from the line for Kings, Ali Mackay worked his way inside for the tough finish in the post to trim the lead to just two points.
Blaze would then go on an 11-6 run to round out the quarter as they were strong on both sides of the floor, forcing turnovers and converting on the other end. Dover got it going for his team, driving into the lane for the hop step finish in traffic. John Browne found Lewis Crofts inside on two separate occasions with a perfectly placed pass as Crofts drove to the basket. As the first quarter came to a close, Blaze held a 23-16 lead over Kings.
A couple of early fouls in the second quarter by Blaze allowed Kings to get back in the game, as Jimenez and Simon Flockhart knocked down free throws to trim the score to 23-19. With the shot clock winding down, David Rowan then hit a late 3-pointer for Blaze just before the clock expired.
For a period in the second quarter, both teams struggled to score. Ben Warrington entered the game and soon made an impact, scoring on a fastbreak with a nice eurostep inside to end the scoring drought. He then hit again, as Jordan Green found him in his sweet spot at the elbow for another jumper, giving Blaze a double-digit lead for the first time in the game at 30-19.
Soon after, Eoghann Dover drove to the basket and collided with Garreth Lodge. he then fell to the floor with an injury and had to sit out the remainder of the half. Following this, Kings began to find their feet a bit on offense, as Lodge found Campbell on a fastbreak and Ryan Armour lost his man and drove into the paint for the finish to trim the deficit. Despite this, Blaze stood fast, playing good defense by double-teaming Ali Mackay in the post and shutting down Kyle Jimenez on the perimeter. As both teams went to the locker room, Blaze still held a resounding 38-27 lead over Kings.
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Warrington came out of the gate with more of the same in the second half, scoring the first two shots of the half from either side of the basket.
Blaze were consistent in the strong offense they had shown in the first half. They continued to move well as a team, allowing them to find the open man for the best shot available. Coupled with their effective defense, this allowed them to pull away in the third as Kings struggled to convert on the offensive side of the floor. Even after Kyle Jimenez knocked down a couple of free throws and Ryan Armour finished inside after faking out his defender to round out the quarter, Blaze still held a 57-40 lead going into the final quarter.
In the final period, Kings played with a bit more urgency than we had seen for the majority of the game, trimming Blaze’s lead to 61-51 by the halfway mark of the quarter. Ryan Armour made the first basket of the quarter, receiving the ball from Jimenez off of a screen and pop and knocking down the three-pointer. Paddy Campbell also added to the score, receiving the ball in the corner and pulling up from three off a feed from Jimenez.
Despite this last-ditch effort from kings, it was not enough as Blaze continued to pile on the points. It began to get very chippy towards the end of the game, resulting in both teams landing in team fouls and a number of players receiving technicals. As the game edged towards its end, Ben Warrington was fouled on three subsequent occasions sending him to the line and allowing him to further extend the lead. As the final buzzer sounded, Blaze came away as victors, winning 70-57 over the home team.
Ryan Armour finished as the top scorer for Kings with 13 points for the game, whilst Ben Warrington finished with 27 points for the evening for Blaze.
“It’s taken me about two months of the season to actually wake up,” said Warrington after the game, “It was good to hit the first few shots and then it gets slightly easier – the basket just seems bigger.”
In City of Edinburgh’s next game, they will travel away to play Pleasance BC on the 18th of October. Meanwhile, Boroughmuir Blaze will play host to St. Mirren on the 20th of October.