Basketball: Crucial opening win for Titans
TMF TITANS levelled the scores in the Jersey Basketball League Division I play-off last night with a 61-57 victory against Lyons Estates at Langford.
One game behind in the best-of-five showdown before the start of play due to their inferior league placing (they finished second in the regular season), Titans were in no doubt that a win was almost crucial, and they began strongly thanks to effective inside offense from Guillaume Hoareau.
Guillaume Hoareau 23
James Reed 12
Jake Michel 11
Pawel Zalewski 20
John Lane 10
Sean Pallot 8
Lyons bounced back after a timeout to move ahead by the end of the first quarter – they led 18-15 – but this advantage was cut to just one point by half-time as their physical approach cost them; allowing Titans 11 free throw attempts.
Titans, the 2013/14 league champions, moved in front after the break with an 8-0 run, and although Lyons were again effective following a timeout from player-coach Pawel Zalewski – they clawed their way back before moving two points up in the fourth quarter – a crucial three-pointer from Michel and free throws from Hoareau ensured the series stood at one game apiece going into Monday night's encounter.
Although disappointed with his side's inability to see out the game, Zalewski, who is Jersey's team manager for the NatWest Island Games (where they will meet Gibraltar and Gotland in the group stages), said he is happy that many of those in contention for a spot in the Jersey 2015 squad are getting competitive fixtures.
'It is really important to have games at a high level and last night we had the top seven or eight players on the Island playing against each other in a game that went to the wire,' said Zalewski.
'It was very close, and that is how you progress; playing in those close games.
'This year we are lucky to have a lot of competition within our players. Usually whoever turns up to training gets into the squad, but now we have 15 or 16 in contention, and I need to pick 12. It is a good problem for me.
There will be a couple of unhappy faces come June, but that's sport.'
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