It could have gone either way, but with some frantic defensive play, Ernesford Eagles held out to deny a first win of the season for JM Grizzles.
Eagles, one of Coventry’s oldest club sides are desperate for new players, but the ones who showed up at The Bridge Sports Centre in Warwick fought as if their lives depended on it as Grizzles tried to claim that elusive victory to kick-start their season.
The end result was a narrow 47-45 win for Eagles in a game which saw the scores moving in tandem throughout, after Grizzles had recovered from a wretched start which left them 12-3 down. Coach Ian A’Kempis rotated his players regularly, giving them all court time as the two sides slugged it out, and a 26-26 half-time was followed by an almost single-handed scoring performance from Ben Clarke who took Eagles to the brink with three minutes left and an eight point advantage. But he fouled out as the tempo increased and Grizzlies pressed. Free shots resulted from the fouls, with all bar one converted by the youngsters playing alongside veteran Steve Impey and suddenly Warwick were back at 45-45.
Kareem Lee dropped one in as the seconds ticked away to put Eagles ahead once more but despite a last ditch effort, Grizzles could not land the one they wanted and Eagles landed safely.
Clarke led them with 22 points and Mauro Goncalves did his bit with 19, but it was on defense where they excelled, keeping Grizzles at bay with only Richard McMylor in double figures on 11.
Top scorer Lukasz Bolda picked up two unsportsmanlike fouls in the opening fifteen minutes of Tamworth Tigers biggest game so far which saw him leave the arena and this gave Tigers the near impossible task of getting something from their home game against high-flying Arden Griffins. It was, however, a thoroughly entertaining game which was, as usual dominated by the three-point shooting of Griffins hot-shots Luke Hatfield and Paul Roberts.
With Tigers in the hunt at 32-34 the dynamic duo let fly and hurtled to 48-67 as Tigers offense floundered. But they charged in the final quarter with a flurry of baskets getting them to within nine points before the experienced Griffins closed it out to go top, Hatfield grabbing 34 and Roberts 19.
Mixed success seems to follow Tile Hill Trojans around at the moment with the first team culling all around them and the seconds going the other way. Trojans 1 nailed Tornadoes to the mast as Ash Dickson led them to another ton, while Aylesford Hawks showed they are not to be discounted as they continued their unbeaten run with a comfortable win at Hereward College thanks largely to 45 from an impressive Ricky Fennell. Warwick China Red saw negativity as they crashed at home to Cracovia Stratford as the visitors dominated the second half to win with ease.
Division Two leaders Rugby Rage had to come from behind to beat Tile Hill Trojans 3 but eventually wore down their hosts with Guntars Trabliks leading the way on 24, and Westwood Rhinos got over the line with a 68-57 win over Nuneaton Predators.