Taunton Tigers are hitting a rich vein of form just at the right time. On Sunday they won their third straight game and, in doing so, became the first team this season to complete the league double over a very strong Manchester Magic side.
You can watch the full game video here or View it on Vimeo. The match report continues below.
One of the keys to the game was the intensity and effectiveness of Tigers' defence. Manchester were held to their lowest score of the season (the previous lowest being 65 in a winning effort against Reading) and made only 7 of 31 2 point shots in the game. It was only through hitting 11 shots from beyond the 3 point arc that they stayed in the game.
The first quarter was high scoring and evenly contested. Magic hit 6 of their 3 point shots in the period (3 from captain Stefan Gill) but Taunton came through with a narrow 26 – 25 advantage.
Manchester edged ahead by a single point early in second quarter period, but that was the only time they held the lead in the match. Both teams found scoring extremely difficult in the period, as the defensive work rate increased, and they only managed a remarkably low 7 points each. Tigers' Captain, Paul Yabsley, picked up 5 of those points himself.
After the half-time break, it was the home side that made the decisive move. Manchester scored another 3 pointer, but the Tigers' defence dominated the next 7 minutes during which their opponents didn't manage to score. This laid the foundations for a 13 – 0 run after which Taunton never looked back.
Chris Page led the Tigers in both scoring (24 points) and rebounds (12) but this was a win secured by everyone in the team concentrating on their roles. Coach Tom Kambouris was understandably proud of his side,
“This game unfolded similarly to the last time we played Manchester before Christmas. We went into both games with the same defensive objectives. Like in the first game, we did a very good job of keeping our focus on those objectives.”
“To complete the regular season double against one of the best basketball programmes in the country is a significant accomplishment for our Club. Manchester's consistent winning record over the years is a benchmark that the Taunton Tigers Men's Team aspire to replicate. We still have much work to do this season, but I am proud that this group of players were able to deliver this particular achievement to Taunton.”
The win ensures Tigers of a place in the play-offs next month. It also moves them up to 6th place in the league, still in with a chance of a top-four finish which would secure a home match in the first round.