A convincing 100 – 81 away win against Huddersfield Heat propelled the Taunton Tigers to the giddy heights of the National Play-off semi-finals. They will now have to travel back up to the North East to play the Sheffield Sabres this Saturday at 7.00pm. Tigers got off to a great start when their pressure defence and fast break surprised Huddersfield early as Taunton opened up a 9 – 2 early lead, with Graham Jones dominating early on.
The scouting report was clear about the potential of former BBL star Jason Swaine following his one-man demolition of Loughborough the previous weekend and he lived up to his reputation with two early long range 3 point shots. Assistant Coach John Abbott though was always confident that the depth of the Tigers bench would give then the edge,
“We knew that Swaine would give us a hard time but as a coaching team with the option of using 12 quality players you always feel you can keep shuffling the cards until you get a better hand than them.”
By the second quarter Huddersfield's weak defence finally gave way as the Tigers began to run over the ‘Heat’ on the way to the basket. At the end of the half Taunton had opened up a 14 point lead at 50 – 36.
As expected, Huddersfield started to give the ball more and more to Swaine who finished with 39 points. As the Tigers defence adjusted to him gaps were emerging for the other 3 point shooters. But whilst the Tigers defence struggled the offence continued to flow the other end. Andrews, Bird and Saunders were finding their shooting range for the Tigers whilst Yabsley and Anderson were overpowering the Heat inside. All of 12 travelling Tigers had scored by the end as they unselfishly passed the ball to find easy shots.
The high scoring 100 – 81 win was well deserved. Club Secretary Reg Ellis who organised the trip was delighted,
“It was a tremendous team performance and the fabulous support from those who had made the long trip to cheer on the Tigers.”