Taunton eased past a dogged, but limited, Gloster side on Sunday to extend their winning streak to seven games. The win keeps them in first place in the division and sets up a mouth-watering clash against second placed Reading University Rockets this weekend.
Despite 4 early points from Dan Howe, Tigers took some time to get into their stride at the start of the game, as a well-drilled Jets defence made it difficult for them to penetrate to the basket. They stuck to their task, though, and scores from Harry Turner, Joe Saunders and George Scarborough nudged them out to a 17 – 11 lead at the first break.
Taunton also started slowly at the start of the second period and, having got themselves quickly into foul trouble, allowed the visitors to draw level at 21 – 21. But from that point, they surged away on a 14 – 2 run behind baskets from Saunders, Tad Gray, Mike Sebire and Joe Mills. Late points from Gloster closed the gap slightly, but Tigers held a comfortable 35 – 26 lead at the half.
As in the previous week's game against Chichester, coach Gary Carter had his men fired up and ready for the third quarter. Adam Rickwood showed glimpses of his explosive power in driving to the hoop for the first 6 points of the second half and, in doing so, sent his side on their way to a 15 – 5 streak. Two 3-point efforts from Jets' talented point-guard, Colley, kept them just about in touch, until Alistair Bird finished off the quarter with a 3 pointer of his own to make it 52 – 39 going into the final period.
Gloster never looked liked mounting a come back as Tigers rattled up 23 points in the fourth quarter.
Once again, Taunton's defence had been the rock on which a comfortable win had been built. Tigers' intensity (helped by the ability to rotate a very deep bench) put constant pressure on Jets' possession. As a result the visitors were limited to scoring just 9 of 26 shots from 2-point range (compared to Taunton's own return of 28 from 53).
Sunday's big game against Reading takes place at Wellsprings Leisure Centre (3.00 pm tip-off). The outcome of the match could go a long way to deciding who qualifies for the play-offs in March.