It was 13th time lucky for Guildford Heat on Friday evening as the Surrey Sports Park club broke their duck for the season with an 82-76 victory at Mersey Tigers, and coach Creon Raftopoulos was a relieved man after the game.
“It was long overdue,” admitted the Heat play-caller. “It gives us something to build on.”
Heat had lost their first six BBL Championship games as well as going out of the BBL Cup and Trophy without a win, but they edged a tight game at Knowsley to go into the Christmas break with a victory.
Captain Mike Martin led all scorers in the game with 22 points for the Heat, while Kris Douse top scored for the Tigers with 20 points.
However Guildford were unable to build on that win on Sunday afternoon, as Newcastle Eagles finished strongly to pick up an 83-73 road win in Surrey.
The teams were locked at 63-63 with just over five minutes remaining, but a 9-3 run from the visitors ensured they would go into Christmas on top of the table.
It was a bounce back win for the Eagles after they’d seen their unbeaten start to the Championship season end on Friday with a 94-86 home loss against Worcester Wolves.
Eagles had lead by 13 points heading into the final break, but 17 points from Tommy Freeman sparked the Wolves into life as they wrapped up what could prove to be a key win. Freeman led the Wolves in scoring with 33 points, but it was Charles Smith who led all scorers in the game with an impressive 37-point haul for the Eagles.
Wolves picked up where they had left off on Saturday with an 87-65 hammering of Glasgow Rocks. A 10-0 burst in the second quarter from the home side broke the game open taking the score out to 40-21, and Wolves never trailed again as Freeman completed a good weekend with 23 points.
Another side to have a double winning weekend were One Health Sharks Sheffield as Atiba Lyons’ side defeated Prestige Homes MK Lions 85-66 on Friday and then won 90-71 at Durham Wildcats the following evening. Jimmy Langhurst continued his rich vein of scoring as he led the Sharks with 26 points on Friday and went one better against the Wildcats with 27.
Finally, UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders showed that their success isn’t limited to the knockout competitions as the BBL Cup finalists completed a miserable weekend for Rocks with a 94-67 victory. A strong end to the first period put Raiders in control, with Jeremy Bell led leading the way for the West Country team with 26 points and six steals, and both Paul Williams and Lehmon Colbert chalking up double-doubles.