The Brewers welcomed reigning NWBA champions Mold Magic back to Blacon High School just two weeks after James Morgans’ side opened with a big win over Brewers Lite.
But despite fielding a strong line-up, Mold didn’t have everything their own way and were fortunate to take home the win.
The Brewers started slowly, something that would plague them for the whole game, however their formidable defence kept the usually free-scoring Magic offence in their box.
That tight, effective defence kept the Brewers in the game until their shots began to drop and they finished the first quarter just three points down 13-16.
It was a similar story in the second, some careless turnovers early allowing the Magic to extend their lead again before the Brewers scoring picked up and they pulled it back. The quarter ended with 10 points to each side in a game that was finely balanced.
Brewers’ scoring was led by club captain Dave Thomas closely followed by player/assistant coach Niel Gillard, with vital contributions from Luke Sharland-Wong and Hubert Paluch.
Unfortunately at the half the clash of big men for both sides had left Sharland-Wong for the Brewers and Julien Loste for the Magic in foul trouble forcing both teams to adjust.
Coming out for the third period the Brewers were looking to hit the ground running and avoid having to reel their visitors back in yet again. But they didn’t manage to get going early and once more Mold built a small lead.
But this Brewers side has put in the work in the off season and is full of confidence. They dug deep and once more closed the gap on the Welsh National League side to trail by just four points going into the final quarter.
The Brewers had a chance but again, they allowed Mold to pull away first before recovering. Despite this familiar pattern, with 20 seconds to go the Brewers trailed by 13 points. Triples from Thomas and Gillard saw them trail by five points with seven seconds remaining.
With their final timeout the Brewers drew up one final play to try to secure a three and press for the ball to take it to overtime but it didn’t quite work out as, despite their brave efforts, they fell to a narrow defeat.
Paluch claimed the LMC Lighting and Electrical MVP award after a 10 point haul that was punctuated with a number of key rebounds at both ends, some excellent movement and passing and committed defending.
The scoring was led by Thomas with 16pts, followed by Gillard with 13 and Sharland-Wong also hit 10 points for the Brewers.
“That performance shows just how far we have come,” said Brewers head coach Adam Lloyd. “Mold are the reigning champions, the team to beat in this league and we had the chance to do it.
“Every single player involved, from the starting centre to the guy at the end of the bench, played their part driving us on and putting pressure on Mold.
“If there was one disappointing aspect it was free throws. We didn’t take full advantage of them. If we’d scored half of the free throws we missed we would have won that game by a clear margin. That’s something for us to work on but as far as effort, commitment and execution of the gameplan go, we showed that we belong among the top teams in the NWBA.”