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NWBA D1: Cheshire Raptors 68 Brewers 52

5th April, 2024 | News | 0 comments

Facing Cheshire Raptors on the road is never an easy task – and so it proved as the Brewers for the second game in a row paid the price for a slow start.

Rarely do the Brewers show up with a size disadvantage, but that was the case in the early stages and the Raptors took full advantage, racing out to an 18-5 first quarter lead.

Frustration was brewing ( no pun intended), and the visitors came out firing in the second quarter. Led by their forceful captain Dave Thomas, they reduced the deficit to single digits by the half, with Joe Hughes stepping up to show it wasn’t only the Raptors’ bigs who were ready to bring the heat.

Wissam Elkak joined the party with a drive and dish that showed the dynamism that originally established him as a lethal guard in the North Wales Basketball Association as the Brewers looked to set up a second half comeback.

After the break Hughes continued to threaten, sharing paint duties with Ben Scott as the Raptors leaned heavily on their inside game, while on the ball Niel Gillard (13pts) and MVP Hubert Paluch (13pts) were cooking for the Brewers.

The arrival of Marcin Fiedorowicz into the game helped the Brewers face down the Raptors’ Simon Jackson and Andrius Palonius but the third quarter saw the home side re-establish their advantage.

Trailing 52-36 going onto the final quarter, the Brewers readied themselves for one big push. Refusing to believe the game was over, Adam Lloyd’s men took to the floor and ground the Raptors down, reducing the deficit to just nine points at one point.

But too much had been spent in the chase and as they continued to push in the late stages, fatigue and pressure saw gaps open up at the back, allowing the Raptors to manage the game to a solid win.

“Respect to Raptors, they always come at you hard and we knew that coming into the game,” said Brewers head coacdh Lloyd afterwards.

“The scoreline doesn’t reflect the game, that much is true. Going into the fourth quarter we knew we had a chance to get the win so we rolled the dice. I’ll never criticise a team that gives every bit of blood and sweat chasing a win and that is what we did.

“Sure, we could have dug in and taken a single-digit loss, but why do that when the win was still within touching distance?

“I’m proud of the lads for their fight and their energy and whatever happens with the rest of the season, if we play it out with that kind of effort we can all be proud of ourselves.”

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