Downtown was the place to be after the New Year as the Brewers cam agionisingly close to kicking off 2023 with a win.
Having got over the weirdness of playing a road game on their home court, the Brewers faced a stacked Ellesmere Port Panthers side and initially they matched up well, hustle on defence and some smart shot creation helping them keep pace with a Panthers side green-lit to shoot the three from literally anywhere.
Carlos Gonzalez, returning despite a broken wrist, led the line, working with Ben Scott and Joe Hughes to occupy their bigs and deservedly claimed the MVP award. But outside the Panthers always had an out ball, with Ben Thomas and Josh McGinn always on hand to shoot the three from the hip.
But the Brewers had their own scoring threats, with Jon Demmer and Dave Thomas supporting the scoring of the inside men.
With Alex Jones and Wissam Elkak running the point and Cam Blundell bringing intensity to proceedings the Brewers trailed at the half but were still in the game.
In the third the visitors fell off, dropping to a 38-point deficit at one stage. But they dug deep and showed great resilience to pull it back and go into the final minutes of the fourth still in the hunt.
Unfortunately the Panther’s three-point threat remained hot and just kept victory out of the Brewers’ reach.
“It was a tough game but we showed that we can compete, and we will compete,” said Brewers head coach Adam Lloyd. “Yes their three point threat did for us in the end but we showed incredible fortitude to come back from our third-quarter to get ourselves into a position to challenge for the win.