St. Mirren end Scots season as kings
St. Mirren McDonald’s secured the first-ever Scottish Championships title in emphatic style at Linwood, their 99-78 victory in the decisive match of their best of three finals series with Edinburgh Kings ensuring a fitting end a successful basketball season. Emulating the achievements of their footballing counterparts 24 hours earlier, the Paisley outfit demonstrated a ruthless streak to lead from start to finish as the youthful Kings side were left in their wake.
The capital team had surprisingly forced a third game on Saturday, pulling off a 79-73 victory in double overtime which was inspired by 30 points from Grant Flockhart. Any hopes of a further upset were rapidly dashed back on Saints home court however as the hosts rattled off the first eleven points of the tie as Kings were caught unawares.
Minus their injured captain Scott Tucker, and with precocious teenager Laurie Costello impeded by an ankle strain, Edinburgh perhaps lacked the leadership to respond and their veteran player-coach Ronnie Gordon was forced into a rare spell of extended service. Inspired by their Scottish international Alistair Rae, St. Mirren had built a 20 point cushion midway through the first half and by the interval, their advantage stood at 59-28.
With no real hope of a comeback, Kings could have capitulated completely once their deficit grew to as much as 37 but salvaged some respectability by notching the final eight points of the contest.
“We couldn’t have played any better in that first half,” stated victorious coach Lindsay Lang. “The team was fired up because they felt that had been disappointing in the first two games. Overall however, it has been a great year for us, especially because we stayed on top throughout.”
Rae, named in the Scotland squad to face Ireland next week, hit a game-high 27 points, while Costello led Kings with 20.
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