The Plymouth City Patriots were in action over the weekend and took part in two dramatic overtime thrillers.
The Patriots form coming into this weekend has not been great. Eight consecutive losses meant that two wins over rival teams, currently below the Patriots in the league, would be essential.
An away trip to Surrey would be the first challenge, a team that has had its own struggles this season, but a team non the less that were hungry for a win in front of their home crowd. A home crowd that would be challenged from the opening tip off by over a hundred traveling Patriots fans.
Things did not start well for the visitors, as the Scorchers took an early lead and despite the Patriots constantly fighting back, the home side took a 5 point advantage into the half time interval. The visitors made short work of their opponents slender lead and took the lead going into the fourth quarter, behind a seven point barrage from their newest signing, Ty Gadsden. The fourth proved to be an epic battle with last ditch heroics from Surrey's Josh Steel, who iced a three to send the game to overtime, despite 7 consecutive points from Elvisi Dusha the team captain, leading by example.
In overtime the Patriots rallied and took full control of the game and in an all round team effort finished worthy winners, 105-95.
The Patriots would head back to Plymouth with a valuable win under their belt, ready to take on Newcastle Eagles in another must win game at Pavilions, Sunday afternoon. The home fans were once again out in force and boisterous from the opening tip, boosting their team to an early advantage, which they would ultimately improve on, taking a 9 point lead into half time. In the third quarter, it was relatively level pegging, but the fourth saw an epic comeback from the gutsy Eagles, who would ultimately tie the game with under two seconds on the clock and send it to another overtime thriller.
Once again the Patriots found another gear and their big three of Gadsden, Dusha and Rashad Hassan poured in a combined 14 points in overtime to take the win, 98-93 with one final punctuation from Hassan, who threw down a dunk in the final seconds. Hassan also hit the 4k club, scoring over 4000 league points in his 7th BBL season.
Ty Gadsden, man of the hour, was awarded two game MVPs for Friday and Sundays matchups, totalling 60 points over both games and was complementary of the teams performance, saying "Both performances were big team wins. I know I got the MVPs but I wouldn't have done that without the confidence of my teammates and coach Paul James. Also shout-out to Joe [Hart], but really the whole team were MVPs."
Coach Paul James, who's been under some scrutiny from a minority of Plymouth fans, was upbeat after the victory, saying "A win for both teams was very important. We're not guaranteed a Playoff spot and as a result these games were fiercely contested. Surrey and Newcastle are
solid teams, both have had struggles with players in and out, like ourselves, but with another full house in Pavilions and traveling fans to Surrey, they pushed us to two wins." He continued to praise the fans, adding "They're really special... As long as we play hard and they can see we're playing hard for each other, they turn up and support... They are the best fans in the country and we wanted to get two wins for them as much as anything."
Pablo Cheeks @pablocheeksBTR