The Plymouth City Patriots faced the daunting task of a double header just before Christmas, which included a tough matchup with the Surrey Scorchers on the road followed by a quick dash back to Plymouth, to take on the Caledonia Gladiators at Pavilions, the following night.
The Friday night matchup in Surrey, was a rollercoaster of a game featuring two teams battling for the final playoff spot. From the opening tip the Patriots seemed to play with real cohesion and took a slender one point lead at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter would be the mirror image of the first however, as the Patriots only managed to score 4 points, and their opponents took a 20 point lead. Once again the tide would turn, as the Patriots chipped away at the Scorchers lead, cutting it down to as little as 3 points in the final quarter. The Scorchers would prove too strong however, and managed to hold on to their lead, taking the win 71-65.
Despite Saturday being a home game and the fabled “Christmas Jumper Game”, the Patriots would find themselves in a strange situation, traveling overnight to get back to Plymouth, whilst their opponents were already in Plymouth well rested and awaiting their return. It’s fair to say that for three quarters, it was the Patriots that looked the fresher of the two teams. The home team stormed into the lead from tip off and looked to be in complete control, with the Pavilions faithful at a deafening level. In the fourth quarter however, the Gladiators, currently in second place in the BBL, showed their quality and depth and managed to tie the game at 70 points a piece, and looked likely to take full command of the fixture. The Patriots had other ideas and after TJ Atwood grabbed an offensive rebound, he fed the ball to Terrell Green, who nailed a three point shot and brought the crowd to fever pitch. From then on, there was no looking back. The Patriots extended their lead and took the game 87-80 behind 25 points from TJ Atwood, 6 assists from Mason Faulkner and 12 rebounds from Spencer Levi, along with a tremendous all round team performance.
“We've been preaching to move the ball and to put the team before individual play, and tonight was a perfect demonstration of that,” started team captain Elvisi Dusha after Saturday's game. He continued “we shot the ball well especially from the free throw line, not like we did at Surrey. The crowd were electric today, and it's great to be able to give them a win.”
Head coach Paul James was also happy with the way his team reacted to Friday's loss, saying “I was disappointed last night, we did a lot of good things and then just stopped playing, and tonight, we kept it going and made better choices throughout.” He continued “we knew they'd come back at us, they're a good team, but we dealt with it well and made some key clutch baskets and took care of the ball.” His final words were for the fans, adding “it's nice to send our fans home happy at Christmas. It's been a long time coming and they deserve it.”
Tickets for Patriots next game are available here.