St Mirren 77 v 60 Stirling Knights
National League (Senior Men)
Saints had to be focused this week with no fewer than 5 players missing through injury, holiday, family and work commitments. Collins, Cleary, Stamp, Reilly and Grieve were all missing and although Stirling are propping up the table, they have shown great signs of improvement and would provide a stiff test for the depleted St Mirren side who had drafted in some young blood in the guise of Callan Low, Jack Thomson and Andrew Deighan from the U18 crew.The game started at a high pace for both teams, Saints taking the tip and scoring first. High pressure full court defence paid dividend as Saints continued to stay ahead after a couple of great steals from Fergus Harte and two long rage 3-pointers from Graham Hunter. Stirling were not going to go down without a fight, taking advantage of their size and strength inside the paint. Saints were heading in at the end of the quarter with a 3 point lead until a loss of focus led to a turnover with seconds left allowed Knights Rankin to tie it all up with a long range buzzer beater. All tied at 17 all!
Q2 was more of the same, knights taking advantage of their size moving the ball inside and then out to stay in the game. Saints were playing some great basketball moving the ball well allowing Scott Armstrong to drive to the hoop scoring 8 points in a row without reply. Silly mistakes allowed Knights to creep back in the quarter ending 18 to 16, giving Saints a slender 2 point lead at the half.
Half time team talk was all about defence and cutting out the errors, which the guys obviously took on board the way they came out. The intensity in defence was immense, causing Knights turnover after turnover. Chris Barron was on fire, scoring 9 points from downtown and Dave Johnston backed that up with an awesome crowd-pleasing dunk and spectacular check on the backboard to end the quarter an impressive
20 to 12.
Some breathing space, but it wasn’t all over yet as Stirling started well, but soon Saints were back on track, with much fewer mistakes and free flowing offence. Knights had no response and were struggling to keep up, despite a number of timeouts they just didn’t know who to mark, all the Saints players managing to get on the score sheet in the last quarter, testament to how well the Saints offences were being executed. The quarter ended up an impressive 22-15 to Saints, taking the win
77 – 60
A great team effort lead to a resounding victory to keep the title hopes alive. It took us a while to adjust to the new rotations with a number of guys playing out of position. But we stuck to it as a group and helped each other through the sticky patches and when we started the second half we were never going to lose. A special mention for the U18 boys who had to stand in and what a great contribution they made at both ends of the floor, Callan Low hitting 4 points and played some solid defence
Top Scorers : Scott Armstrong 21: Chris Barron 20 and Dave Johnston 12
Next Game : 10th December: Glasgow Storm at the Kelvin Hall 1.30pm tip off