St Mirren West College Scotland 75 vs 57 Glasgow Storm
West College Scotland Saints were back at the Lagoon Sports Centre in Paisley this week looking for a repeat of last week’s super Sunday winning performance against Edinburgh. For the first time since September Saints put out a full team to face Glasgow Storm and with no injury issues the stage was set for a convincing championship performance.
The ominous loss of the jump ball set the standard early on as Saints failed to find any rhythm as a team. Nick Collins found the basket five times in the period mainly from broken play and second chance shots. Chris Cleary hit one 3 pointer to get on the score sheet with Chris Barron and Euan Glass rounding out the quarter with a 17 point total. With only two minutes left in the quarter Saints did hold a 7 point lead and looked to improve it but to no avail as the Storm hung on at 17-14.
Hopeful of finding a good performance in the next period the Saints coaches ran through the bench seeking the magic of one week before. Early 3 pointers from Graham Hunter and Chris Barron were matched by Storm and only some late scores from Cleary and Collins improved the Saints prospects of finally taking control. Another ordinary quarter at 16-10 had the visitors believing that they could get something from the match. 33-24 at half time was not the expected score line and the players were left in no doubt that better was expected in the second half.
The third period did bring a little bit of life and energy to the game as Saints upped the tempo in a bid to shake off the persistent Storm. Six different Saints on the score sheet and a good bit more energy had 19 points on the board but the enthusiasm on the offensive end let the defence down, as the visitors tucked in with 17 points- still looking for a final quarter opportunity.
52-41 going into the final period and all still to play for, Saints led by Cleary with 12 points, showed for the second week in a row the benefits of fitness and depth in the squad. Saints who were still pushing players off the bench and trying to inject some pace into the game had their best period as they added another 23 points to the score. Storm trying to the last could only manage 16 points for the loss at 75-57.
Saints top scorers on the night were Chris Cleary with 22, Nick Collins on 18 and Fergus Harte with 10 points.Saints remain one victory away from their first league title in 18 years. The visit of title challengers Boroughmuir to the Lagoon on Friday night could be enough to seal it with two more games still to play.