St Mirren West College Scotland 88 vs 73 Perth Phoenix
After a disappointing end to 2017, with three defeats, St Mirren West College Scotland Junior Men were hoping to get their league challenge back on track against a big Perth side in Paisley. The starting line-up was Jack Thomson, Mikey Irvine, Brad Low, Louis McLean and Robbie Stevenson.
Saints were first to score with a Mikey Irvine three pointer after only 12 seconds, this was followed quickly by a great move and pass by Jack Thomson, which led to a simple finish from Brad Low. Perth though were in no mood to lie down and the teams were well matched in the early stages. Owen Speirs was the first Saints substitute mid way through the quarter with the score at 9 – 9. The tenacious Owen Speirs was soon in the wars and as he fought for the ball on the floor he was struck badly and had to go off with a serious facial injury, and was replaced by Ross Piggot. Both sides were defending well and there were few easy scores, however, Perth just edged the first quarter by 20 – 23.
Stuart Berry and Lewis Grant on early in 2Q and with 3 mins gone and the score 29-30, Ewan Birch on as the final St Mirren sub. The Saints finally found their shooting range and the score moved on to 41-34, mid way through the quarter. with 3 mins gone. The saints defense continued to be strong and Perth struggled in attack, with the score 45-40 and two minutes left in the half. A quick break and a finish from Stuart Berry in the paint, gave a half time score of 47-42 and a convincing quarter for Saints 27-19.
A score from Robbie Stevenson at the start of the third quarter followed by a harsh technical call for holding on the same player, was typical for the quarter with both teams defensively strong and giving no space or time to the opposition, the teams nudged the score along and a basket from Louis McLean from the paint took the score to 55-51 midway through the quarter. Saints were unusually in foul trouble with 3 minutes left in quarter, however, Robbie Stephenson, found his range a number of scores took the Saints further ahead. The move of the match saw a behind the back pass from Jack Thomson, to Brad Low who fed Mikey Irvine for a buzzer beating finish as Saints edged the third quarter. 16-13, to lead 63-55.
Ewan Birch collected a rebound and made the first score of the fourth quarter and another great move and pass from Jack Thomson set up an easy score for Brad Low, was typical of Saints in this period who scored 8 points in less than two minutes for no reply, to lead 71-55. The Paisley side possibly relaxed and Perth came right back into the match with a scoring run of 2-12, giving a score midway through the quarter, 73-67, and Perth in range to strike in the last few minutes. A typical break and score from Robbie Stephenson seemed to settle the Paisley side who comfortably seen out the remainder of the match, with everyone pitching in on attack and keeping Perth out, the final Saints score same as the first a Mikey Irvine 3 pointer, Saints took the quarter, 25-18, and the match 88-73.
The score line may flatter Saints, who were only leading by 6 midway through 4Q, however, a good win and hopefully back to form, as there are tougher tests to come .
Next week it is back to league action, with what may prove to be the league decider against the tough Falkirk Fury at Grangemouth Sports Centre, on Saturday 20th January. Tip-off 5pm.