Jack McNally sees Surrey record a well-deserved victory.
The Surrey Scorchers got their second win of the season last Saturday night as they beat the Cheshire Phoenix 67-61 in another weekend of back-to-back games. Will Neighbour’s 19 points and extra effort in defence was the example that the Scorchers rallied around to hold on to their narrow victory.
For the second week in a row the Scorchers came into Saturday night’s game after a gruelling 90-82 defeat to the Worcester Wolves. And despite the effects of the Friday night game, Surrey came out running and quickly had a 12-5 lead while playing lockdown perimeter defence and stopping the ball from making it near their basket.
However early in the second quarter the Phoenix got their first lead of the game 19-20, and the wear and tear of the Friday night game started to show for Surrey as they struggled to chase the Phoenix players around the perimeter. They were just lucky that Phoenix’s shots weren’t falling.
After the halftime break the Scorchers put all of their effort into defence, forcing several turnovers and fouls on Phoenix. However the Scorchers started to go on a scoring run that allowed them to finish the third with a 48-43 lead. Neighbour had a huge block and two straight three- pointers, adding to his final total of 19 points.
At the start of the fourth quarter Scorchers Head Coach Creon Raftopoulos stood at the side-lines screaming at his players with emphasis on ‘Breath!’, proving that the Friday night game had definitely taken its toll, and the Surrey staff were just trying to focus on holding onto their lead.
The Scorchers’ Quincy Taylor was a burst of energy of the bench as he instantly grabbed a defensive rebound and sprinted up the court, forcing his way through the Phoenix defence for an emphatic dunk. Then, just 50 seconds later, Taylor was once again on the attack by taking on two players and hitting a 10-foot jumper to push the lead to 53-45.
Despite the exhaustion of the Scorchers, they forced the ball up the floor and managed to force Phoenix to foul five times, sending Surrey to the free throw line, sinking six shots and securing the win.
Surrey will want their current form to carry over into Sunday’s game against the Leeds Force, and a week off will surely help.