After a disappointing restart to their BBL campaign, Surrey have recovered in impressive style, as Jack McNally reports.
New year, new Scorchers? 2017 failed to get off to a good start for Surrey basketball fans as the Guildford side slumped to a 103-92 defeat that he hands of London Lions. But subsequent matches have seen something of a transformation in fortunes.
Despite enjoying a lengthy Christmas break, the Scorchers were run off the floor by London with constant high-pressure offense and movement of the ball from London.
But the 92 points scored by the Scorchers did show fans a glimmer of hope for the coming games, as Surrey had only cracked the 90-point mark four times in their previous 21 matches. It also suggested that they had spent the Christmas break working on their points-per-possession numbers, and that they could keep the score respectable facing a team almost 10 spots higher in the league standings at the time.
Since that game the Scorchers have recorded a three-game winning streak, rocketing up the table from 12th place to 8th to stay in the race for the playoffs.
Two weeks ago the Scorchers hosted and narrowly beat bottom-placed Manchester Giants 84-82. The visitors attacked ferociously in the first half, constantly sprinting up the court and looking for open looks rather than the more difficult tactic of chucking from beyond the arc and hoping for three points. All this led to a 51-38 lead for the Giants at half time.
However, the Scorchers got back into the game after several defensive lapses by Manchester, and in the 4th Surrey lived up to their new nickname as ‘The Comeback Kings’ as they outscored the Giants 29-18 to seal the result.
The good form continued in the League Trophy the next night as Surrey got revenge for their New Year’s Day defeat by the London Lions, by beating them at the Copper Box Arena and securing Surrey’s place in the quarter finals in February.
Once again the Scorchers carried their good form into their next game as they handed Leeds Force their fifth consecutive loss last weekend. Surrey established a huge 28-18 lead in the 1st quarter and held onto their advantage with fantastic movement of the ball to create easy open shots.
The highlight of the game was point guard Quincy Taylor scoring a career-high 27 points in the 80-77 win, with constant dribbles into the paint and managing to successfully score with shots over opponents who towered almost a foot taller than him.
With such a great string of results and performances for the Scorchers they look like complete opposites to last year’s squad that finished in last place. This year the Scorchers look set to finish in a playoff spot and try and get to the BBL Finals for the first time since 2008.