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Brave Bandits make gallant Navy fight
PORTSMOUTH NAVY 76 WEYMOUTH TANDOORI BANDITS 60
IAN Manley and Dzintars Kalkis were both on top form as the Bandits put up a gallant display against the might of Portsmouth Navy.
The Navy are regarded as one of the top teams in the Solent Basketball Area. Not only have they beaten a host of other heavyweights over the past year but they also won the Solent Cup last season following a fine victory over Portsmouth Smugglers.
Despite missing a couple of players, Weymouth made the trip to Hampshire in good form and stood toe-to-toe with their illustrious opponents throughout the contest.
The fixture got under way with some quick and explosive offences at either end of the court with the Navy boasting tall and powerful forwards, who used their size and strength to squeeze several well-earned baskets from in and around the low post.
Weymouth on the other hand showed speed and intelligence to keep the game extremely close before the hosts then managed to sink some long-range efforts to eventually put some distance between the two sides.
In desperate need of a reaction, the Bandits then responded with new forward Vatoldas Balciunas powering his way to two strong rebounds and baskets, which seemed to kick-start a revival with excellent shooting from Chris Canham and persistent inside play from Ian Manley bringing the two sides back closer together.
Unfortunately, the second quarter was a completely different story at the start with the Navy getting off to a flier to open up a 14-point cushion.
Canham then called a time out so Weymouth could regroup with the main emphasis focusing on energy and intensity rather changing the set up.
Manley, regarded as one of the better defensive players in the SABA, immediately stepped up to the plate and shut out the Navy attacks, which in turn encouraged Kalkis to play his usual way, scoring eight points without a reply to cut the deficit back down to 40-33 at halfway.
The second period started with an exchange of baskets, again with Kalkis dominating, but there were also some positive moves from new additions Jim DeBertrand and Jordan Daniels as Weymouth continued to stay in touch.
The final quarter then followed the same pattern with Balciunas and Daniels both ending the game very strong with a couple of inside baskets each, but the Navy refused to release their grip on the game and eventually took the win 76-60.
Canham said: “The Navy have always been a strong side, and it didn’t help us missing a couple of key players, but that said this is a positive result on their court.
“Our guys all played to the top of their games. Kalkis was on top form again and our new forward Balciunas looks very strong. DeBertrand and Daniels also put in very good performances but for me Manley again proved just how important he is to us.”
Bandits: Dzintars Kalkis 24, Ian Manley 11, Vatoldas Balicunas 10, Chris Canham 7, Jordan Daniels 6, Jim DeBertrand 2.
Weymouth MVP: Ian Manley