Plymouth City Patriots starting five: Jacob Wiley, Spencer Levi, Elvisi Dusha, Joe Hart, TJ Atwood
Caledonia Gladiators starting five: Ian Dubose, Princeton Onwas, Patrick Whelan, Clifton Moore Jr., Lukas Palyza
This season has been a wildly different experience for tonight’s teams, so far.
The Plymouth City Patriots entered the game fresh from a loss to the Surrey Scorchers less than 24 hours prior and deep down at the bottom of the standings. Eight points away from the Manchester Giants in ninth, Paul James’ team are desperate to breathe fresh life into their campaign.
The Caledonia Gladiators travelled to the Pavilions in much more festive spirits. The second-placed Scottish outfit defeated the Scorchers in their last game and aimed to put some pressure on the league-leading London Lions.
The early signs were not good for the Glad’s. Star guard Patrick Whelan looked like a frightened rabbit in the headlights in the opening five minutes; he had three consecutive shots blocked and air-balled a three pointer before Gareth Murray called his side in for an early timeout.
After a slow start from both teams, Plymouth went on a run. Led by Jacob Wiley, the Patriots started to move the ball effectively and run the court with determination.
Fraser Malcolm came off the bench to stretch the floor for Caledonia, making two consecutive three pointers in just over a minute. To reference his compatriot, the Scot’s jumper was Wet Wet Wet. Despite his efforts, the Gladiators finished the opening period down by four.
Tyrell Green led Plymouth’s second unit in the second quarter, as he bumped inside to increase the lead over his former team. Spencer Levi also added some power to the frontcourt, commanding the board for the Patriots.
Whelan eventually recovered from his rough start, driving fiercely at every given opportunity.
The Gladiators shot 3-16 from beyond the arc in the first half. They returned to the locker rooms with work to do, as Plymouth held a 14-point lead.
TJ Atwood helped Plymouth carry the momentum over to the second half with a string of buckets. Elvisi Dusha also enjoyed a heat-check to stretch out the lead.
Clifton Moore Jr. attempted to bring a vital spark for the Caledonia offence, but the frustrating display continued. As the third quarter ended, the Patriots were up by 13.
The Gladiators entered the final period on a mission. Whelan and Ian Dubose sunk a pair of baskets over two minutes and just like that, the deficit was down to single digits.
The fatigued Patriots’ game management hurt them once again, as the mistakes crept in. When a turnover led to a transition dunk from Clifton Moore Jr., the comeback was seemingly on.
After a Patriots timeout, Princeton Onwas tied the game with five minutes remaining and the Gladiators – once down by 18 – appeared to be on the front foot.
Plymouth reacted when it mattered however, as Atwood made three consecutive baskets to put his team back in front. Mason Faulkner then extended the lead to eight with his first field goal of the game, followed by a primal scream, before a much-needed Caledonia timeout.
The Gladiators showed visible signs of frustration in the game’s twilight; sadly they partially had themselves to blame for the surprise loss. They shot 65% at the charity stripe, out of 23 attempts. They were dominated on the glass, pulling down 11 less rebounds than their opponents.
Plymouth eventually took care of business and earned their third win of the season.
Player of the Game:
Tonight’s Player of the Game was TJ Atwood. The dynamic guard scored 25 points to go along with six rebound and four assists.
|Plymouth City Patriots
|Plymouth City Patriots