Thanks to hot shooting from Tyrell Green in the final four minutes, the Patriots beat the defending Trophy holders Caledonia 88-81 at the Pavilions on Sunday.
Jacob Wiley led all scorers with 20 points and seven rebounds to lead Plymouth. Elvisi Dusha and Joe Hart added 17 in the win.
Patrick Whelan had 18 for Caledonia as they fall to 0-2, needing to win two games and hoping that results go their way.
Plymouth City Patriots starting five: Jacob Wiley, Spencer Levi, Elvisi Dusha, Joe Hart, T.J. Atwood.
Caledonia Gladiators starting five: Michael Bothwell, Fraser Malcolm, Patrick Whelan, Clifton Moore Jr., Lukas Palyza.
Despite making the longest trip of any British Basketball League side, Caledonia made an impressive start but Plymouth regained their rhythm, seeing this competition as a fresh start for them.
And a basket inside from Wiley handed the hosts a 14-8 lead midway through the first.
Caledonia, though, were able to tie the game quickly at 14-14 as they scored eight points off Patriots turnovers in the first six minutes.
The hosts managed to keep the lead after one despite a three in the corner from Fraser Malcolm, but Plymouth recovered in the early stages of the second.
Dusha stringed a three – Plymouth’s first of the game – as part of an 8-0 start to the quarter.
Gladiators retaliated by attacking the basket, getting opportunities at the line to narrow the deficit to 32-30 with four minutes played in the second.
The visitors threatened to snatch the lead, and a Michael Bothwell three from the wing with 1:36 left gave them just that at 35-34.
Plymouth came back in a physical first half to retain the advantage again, but a Whelan three left nothing to separate the two teams at the half, tied at 40-40.
Much like the second, the Patriots began the third quarter on a 13-0 run the same turn of events as the earlier game between the Lions and Riders.
Lukas Palyza heat-checked the hosts with a second chance three and despite getting a technical, answered back with another triple, leading to a four-point play.
However, it was a very physical and scrappy quarter with both teams unable to score freely but Plymouth held on to a 60-53 advantage.
Caledonia attempted to fight back in the final period, desperate not to fall to 0-2, but despite all their efforts, the Patriots had an answer.
A triple from former Gladiator Green – his first field goal – lifted the hosts to a nine-point lead midway through.
It was the first of three from range from Green in a clutch performance and Joe Hart – another former Caledonia player – added, which put the Gladiators to the sword, with the hosts taking the win 88-81.
Player of the Game
Jacob Wiley was a monster for the Patriots with a game-high 20 points and he also posted seven rebounds.
|Plymouth City Patriots
|Plymouth City Patriots