Killamarsh Arrows held their nerve and produced another late flurry to edge a closely ran derby at home to Mansfield Giants.
The north Derbyshire outfit are gaining a reputation as the masters of the late finish as they overcame the Giants 78-71.
Their Nottinghamshire opponents fielded former Arrows import RB Clyburn, who reminded everyone of his talents with 30 points.
However, the Arrows have a star of their own in the form of overseas player Darren Best who was influential on his way to 28 points.It was an absorbing contest from the first whistle to the last which meant the Arrows would finish higher than the Giants this season.
The Giants, however, were the stronger side early on with Clyburn and Woodhouse much bigger than the Arrows’ inside counterparts.
Andrew Chiguri and Sam Spare persisted and were on their toes to come out overall winners as they limited any second chance opportunities.
The visitors to the Killamarsh Sports Centre took the quarter 21-17 as the Arrows rallied towards the end of the opening battle.
Andre Rankine was clever in and out of possession to help the home side to stay within a competitive score.
Where their opponents were strong in the first quarter, Arrows were better in the second, choosing to attack the zone with clever passing.
There were baskets for Best, Lisk–Carew and Chiguri as the Arrows also gave a two-minute debut to 15-year-old Ross Walcott.
The Arrows took the quarter 22–13 to go into the interval five points ahead at 39-34. The interval couldn’t have come at a worse time for the hosts.
Giants re–grouped and came out blazing, meaning the third quarter was a very tense affair as both teams fought for supremacy in the ball game.
Chiguri and Spare began to shackle the dangerous Clyburn and Woodhouse but the Arrows also found it tough to find the attacking fluency of the second quarter.
It meant an entertaining final quarter as the foul count and fatigue began to play their part and defences began to loosen. Chiguri headed to the bench on four fouls.
Rankine, Best and Lisk–Carew were central to most attacks and Arrows were determined not to have a repeat of the over-time game the teams had fought out earlier in the season.
The reliable James Kelly had another very strong performance, showing bravery on the ball, as Arrows led by six points going into the final three minutes.
The recent experience of coming through in tight games was to prove decisive for the Arrows as they held their composure at the free-throw line to ice the game 78–71.
Scorers: Best 28, Lisk–Carew 20, Rankine 15, Chiguri 12, Kelly 3.