Manchester do the double over local rivals 91-61.

Manchester Giants faced off against their local rivals Cheshire Phoenix after coming away with the win in their first encounter of the season. Cheshire were looking for revenge in the return fixture but subsequently had their flame snuffed out by a 30 point deficit. 

The opening 10 minutes showed how you would expect any derby game to be. Intense, physical, and both teams not wanting to give the other any breathing room. Offensive styles of play is where our teams differed with Manchester opting for sharp-shooting from beyond the arc whilst Chesire opted to use their size advantage down low and funneled their offense through their big men and ended up taking the opening quarter 16-21.

The second quarter was a different story. Intensity, ball movement, and hustle for rebounds were turned up a notch as what seemed to be a weakness of the Giants last time out against Glasgow. Since then it became a strength as Lloyd Gardener’s men battled on the offensive and defensive glass racking up more offensive rebounds in one half than they did in the entirety of the last game. The offense started to fire from beyond the arc courtesy of Will Saunders who led the team in scoring going into the half and got the offense ticking over with 3 threes giving Manchester a sizable lead going into the break 47-33.

After the break, the floodgates well and truly opened for Manchester on offense. Everything that the team touched turned to gold as shot after shot found the bottom of the basket as it seemed like they couldn’t miss as Manchester made their lead from sizable to impossible to topple as 25 points were scored in that quarter alone and Cheshire were led to just 11.

The Final quarter approached and Cheshire had a mountain to climb. Early on they took a sizable chunk out of the lead however it proved to be too insurmountable for them as exceptional performances from the starting 5 and from the bench took the game and put it out of reach for the Cheshire outfit. 

The American guard combo of Martaveous McKnight and Tyrik “The Magic Man” Armstrong combined for a staggering 41 points (17 for McKnight and 24 for Armstrong) as The Magic Man flirted with the idea of a double-double with 8 dimes to add to his magical evening. 

Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said ”Up and down I thought obviously great to put a performance like that up on the scoreboard it was really pleasing. I thought we played with good energy at times but at the same time, I think we have got more to improve and alot to work on aswell.

Lloyd Gardner and his men will be looking to carry forward this momentum into Tuesday’s game against Abita Lyons and his Sheffield Sharks as they make the journey over the Pennines to the National Basketball Performance Centre.

Words – Michael Blain

Photo – AllSportsPhotography