The Manchester Giants lost an enthralling North West derby in devastating fashion as the Cheshire Phoenix came away with a 77-75 victory thanks to a last-gasp Kahron Ross jumpshot. 

It was an action packed contest right from minute one, with both sides going all-out for an important win in the race for the play-offs. The Giants had an excellent first quarter, limiting the Phoenix to just 17 points off the back of some efficient scoring and defence from new man Aaron Geramipoor. The Nix came back in the second and kept the game close as the visiting Giants went in at half time up 37-36. 

The final 20 minutes proved why the BBL is one of the most competitive and underrated leagues in the world, with both teams trading the lead in one of the most back-and-forth contests of the year. The Giants held a narrow two-point lead going into the final quarter, but some vital rebounding work from the home side in the final few minutes saw them snatch victory and leave Manchester heartbroken after a valiant effort on the road. 

It was the aforementioned Geramipoor who starred once again for his new side scoring 21 points and grabbing 5 rebounds, and man of the moment Donovan Johnson contributed 16pts and 7rebs in a hard-fought performance that even saw him lose a lock of hair after a tangle with Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Jordan Whelan also gave a big effort in defeat with a statline of 16-3-4. 

Mike McCall was the star man for the Phoenix with 25 points and 6 rebounds, including an unbelievable sequence in the final minute which saw him make important plays on both ends of the court. His backcourt partner Kahron Ross put up 14-4-5 including that eventual game winner, and Jimbo Lull had a mammoth 17 rebounds to go with his 10 point scoring effort.

”There was abit of a change of tactic in this game because they have two really strong guards, so we decided to go with Jordan and Jack pushing up and that worked well. Again we have flexibility if we want to go abit taller or abit smaller. We just fell asleep on a few rebounds and their two guards can hit huge shots at any moment.” Said Interim coach Ploutos Vourliotos

After yet another agonising defeat, the Giants will look to dust themselves off and go again in 10 days time in a vital home fixture against the Worcester Wolves. 

Words – Jordan Morris

Photo –  Olivia Smallwood