Senior men take much needed cup win vs Arena Bulls
The SBL cup is the competition throughout Nottinghamshire that not only are both Outlaws senior mens teams in, but rate their chances in too.
Teams from SBL Division II can play in both the cup and shield competitions, whereas teams in division I can only play in the cup. – Both competitions share the same group stage, with the principle being that the top 2 teams play in the cup, while the remaining team from each group plays in the shield if they are eligible.
Last year, the Outlaws I failed to qualify for the cup, after losing 2 of their 3 placement matches in the groups, meaning their cup competition was cut-short due to being ineligible for the shield.
Yesterday saw the senior men firsts play their final group-stage game, and with the team splitting their placement matches against the Grantham Outlaws and Hyson Green, it was win or go home for the division 1 outfit.
The Arena Bulls play in the SBL division 2, meaning that win or lose, their cup run would not end with the Outlaws. Coach Hayman Tansley and other team members who have been with the club for multiple years have history with the Bulls, as the teams record vs the West Bridgeford based team is less than ideal as last year they were the team that knocked them out of the cup, despite being a division below. And the year before (when both teams were in division 2) the Outlaws faced a nasty injury mid way through the season, that would keep newly returned center Josh Turner out for a whole season, skipping the 2016-17 campaign to rehab a torn ACL.
Knowing that the Outlaws had to get a win, focus would be needed in this game, as the young team had shown tendencies to slip during crucial moments previously.
Yesterday would not be one of those games.
The outlaws started strong, setting the bar early and getting a quick lead – with last games MVP Daniel Tanser continuing his great form, barely missing all game – Followed a series of great baskets by James Wood and Chip Humphreys. Together, the three led the scoring for the majority of the first half.
The rest of the team were active as well, as Jordan Briggs and Garry Walters contributed from the bench, with both points and amazing hustle. Out-rebounding the Bulls forwards from the guard position. Garry being the smallest Outlaw on the day!
Josh Turner led the way on defence, showing that his ACL injury was a thing of the past, forcing numerous missed shots and crucial lose balls that the team capitalised on. As well as general effort from Liam Hayman Tansley, who looked to get the team involved at all times, including a rather fancy full-court bounce pass that had the bench on their feet.
In the second half, Tom Goshawk took over, scoring his first, second and third three pointer of the season, without missing a single attempt. As well as nailing two beautiful floating shots over multiple defenders.
A special shout out should be given to Gareth Keeling, who turned up and played on the day of his graduation, after having a cheeky tipple before arriving and still managing to contribute well and get on the scoresheet for the outlaws.
As the game rolled into the final quarter, the result was never in doubt and the Outlaws took the win in style.
Final score 85-60.
MVP of the game goes to Daniel Tanser. Who led the way with a team high 22 points! He will take the team mascot home for the second week in a row!