Two Banchory basketball teams enjoyed success at the weekend, Stags in the Scottish Chairman’s Cup and Ravens in the U17 League.
Dundee Phantoms 71 Banchory Stags 73
The quarter-final of the Scottish Chairman’s Cup pitched the Stags against Tayside and Fife Division 1 top team Phantoms, who had beaten last season’s Grampian champions East Warriors by 30 points in the previous round.
This was sure to be a big challenge for the Stags, particularly away from home.
The Stags got off to a great start with quick baskets from Ryan McKay and Damian Kus and even a three-pointer from Adam Lindsay, but the Phantoms responded well and traded baskets throughout the first quarter and were only 13-16 down at the break.
The Stags again started the second quarter well, with fantastic basketball being played by both sides.
Craig Bruce hit three quick threes for Stags but these were matched by Phantoms as points rained in from both sides.
Good inside work and close-in baskets from Duncan Rae and Erik Babcock got the Stags in front but a late rally by Phantoms tied the score at 39-39 at half-time.
The third quarter saw the Stags struggle to convert on offence and the Phantoms seemed to take a grip on the game, however a couple of timely baskets by the evergreen Tim Garry and Rae kept the Stags in the game at 54-46 at the end of the third quarter.
The Stags really picked up the pace in the fourth quarter and coach Scott Williams, who had cleverly run the bench, had his players nullify the threat of the Dundee sharpshooters.
Baskets from Mackay and Lindsay plus threes from man-of-the match Babcock and Kus plus good free-throw shooting saw the Stags tie the game at 71-71 with 20 seconds remaining.
Stags won the ball and with 13 seconds to go Kus was fouled and was put to the line to shoot two free throws. Nerves jangled everywhere but Damian was as cool as cucumber as he sunk them both.
Dundee failed to score in the remaining time and the underdog Stags had a great victory and a place in the semi-finals.
Craig Hoey and Luke McCann also played a big part in the game with strong defence and the club were well supported throughout by their small band of fans, who were glad to see them reach this stage for the first time in eight years.
Banchory Ravens 22 Portlethen Panthers 18
Banchory Ravens won their first game of the season in the U17 Girls Grampian League.
Having failed to win any of their games last season, despite several close finishes, this was a win to savour.
Coach Mike Reilly started with the most experienced girls and they got off to a great start with Kate Strachan, Anna Fletcher and Melissa Findlay all scoring early.
Player-of-the-match Kate Hare and Niamh Angus added to the scoring as the Ravens took a commanding 16-7 lead which allowed Mike to run the bench.
Zara Gauld, Ailsa Hamilton and Holly Watt were playing in their first match and at only 14 years old played an important part, with Zara and Holly both scoring two points.
Amy McIntosh played excellently at point guard and Katie Fletcher was a rock in defence as the Ravens held on quite comfortably to win by four points.
The girls will be looking forward to their next game in a few weeks’ time.