Banchory Stags reached the semi-final of the Chairman’s Cup in Edinburgh on Sunday as they defend the trophy they won last season.
Despite the comfortable scoreline against Edinburgh University they had to work hard for the victory that sees them through to a semi-final against Renfrew Rocks in Glasgow, which has to be played by February 15.
Rocks beat Portlethen Panthers 82-79 in a very close quarter-final.
“We’ve struggled a bit on defence recently but if we’re at full strength and play to our potential we may cause an upset against the Rocks in the semi,” said Stags chairman Mike Reilly.
The other semi features BC Lituanica – whom the Stags beat to win the cup in April – at home to Dunfermline Reign in Aberdeen later this month.
The Stags were near full strength on Sunday, with Duncan Rae making his first appearance of the season and Paul Guse back from injury.
Both teams started off nervously and the shooting from both sides was woeful which led to a low-scoring first quarter with the Stags leading 9-6.
The second quarter was much better from a Stags perspective with most of their players getting on the scoreboard. Craig Hoey started the scoring with a long two, while Damian Kus scored five quick points, as did Craig Bruce, Euan Mullin scored four points on the fast break and Scott Williams found his range with a neat jump shot.
The quarter was to prove decisive as the Stags built an 18-point lead to lead 33-15 at half time.
University improved in the second half and they began to make some very good inside plays on offence and for much of the third quarter matched the Stags basket for basket.
Stags coach Scott Williams pulled in the big men to blunt this attack and Rae, Guse and Adam Lindsay toughened up the defence whilst adding points at the other end. Captain Ryan Mackay was twice on target for the Stags and Bruce hit his second three-pointer as they built up a 47-26 lead.
In the fourth quarter there was some great shooting from Mullin and Kus, both scoring eight points, with Rae scoring the final basket.
The Stags defence had been very effective throughout and much better than it has been of late. They completely merited their victory and were well supported by the 20 or so supporters who made the trip to Edinburgh.
Euan Mullin was named man of the match, just ahead of Damian Kus.
Stags are at home to BC Lituanica at Banchory Academy in a Division 1 match on Sunday (2pm).
In men’s Division 2, Alford Bears went down again, losing away to Pumas 97-46.