Gold for Knights as they put Fury to the sword
Last weekend saw the last official basketball action of the season with the Regional Development League finals hosted at Meadowbank Arena in Edinburgh. The Knights were up against Falkirk Fury in the U12 boys final and U16 boys final and with Fury in a further three finals, Central basketball was well represented.
First up for Knights were the U12 boys, led by Coach Les McGlasson the boys went into the final as heavy favourites having already gone through their league campaign sixteen games undefeated and including five recent Scotland team player selections in their squad. Playing on a larger court than usual the young Knights displayed their athleticism and fast paced basketball and raced to a 10 - 0 lead. In the second quarter, with Knights fielding three Under ten aged players, they stretched the lead to 16-5. With the travelling support from both teams continuing to cheer on the boys Knights never faltered and claimed the gold medal easily winning 33-9 in the end. Knights and Scotland U12 Captain Lewis McGlasson received the trophy on behalf of his team to a rousing reception from the crowd. U12s coach Les McGlasson "The boys have been outstanding this season and really play the game the right way, with the National Under 12 tournament coming up in May we will be again looking to win the gold and remain undefeated".
The last game of Finals Day saw the Knights go up against Fury in a rematch of last year's final. This season Knights had finished on top of the league and were looking to go into the final as favourites. However, the loss of talismanic big man Cameron O'Donnell to appendicitis coupled with Fury bringing in their Scotland U16 Team point guard Daniel Tran ensured this game would be close. The Knights defence in the first quarter enabled them to go out to an early 9-3 lead, although with more composure and better decisions on offence this could have been more. The second quarter saw Fury pull back with some good execution an punishing Knights slack play. The Knights held on in the third to lead by three going into the final period. A nervy few minutes enabled the game to become too close for comfort and with 15 seconds to play Fury were down by two with the ball in Tran's hands. Wallace High's Michael Jozitas stepped up his defence on Tran and forced him into a tough shot which missed and the crowd went wild as the Knights claimed their second win over Fury and second Gold medal of the day. Stirling High's Scotland Under 15 player Michael Walker led the scoring for Knights and displayed his potential for the future. U16s Coach Colin Lynch "I am really proud of my team, they have worked together all season and finished runner's up in the National League so to also defeat Fury in the RDL final is amazing and shows just how far we have come in the last two years since we started our youth development".
Although the official season has now finished, the Knights continue to work hard and make plans for next season. The recent Easter Camp hosted sixty young players who were coached by guest National Team coaches on fast break and defence. The new squads have also started training with some exciting developments in the pipeline. The club also have twelve players involved in National Teams this Summer along with three coaches. Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan "Having established an excellent participation pathway we are now turning our attention to the performance aspect of the club. Our U14 boys and girls will have new Academy squads, the U16 Girls are going National League, the U16 boys have a promotion play off for division one and we are also looking to add some quality to our Senior teams. All this coupled with the huge success of the Friday Knights Primary League will ensure we are back competing at the top next season."
Knights U16s clinch playoff berth
The competitive nature of the National League second division was highlighted last weekend , with four teams jostling for the first two positions and all needing to win their final two games. Glasgow City were current league leaders and needed to beat Grampian to win the division. Grampian were one point behind the Knights and along with Lanarkshire were all fighting for the second place and the chance for a playoff game for promotion to the first division.
The Knights', who have already qualified for the Regional Development League final in April by finishing in top position, first game was against Boroughmuir who due to call offs could only muster six players. This game gave Coach Lynch the opportunity to run the bench and get the players warmed up for the deciding game against Lanarkshire Chiefs. After a strong start the Knights were leading 25-12 after the first quarter and finished the match comfortably winning 77-63.
With Glasgow City finally beating Grampian after double overtime, the Knights knew they had to beat Lanarkshire to guarantee second place. The first quarter saw the Knights once again make a strong start and were leading 24-14. The second quarter was more edgy with Lanarkshire taking it 18-17, with their centre scoring 20 of their 32 first half points. Also, Knights captain and point guard James McNeil had to come off mid way through the half with cramp in his calf and with Michael Jozitas suffering with illness the Knights game plan started to falter. By the end of the third quarter the lead was down to 5 points and it was clear that the Knights had a game on their hands. In fact mid way through the final quarter, the Knights were down by two and looking slightly ragged. James came off the bench and with the Chiefs starting to get into foul trouble was able to bring some composure to the final few minutes, before finally succumbing to severe cramp. Cameron O'Donnell, Gregor Bain, Jonny Short, Angus Wood and Ethan Dobbie were able to step up their defence and finally closed out the game for the Knights to win 78-68 and claim Div 2 runners up status in only their second season.
Huge credit goes to the twelve guys on the day and the rest of the squad, in what has been a tremendous team effort all season. Leading scorers for Knights were Ethan Dobbie 22, Gregor Bain and James McNeil 12, Jonny Short and Cameron O'Donnell 11. Special mention to Angus Wood in stepping up as cover for James McNeil and Michael Jozitas for displaying excellent defence.
Head Coach of the U16s Colin Lynch "This was a tremendous team effort from start to finish, to play the season only losing four games and finishing in the playoff spot is a massive achievement for us and shows the great youth development work going on in the club."
Stirling Knights fly the flag for Team Scotland
Stirling Knights Basketball Club are celebrating the call up of twelve of their players to the various Scotland National Teams for this Summer’s International program, a tremendous achievement for the club who are approaching the end of their third season, the second in youth development. The players will represent Scotland at tournaments in Luxembourg, Andorra, Sweden, Spain and England.
Also pictured are the club’s National Team Coaches; Dave Evans, Jack Burgess and Pete Duncan.
The successful players (pictured) are: Matthew Dick, Daniel Donnelly (Senior Men), Michael Walker (U15), Ruth Allison (U14), Shaun Craig (U13), Chloe Dunshire, Katrina Kirsop, Lewis McGlasson, Ruari Doherty, Alex Jamieson, Nathan Cuthbert (U12) and Callum McGlasson (U11).
In on court action, 20 points from retiring Captain Mark Duncan wasn’t enough for the senior men to keep a low deficit against an Edinburgh Kings side determined to add the Playoff crown to their Scottish Cup success. Big man Matthew Dick added 10 points and 12 rebounds but too many turnovers and poor execution resulted in the Kings taking a 87-53 lead into the second game this weekend.
The Knights Under 16 Men scored huge wins in the National League Division 2 defeating the St Mirren and Tayside ‘B’ Teams 92-38 and 110-42. The Knights head into the final weekend of action tied for second spot and the chance for a playoff to Division 1.
Winning weekend for Stirling Knights Basketball
Last weekend saw a fantastic treble of performances from Stirling Knights Basketball Club, with the Senior Men defeating Dunfermline Reign in the Scottish National League and the Under 16 and Under 12 boys finishing in top position in their respective Regional Development Leagues.
With more than 300 fans packed into The Peak to support the Men in their final home league game, the game started brightly for Stirling with pressure defence forcing many errors from the Fife visitors. However, in keeping with this season's theme, Knights continually threw away the chances to put easy points on the board and after a sluggish first half on offence went in at half time with a one point lead 26-25.
In the second half, led by the defensive effort of Cory McCabe and David Hannah, the Knights began to pull away with Jack Burgess and Connor Rankin connecting on some big three point shots as well as punishing Reign on the fast break. Good spells too from captain Mark Duncan and Daniel Donnelly saw the Knights finally managing to play the style of basketball they have sought all season. An incredible final quarter of 33-10, enabled the Stirling men to rack up their highest total, whilst allowing the least points scored, this season winning emphatically 84-53.
Jack Burgess had his finest game of the season with tremendous effort on defence and on the break, as well as connecting on 4 three point shots to rack up 25 points. Daniel Donnelly added 18 points, Connor Rankin 12, Matt Dick 10, Mark Duncan 8 and Mitch Graham enjoying a fine showing with 8 points. With just one league game left against Boroughmuir Blaze, the Knights will be looking to repeat this kind of performance to take some momentum into the playoffs. Head Coach Pete Duncan "The first half was a struggle but things clicked for us in the third quarter and we blew them away in the fourth. Our young players are showing they can step up to the Men's game and I'm happy looking to the future with this squad."
The club continues to make remarkable progress in Scottish Basketball as they come to the end of their third season in existence, with the youth development program only launched in April 2011.
In the Under 16 Regional Development League, the Knights U16 Men defeated Blaze 37-27 and then Reign 50-27 to win the RDL on a record of eleven wins and one loss. The U16s, in only their second season, have made great progress under Coach Colin Lynch and are also looking for a top two finish in the National League division two. The boys now progress to a playoff final in April with the RDL trophy up for grabs.
The U12 Knights boys went into the weekend with a fourteen game unbeaten record and were looking to secure a final two wins to maintain their record. After a slow start in the first game, the young Knights comfortably edged out Blaze 45-25 then thrashed Fury 39-12 to finish their RDL season with a 100% record. The boys, also, now face a playoff final in April for the RDL trophy. The outstandng duo of Ruari Doherty and Lewis McGlasson were ably supported by many players who have been brought to the game through the Friday Knights Primary League, showing that the excellent youth development set up at Stirling Knights is already starting to show its impact. U12 Coach Les McGlasson "Our youth development work in Stirling and Clackmannanshire is second to none and we are promoting strong values to the kids as well as coaching them the right way to play. In the U12 squad we have four players who are actually Under 10 age, so the future is bright".
Knights fail to topple Kings
One week on from their heroics in the 'battle of Falkirk', the Stirling Knights Men hosted recent Scottish Cup Champions and reigning League Champions, Edinburgh Kings in their penultimate home league match of the season.
The Kings, who will have a lot to thank the Knights for if they go on to take the title, started very well behind the exceptional speed and guard play of the Reilly brothers and Gareth Lodge. Stirling tried to keep the pace but the Kings punidhed every error and racked up a massive 31-13 scoreline after only one quarter. In the second, it was much the same story with Lativian Edgars Rekis and big man Simon Flockhart doing the damage with Knights once again struggling to connect on their attempts with Kings leading 57-24 at the half.
In the second half, some improved focus from Knights saw better play at both ends with Matthew Dick showing his potential with 20 points and 11 rebounds alongside guards Cory McCabe and David Hannah who were giving maximum effort on defense. Mark Duncan was called for his second unsportsmanlike foul and had to leave the game which left the Knights short on scoring. In the end, the Knights went down 107-63 leaving them with a lot to reflect on. Guard Connor Ranking hit 15 points for Knights and is improving with every game.
Head of Knights Pete Duncan "This game was always down as a loss for us but we need to show a better level of effort and performance. Over two hundred people filled The Peak and the first half was unacceptable. Our heads went down quickly as Kings literally punish every error, we've had 24 turnovers and no doubt they've turned them into 48 points. In the second half we improved but still lost by nine. They are very good though and play basketball the right way."
The Knights will now look to win their final two league games to give them a chance at a sixth place finish in the National League, this would mean playing the third postioned team in the first round of the Playoffs. Knights host Dunfermline Reign this Friday at The Peak, 8pm tip off with the Friday Knights Primary League on from 6pm.Knights leave their Mark on the Fury
Last Friday the Stirling Knights Men's National League Basketball team made their shortest away game commute to the Mariner Centre in Falkirk, to face a Fury team who were undefeated in the league this season and looked on course for their first league title since 2001.
The Knights were up for the game in a big way and having started poorly in the past against their Falkirk rivals, the emphasis for the team was to get points on the board and keep the game close. The first quarter ended 24-18 to Fury with Connor Rankin showing his potential and keeping the Knights in touch. The second quarter was much the same with Stirling's Mark Duncan and Daniel Donnelly combining for 14 points in the period, leaving the Knights trailing by 42-35 at half time. A good start by the Knights to the third quarter pulled the difference back to four points but with Daniel Donnelly on the bench with his fourth foul, Fury started to hit some big shots and made use of their very physical defence to pull away to lead by fourteen going into the final period 60-46.
In an eventful last quarter, the Stirling side started well and regained the momentum behind a Connor Rankin three pointer and a thunderous dunk from big man Matt Dick. Fuelled by these scores, the Knights defence began to take over and outstanding rebounding from Matt Dick and Daniel Donnelly allowed Stirling to shut out their opponents. Big scoring plays from Jack Burgess and a key defensive spell from David Hannah allowed the Knights to bring the score back level at 64-64 with only 30 seconds remaining and the Knights in possession.
Following a time out, the Knights looked to Donnelly to seal the game and when he made his move to score he appeared to be fouled by Fury's Greek player Foussas, who stole the ball and was fouled himself. With an unsportsman-like foul called, Fury had two free throws and possession of the ball and looked set to steal the win when Foussas connected on both foul shots to put Fury up 66-64. On the next play, the Knights defence was immense and they forced a shot clock violation with Fury failing to get a shot up. With just 6 seconds remaining Coach Duncan called his last time out, which enabled the Knights to take position in the Fury half, and he drew up a play for Knights to score. On the inbound ball, Fury managed to deflect a pass which gave Stirling another side ball with only 3 seconds left and down two points. Connor Rankin couldn't get a clear pass into Daniel Donnelly but he found Knights Captain Mark Duncan, who took one dribble to his left and launched a three point shot over the Fury team as the time counted down. As the crowd gasped at what might happen, the ball swished through the net and the Knights won the game 67-66 sparking amazing celebrations from the Stirling contingent and silencing the fierce home crowd with Fury suffering their first loss in fourteen games this season.
Top performers for Knights were the game's best player Daniel Donnelly who scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, hero of the hour Mark Duncan had 18 points with Connor Rankin on 15 points and a tremendous defensive display holding Fury guard Jonny Bunyan to just 14 points. Matt Dick was also a force on rebounds grabbing 14 in the game for his side.
Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan "Buzzer beater wins are always exciting but given the context of this game and the teams, this was a very special win. We knew if we kept the score tight we could challenge but when they went up by fourteen I thought the fight was over but credit to my team who fought their way back in and refused to be beaten. To win the last quarter 21-6 is unbelievable but it shows everyone what we are capable of. We have challenged every team this year but often lost our way in the vital last quarters of games but we definitely found our way in this game. This is a great sporting moment."
The Knights now face joint league leaders Edinburgh Kings this Friday at The Peak with an 8pm tip off, with the Friday Knights Primary League starting from 6pm.
Knights coaches in Scotland Call
Stirling Knights are celebrating the success of three of the club’s coaches who have been appointed to National Squad coaching positions by Basketball Scotland. Head Coach of the Lady Knights teams, Dave Evans, has been appointed as Assistant Coach to the Under 16 Ladies National Team and Head Coach to the Under 14 Girls. Knights community coach Jack Burgess, who recently won young coach of the year at the Stirling Sports Awards, has been appointed Assistant Coach to the Scotland Under 14 boys. Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan rounds off the success having been appointed as Assistant Coach to the Men’s National Team and will work alongside Head Coach Iain McLean, who is one of Britain’s finest ever players and brings a wealth of experience to the position.
Coach Evans said “To be given this opportunity again, to build my knowledge of the sport and to attend another U16 European Championships under Head Coach Luis Romero is a dream come true. His experience and knowledge helps me to progress as a coach at both club level and National Squad level. As the U14 Scotland Girls Head Coach, I get the opportunity to push my coaching at the highest level and to pass on my coaching style to the selected squad. We will certainly be looking to play a fast paced style of basketball at Summer Slam and to help every player improve during the practice sessions. I’ll certainly be looking forward to the start of the programme in March. These opportunities are not only great for me, but for the development of Stirling Knights Basketball Club. All the skills that I learn will be used to help build the girls section of Stirling Knights.”
In action on the court, the Knights men once again let a twelve point lead slide when they lost to Glasgow Rocks 72-67. Despite going up early 16-6, the Stirling men felt the loss of unavailable guards in David Porter and David Hannah, as they had to work hard for every point. When big men Mark Duncan and Matt Dick fouled out in the fourth quarter the writing was on the wall and despite Daniel Donnelly doing his best to keep Knights in it another loss was inflicted. Matt Dick and Daniel Donnelly with 18 points and 11 rebounds each.
The Club’s youth teams were also in action, with the U12 boys team continuing their fine season with four more big wins which takes them to eleven games unbeaten, led by the play of outstanding duo Lewis McGlasson and Ruari Doherty. The U14 boys also scored a fantastic win over West Lothian, with Iain Shilliday, Jacob Franklyn and Evan Dobbie showing their potential. The U14 girls split their games with Dunbar, winning one and losing the other however the girls showed great spirit and their future on the court looks bright. The U16 boys notched another two wins to remain top of the Regional Development League, thanks mainly to the fine play from captain James McNeil. All players, parents and coaches were once again a huge credit to the club and well done to all who participated.
Knights lose a close one with students
Around 300 fans packed The Peak last Friday to support the Knights Senior Men’s National League team in their first home action of the New Year. The visitors, a talented Glasgow University team with top Canadian and Lithuainian players, got the better of the Stirling men in the season’s previous encounter.
The Knights started well, particularly on defence forcing many turnovers and tough shots to lead the students at the end of the first period 14-13. Some poor execution followed, with Knights missing many clear cut scoring opportunities as the visitors hung on thanks mainly to the three point shooting of Ugg Zauamauskas, with the half time score seeing the students up 27-25.
In the third the game remained tight, with Mark Duncan and Daniel Donnelly finally connecting on their shots and guard David Porter adding value to the Knights offence. Duncan and Donnelly then found themselves in foul trouble, with Euan Cameron stepping up and performing well for the home team.
With Glasgow up 47-46 going into the last quarter, the game remained close but when Knights lost Mark Duncan to his fifth foul Glasgow capitalised to go on an 11-0 run which they maintained to the finish behind big three pointers from their foreign stars to win 73-59.
Top scorers for Knights were Mark Duncan 15, David Porter 12 and Dan Donnelly 10. Canadian Alilovic had 18 for Glasgow, with Zausmaukas impressing with 6 from 8 three pointers for 20 points.
Head Coach for Stirling Pete Duncan “The final score does not reflect how close this game was. We showed great spirit on defence and we kept the game tight, with an improved shooting percentage we would have won the game. Our aim is to shoot a combined 55% in our games, we only shot around 41% combined in this game and we didn’t stop their main threats”
Knights are away this weekend with a trip to face Glasgow Rocks on Saturday morning. The club’s youth teams also return to action this Sunday.
Knights fall to the Storm
The Stirling Knights Men's National League team tipped off the new year with a visit to Springburn to face Glasgow Storm. With the Knights already having claimed a win in the first league meeting between the teams in October, hopes were high for a repeat.
Stirling started brightly with some good teamwork at both ends of the court and raced to an 18-12 first quarter lead. Glasgow fought back in the second quarter but the Knights kept them at bay thanks to 15 first half points from young big man Matthew Dick. In the third, the game remained a close contest when the Stirling men let a ten point lead slide due to some poor rebounding and turnovers, giving the Glasgow side some momentum heading into the last quarter. In the fourth, Knights Matt Dick picked up his fourth foul early and was forced to the bench but Daniel Donnelly picked up the slack and kept his side in control. However, Storm would not be put away with point guard Kevin Scott enjoying a fine game and when Matt Dick came back into the action he picked up his fifth foul, leaving the Knights team lacking their best rebounding presence.
The game was then marred by a very unsavoury incident which involved Knights star Jack Burgess suddenly being held in a choke hold and pulled to the floor by a Storm player. Unbelievably, both players were disqualified from the game with Knights team officials astonished at the call to punish Burgess. With two minutes remaining and the game tied, Knights took a valuable two point lead from a nice move by captain Mark Duncan. On the next play, Knights forced an end line ball and a momentary lack of focus let Kevin Scott sink a three pointer to put his Storm side up by one point. Stirling then failed to score on the next play with Glasgow picking up another basket to lead by three points with ten seconds left.
The final play of the game saw Knights' Connor Rankin fouled on a three point attempt which resulted in three free throws, which if scored would force overtime. Connor hit the first two shots with the third rimming out into the hands of Mark Duncan, who went for the game winner only to have the ball poked away from him. Final score 73-72 to Storm.
Top Scorers for Knights were Matt Dick on 21, Dan Donnelly on 15, Connor Rankin 13 and Jack Burgess 12. For Storm, Kevin Scott had 24 with Martin Walmsley on 16. A near despondent Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan said "Once again we've had a good lead and lost, its very disappointing. The injustice of losing Jack in the incident certainly affected us but we should have pulled through. It was a tough game, there were errors on our part which we must put right. However, credit must go to Storm who hit some big shots to put us away."
Knights host Glasgow University this Friday 8pm at The Peak, with the Friday Knights Primary League tipping off from 6pm. All spectators welcome.
Young Knights continue to shine
The Stirling Knights Under 12 boys continued their glorious start to the season by dominating another league day of the East and Central Regional Development League in Edinburgh. No team could match the play of the Knights' two stars Lewis McGlasson (S1 Wallace High) and Ruari Doherty (P7 Cambusbarron PS). By defeating Peregrines 46-6, Blaze 41-16 and Kings 52-12, the young players from Stirling enjoyed a fantastic day with many of the team experiencing their first taste of league action. Much of the teams success is down to Coach Les McGlasson's hard work within the club and Primary League.
The Under 14 and Under 16 boys narrowly lost their match ups in the Capital however both coaches noted the development taking place and were pleased the players were learning from their game experiences. The U18 Men were in National League action, taming the Edinburgh Lions 53-48 in their first game whilst losing the second to a strong Grampian team 57-45. Wallace High's Connor Sharp and Stirling High's James Lindsay performed well for the team, with youngsters James McNeil (Alva Academy) and Cameron O'Donnell (Balfron High) stepping up an age group and impacting positively on the team.
Knights lose in Ayrshire
The Stirling Knights Senior Men National League team, minus captain Mark Duncan and defensive specialist David Hannah, made the trip to East Ayrshire’s Stewarton Sports Centre to face Troon Tornadoes, the third best team in Scotland who had previously defeated Knights at The Peak. With three further absentees through injury, the Knights managed to field a squad of just seven against their full strength opponents.
The host started well, with Stirling unable to finish around the rim, and quickly raced to a 12-2 lead. A Timeout from Knights and some adjustments saw the score 18-9 after the first quarter. In the second, Knights started to find some rhythm to their game only for Troon to hit back to back three pointers to go in at the half 48-32 ahead. In the third quarter Matt Dick and Dan Donnelly started to pull it back for Knights and with guard David Porter in fine form, the Knights began to chip away at the Troon lead, pulling it back to just six. Despite the Knights winning the second half by four, the experienced Ayrshire side pulled through and in the end ran out winners 72-60 leaving Stirling to rue the opening spell which gave the hosts their ten point advantage.
Top scorers for Knights were Donnelly on 17, David Porter 13, Matt Dick 12 with 14 rebounds and Jack Burgess chipping in 10. For Troon, veterans Andy Pearson and Euan Campbell impressed, with Ifedade Thomas also on fine form. Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan “This was always going to be a tough fixture given our absences, against a good team in good form. I thought we competed well though after a poor start. With the exception of the top two, we have given every team a game this season and with small adjustments we could easily be sitting third in the National League. We will look to get a few more wins under our belt in 2013 and hope to do well in the Playoffs.”
The Knights’ Men next game is January 12th away to Glasgow Storm. The club’s youth teams are all in action this weekend.
Saints rule over Knights
The Stirling Knights Senior Men travelled to Linwood last weekend in an early tip off against St Mirren, who boast four players from last summer's Scotland Senior Men's team and had defeated the Knights by more than thirty points in their previous National League encounter in September. With Knights missing four key rotational players through work and injury, Knights junior Connor Sharp (Wallace HS) was promoted to the senior side.
Both teams started brightly with Knights at last showing their scoring potential and producing some excellent team basketball and both ends of the floor. Fast Break dunks from Matthew Dick and Daniel Donnelly gave the Knights some much needed momentum and with Mark Duncan stepping up along with Jack Burgess playing well the Stirling side looked well in control but the hosts never gave up with Nick Collins and Fraser Glass keeping the game close.
A one point halftime lead for Stirling meant they had to come out firing in the third, and they did. Back to back three's from Burgess and a lay up from Donnelly put the Knights 8 points up , forcing Saints into a time out. The hosts came back thanks to a big three from Fraser Glass and then a technical foul on the Knights, who were forced into their own timeout. St Mirren continued to hold the momentum though, and three further three point shots saw them up by nine going into the final quarter. In a scrappy fourth quarter both teams lost their way a bit but a more disciplined final approach from the sides saw a final score of 94-83 to St Mirren.
In a pleasing performance, the Knights starting five all managed in double figure scoring with Dan Donnelly once again leading the team with 20 points and 13 rebounds, Mark Duncan with 18 points and 8 rebounds, Connor Rankin on 17 points in a good performance, Jack Burgess on 16 points and Matt Dick on 10 points and 14 rebounds. Head Coach Pete Duncan "This was a great performance from us, the team seems to have gelled well now and our scorers really stepped up. There's no doubt we can compete for a top three spot in future years. In this game, if we could have avoided our momentum changing technical fouls and made a few more of our easier chances the score would have been in our favour. Credit to St Mirren who, once again, came from behind to beat us. They have some quality players for sure."
Young Knights charge to the top
With no Senior games the focus for Stirling Knights Basketball was very much on the youth teams with Under 16, Under 14 and Under 12 boys all in action alongside the Under 14 and Under 16 girls, who were also competing in the monthly Regional Development Leagues hosted in Stirling last weekend.
It has been a long wait for the U12 boys since the disappointment of missing out on the Finals Weekend last year by baskets difference and they took to the court looking menacing in black, certain not to lose out this season. Whilst retaining the experience of Lewis McGlasson (Wallace HS) and Ruari Doherty (Cambusbarron PS) in the team, the U12 boys now also have great future players in the making like Nathan Cuthbert, Alex Jamieson, Oliver Yarrow, Callum McGlasson and Shay McIntyre along with others waiting to break through into the team. The launch of the Friday Knights Primary League has meant that new players are getting started in basketball through their Cluster Clubs and are learning fast. Indeed, the new players performed very well in what was an awesome performance in front of the Wallace HS crowd.
The day got off to a flying start with Knights overcoming West Lothian Wolves by 66-13. The Knights were then due to play Gracemount Panthers but their no-show meant a rearranged local derby with Knights v Fury. The Stirling youngsters again dominated, with a strong performance from Lewis McGlasson, finally coming out winners 44-8. The last game of the day saw the Knights pitch battle against the Lions with the Knights showing their metal and overcoming their feline friends 55-14. An overall excellent performance by the young Knights, particularly the rookies, in a daunting atmosphere to score 165 points to 35 in return in sixty minutes of Basketball is a great achievement.
The Under 14 boys enjoyed a fine win over Boroughmuir Blaze with Iain Shilliday (St Modan's) showing his potential before succumbing to a bad ankle injury. In their second game, the Stirling boys performed well before eventually going down to Edinburgh Kings 26-20. Solid performances from George Muir (Bannockburn HS) and Jacob Franklyn (Lornshill) showed the improvement and potential in the team. The Under 14 girls squad performed very well in their games defeating East Lothian and Gracemount, with the Under 16 girls also enjoying their first win over Polonia Phoenix before losing to a strong Falkirk Fury side. The Under 16 boys rotated their squad for games against Dunfermline Reign and West Lothian Wolves, with many younger players notching their first points for Knights in two wins for the team. The Under 16 boys currently sit undefeated and top of the Regional Development League as well as holding top spot in the National League Division 2. Knights club chief Pete Duncan said "It was a fantastic day for the Knights youth development. To have so many young players involved in basketball from across Stirling and Clacks in such a short time is fantastic and to actually be top of the leagues is an added bonus. Credit must go to my coaching team, who as individuals and as a team are really doing some fantastic work to develop the young players".
A Fantastic Knight at the Stirling Sports Awards
The Great Hall in Stirling Castle was the spectacular venue for the 2012 Stirling Sports Awards, which recognize and reward sporting endeavors across the Stirling area. GB Gold Medal winning Triathlete Alistair Brownlee was in attendance to present the awards and gave a speech on his fantastic Summer.
Stirling Knights Basketball club received their first ever award in their first ever season in 2010, when they picked up Charter Club status from ClubSport Stirling. In 2011, with development work just under way the Knights were nominated in the ‘Club of the Year’ category but lost out on the actual prize.
2012 saw the Knights represented in SIX categories, with the club nominating a seventh in GB Basketball Olympian Kieron Achara - who was up against Andy Murray for the night’s top award.
The first award of the evening was for Young Sportsmen of the year, with Knights’ own U12 Scotland star Lewis McGlasson nominated alongside many other young sporting contenders. Lewis lost out to a much older triathlete but gained great recognition for the club with his nomination - Lewis is the first ever male player from the Knights' development program to represent Scotland.
The next award was Young Coach of the Year, with Knights' Community Coach Jack Burgess scooping the prize to a rapturous applause from the crowd. Jack, recently appointed to the National Coaching Team for Under 14 boys, gave a fantastic acceptance speech to the guests in the great hall highlighting his future plans and hopes for the Knights and himself.
Next up was the Sporting Endeavor award, which recognizes top sporting performers who have overcome adversity to achieve in their field. Knights’ Mitchell Graham claimed the honour, having had a fantastic year as the star of the GB Deaf Basketball Team playing in World and European Championships, Mitch (19) also carried the Olympic Torch through the streets of Stirling in June.
The next prize was for Young Sports Team of the year, with Knights Under 12 boys nominated for their outstanding achievements in their inaugural season. Coach Les McGlasson was on hand to collect the nomination but unfortunately lost out to the Stirling County RFC U18s team, who had gone the full season undefeated. No doubt a great achievement but Knights club officials were left wondering if perhaps this category should be split for U18s and U14s, given the sporting prowess in Stirling across this age group.
The next award was for Local service to Sport, given to an individual who had committed outstanding voluntary service in order to progress their club and sport in the local community. Knights Head of Basketball Pete Duncan was nominated in this category for his work in building the club from a single senior mens team into a leading development club. This award had 3 winners on the night, with Coach Duncan scooping one of them alongside Cricket Legend Raymond Bond and Triathlon supremo Graham Coull. A flabbergasted Pete received his award and highlighted the hard work of his team of coaches and officials, along with the support of Active Stirling and Active Schools - whilst also thanking his wife for her support.
The final award scooped by the Knights, was the most sought after by the club - “Development Club of the Year”. Pete Duncan was on hand once again to receive the nomination and a huge roar went through the Great Hall when Knights won their fourth award of the evening! A fantastic achievement for Knights and a super effort from all involved. Kieron lost out to fellow local hero Andy Murray on the night’s top award.
Head Coach Pete “We are extremely proud of our awards tonight, a lot of hard work goes into building and running the club and its great to be recognized in this way so shortly into our third season. However, we won’t rest on our laurels, we have exciting new projects underway with Friday Knights Primary League, National League Girls and a link to Stirling University and the Institute of Sport planned too. Watch this space.”
Mixed fortunes for Knights’ teams
On another busy weekend of action, the Stirling Knights Men hosted National League rivals Boroughmuir Blaze with Knights under 16 men playing a pair of games in the National League division 2.
In the men’s game, Knights started brightly with Connor Rankin, Matt Dick and Dan Donnelly scoring well but the visitors were also in fine form with Davy Rowan and Polish star Tomas Cicenas leading the scoring for Blaze as they went ahead 22-18 after the first quarter. In the second, both teams were a match again with Matt notching nine personal points in the period for Stirling while Blaze continued to put pressure on the Knights defence to go in at halftime ahead 40-37. In the third quarter, the game remained very close with both defences tightening up with Knights facing a fourth quarter deficit of 53-49. In the final period, both teams went all out for the win with Blaze hitting two massive three point shots while Knights failed to connect on any of their eight attempted three pointers.
With the game in the balance the calls didn’t go Knights way and in the end had to foul to stop the clock with the final score 68-62. Top performers for Knights were Matt Dick with 23 points and 14 rebounds in another fine display, with Dan Donnelly not far behind on 22 points and 13 rebounds. David Hannah and Cory McCabe continued to show the right attitude on defence but no doubts that offensively the Stirling men struggled. Knights Head Pete Duncan “We actually didn’t play that badly and at times some really good basketball was on show. Unfortunately for us, too many of our guys had an off night shooting wise. We can live with one player having a bad game but when three or four do its hard to compete, we didn’t really have anyone backing up Matt and Dan.”
In contrast, the Under 16 Knights continued their fine form in the National League Division 2 with impressive victories over the Tayside Musketeers and Boroughmuir Blaze ‘B’ teams, 93-49 and 107-43. The young teams were no match for the Stirling boys, who are performing at a level which should see them promoted to division 1 for next season. Ethan Dobbie and Gregor Bain performed excellently in the first game with Cammy O’Donnell shining in the second. All twelve players contributed to the great performance and the young Knights will now look to maintain their momentum which sees them top of the league with seven wins and one loss. In another boost for the side, Knights Under 15 star Michael Walker has been selected to the Scotland National U15 Team for the upcoming International campaign. Michael is the fourth Knight to be selected for Scotland during the club’s brief twenty month youth development program. With more selections expected at Under 12 and 14 level, the future remains bright for the club.
Champions Kings out manoeuvre Knights
The Stirling Knights mens team travelled to the capital to face red hot current league champions Edinburgh Kings. The Kings have once again made an undefeated start to the season behind the great play of star player Lee Reilly and their Eastern European imports Andrius Ciapas and Edgars Rekis.
Knights got off to a flying start and were initially more than a match for the Kings as they battled hard at both ends of the court. Dan Donnelly notching 7 points in the period for Stirling with captain Mark Duncan performing well on defence, only surpassed by Latvian Rekis with 12. In the second quarter, Knights had to manage without Jack Burgess who injuured his ankle and their good offensive spell suffered with the lightning fast Kings players turning every missed shot into an easy fast break score. In the second half, a tiring Knights side continued to suffer from the superior passing of Kings and despite some good spells from Connor Rankin, Euan Cameron and David Hannah were unable to keep in touch with a final score of 101-57. Top performers for Knights were Donnelly on 15 points and 11 rebounds, Matt Dick on 13 points and 12 rebounds with Connor Rankin on 10 points. For Kings, Rekis had 21 points and Paddy Campbell 20. Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan “We started very well and the effort levels throughout the game were tremendous, however Kings punish every error and they are a great team. Dan Donnelly was superb and was literally fouled everytime he went to the basket. I was disappointed with the referees tonight. We will move on and aim to beat blaze this week in Stirling”
The Knights will be looking to their fans for support when they host rivals Blaze this Friday at The Peak with an 8pm tip following the Friday Knights Primary League which starts at 6pm.
Junior Knights charge to the top
The Stirling Knights Under 16 Men continued their excellent form in the National League Division 2, with comprehensive victories over Glasgow Rens and St Mirren. The boys, in only their second season, have been working hard to learn the style of play expected of them and started well against Glasgow with good transition basketball leading to easy baskets and a halftime score of 36-21. In the second half, Knights managed to give their younger players experience and finished the game with a good win,78-54. Top performers for Knights were Ethan Dobbie on a season high of 35 points, James McNeil on 14, Gregor Bain on 13 and Cameron O’Donnell with 8 blocked shots.
In the second game, a young St Mirren side were no match for Knights who continued to provide easy scoring opportunities by playing very good defence. Knights got off to a high tempo start and quickly ran up points from fast breaks and steels. Led by James McNeil and Michael Jozajtis, Stirling were 36-4 ahead after the first quarter. With the team running their bench, St Mirren really struggled to cope with the pace and movement of the Knights and the half finished at 63-9. With more of the fringe players getting good minutes on the court, the pace of the game eased and in the end the Knights ran out the game comfortably 89-26. Top players for Knights were Ethan Dobbie 27, James McNeil 21, Michael Jozajtis 17 and Cameron O’Donnell on 14. Coach Lynch commented after the game “I am really pleased at how we played offensively today. In training we work on quick ball movement and passing and today we were able to deliver that in the games. Defensively there is still things to work on, however I am pleased at our progress in the National League this year.”
The new Friday Knights Primary League continued with a great turnout of youngsters from the across the area. Wallace Warriors continued to show their potential with wins over the Stirling Steelers and Bannockburn Bulls. This new initiative is sure to secure the future of the club with future Knights stars having the chance to play from an early age.
In the Senior National League, the Knights lost heavily in the local derby game against National League leaders Falkirk Fury. A very poor start from Knights saw them unable to execute the easy chances and quickly went down in the first quarter 19-8. Foul trouble then hampered their cause as Scotland point guard Jonny Bunyan continued to score for Falkirk play after play. In the second half, Stirling guards Cory McCabe and David Hannah showed the desire expected in the game but Knights scoring woes continued resulting in their worst performance of the season with the only positive being Matthew Dick's double double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan "We were in good form going into the game but it just didn't happen tonight. We haven't even done the basics well in the game and we did not compete. Our usual scorers didn't step up at all."
Knights Men travel this week to Edinburgh to play the current league champions Kings.
Knights ‘hit the Rocks’ to secure home win
Another huge turnout of over 300 fans packed The Peak last Friday to see the Knights take on Glasgow Rocks’ National League team. The Rocks, who have added 6ft 7” Lithuanian Justin Mamaitis to their ranks, have made a strong start to the season and have been competing well in their games which meant the Knights did not take their opponents lightly. In a closely fought game, both teams started brightly with Stirling edging their opponents 23-19 in the first quarter with some good play form David Hannah and David Porter at the guard positions. In the second, both teams remained on form and were unable to make a run to pull away with Knights edging halftime 39-36. The third quarter saw the Stirling men tighten up on defence with veteran Scotland player Mark Duncan doing a terrific job on the Rocks main threat and Euan Cameron having a solid spell from the bench. In the final quarter, the Knights finally managed to pull away from the Rocks and behind a big three pointer from Dan Donnelly closed the game out to win 72-65.
Top performers for Knights were club captain Mark Duncan who had 20 points, 8 rebounds and 6 steals showing that fifteen years after his senior league debut, he is still one of the league’s leading defensive players by closing down Mamaitis and holding him to only 6 second half points. Dan Donnelly led all scorers with 23 points and 11 rebounds, for the season his league scoring average is 25 points per game. Matthew Dick had a fine performance notching 12 points and 8 rebounds. Head Coach Pete Duncan “This was an important win against a good team and we have shown tremendous team spirit this season with all 12 players working for each other. We will have to work hard this week and make sure we can compete with a very strong Falkirk team in our next game.”
This Friday, Knights continue national league duties when they take on early season league leaders Falkirk Fury in the central derby game with an 8pm tip off at The Peak.
In related news, the undefeated Stirling local league side SK Central Jaguars currently sit top of the Lothian League Division 2 with six wins after a great win over their closest rivals Edinburgh Lions. Led by Cameron Kerr, Matt Hoffman and Robert Thomson the Jags played some terrific basketball and will now look to keep up their record in the next part of the season.
Last weekend saw the inaugural games in the new ‘Friday Knights Primary League’, the latest project from Stirling Knights Basketball Club, Active Stirling and Basketball Scotland’s ‘Future Clubz’ program, which involves primary five to primary seven aged teams from four clusters in a tournament on The Peak showcourt. The first night of games had thirty new young players taking part, representing their cluster and having great fun. The Balfron Beez showed some good form against the Stirling Steelers, who in the end were too strong. The Wallace Wolves showed their potential in a good win against the Bannockburn Bulls and all teams will return this Friday for the next round of action from 6pm. Primary League Co-ordinator Jay Runga “The young players of Stirling have a great opportunity now to get on our basketball pathway early and to learn and enjoy basketball in a fun environment. We also have our young leaders helping to coach and referee which is great development for them and we are looking for interested parents to get involved too.”
Knights Men suffer defeat in busy weekend of action
A very busy weekend for Stirling Knights Basketball saw six of the club’s team involved in league action across Scotland.
First up, was the National League Men’s team who travelled to Glasgow University to take on a very talented group of mainly foreign students. The hosts started the game well, with Canadian player Al Alilovic capitalising on some poor passing and execution from Knights who ended the first period down 16-6. In the second, Knights found their offensive rhythm led by guard David Porter and continued to play some good defence closing the gap to 3 points before the University regained composure to go in at halftime 36-28 ahead. Crucially, Knights star Dan Donnelly picked up his 4th foul just before halftime and had to sit for most of the third period, which gave the Students a chance to take advantage behind Canadian guard John Bustin who rattled in the first twelve points of the quarter. Donnelly re entered the action and Knights fought back but lost captain Mark Duncan to his 5th foul and in the end the easy opportunities missed by Stirling meant a final score line of 83-71. Knights still managed to have four players in double figures with Donnelly on 18, David Porter 17, Jack Burgess 12 and Matt Dick 10. The students Canadian combo of Alilovic and Bustin added 27 and 24, with Lithuanian Zaliusmaus on 14. Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan “We’ve lost by 12 but we must have gifted them at least 20 points and that’s not including the easy stuff we missed round the basket. Their foreign imports are great players but we are more than a match for them and hope to win against them in the return game at The Peak.” Next up for the men is a crucial home clash this Friday against Glasgow Rocks, 8pm tip off where guards Cory McCabe and David Hannah should return for the home side.
The Knights U18 Men were in National League Division 2 action on Sunday at The Peak. The boys, in their first ever season, lost to a good Renfrew Rocks side in their first match up while in the second game Knights suffered an agonising overtime defeat to Pentland Tigers. The U16 Men led by Coach Lynch faired better in the first Regional Development League day of the new season, winning against Edinburgh Kings and Falkirk Fury to go top of the league. The U14 boys and girls and Coaches Burgess and Evans had to field severely weakened teams due to the school holidays but the available players gave their all despite losing their matchups in Edinburgh. The newly affiliated SK Central Jaguars won their tie with Pleasance Pace and currently sit top of the Lothian League with five wins and no losses. That record is under threat when they face fellow table toppers Edinburgh Lions this Friday.
This week sees the launch of the new Friday Knights Primary League, a new initiave by the Knights supported by basketballscotland’s ‘Future Clubz’ campaign to encourage basketball participation from Primary 5 - 7. Cluster coaching sessions for Wallace, Stirling, Balfron and Bannockburn will take place during the week and are followed by mini league on a Friday before the Men’s game. Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan “Its an exciting time for basketball in Stirling, we only started our youth teams 18 months ago and a lot of progress has been made. The Friday Knights league will ensure we are giving the best possible preparation to our future players by involving them from as young as Primary 5. I hope in 5 years that we will be fighting it out at the top of all the youth leagues.”
The Knights have been nominated for seven awards at the upcoming Stirling Sports Awards, which is held at Stirling Castle with this year’s guest speaker being Olympic Gold Medal winning triathlete Alistair Brownlee. The award nominations for Knights are: Development Club of the year, Lewis McGlasson - Young Sports Person, Knights U12 boys - Young Sports Team, Jack Burgess - Young Coach, Mitch Graham - Sporting Endeavour and Pete Duncan - Service to Sport. Stirling’s GB Olympic Basketball hero Kieron Achara was nominated by the club for Sports Person of the Year in recognition of his outstanding performances and achievements.
Knights join forces with Jaguars
Stirling Knights Basketball Club have further extended their pathway by merging with Lothian League team The Central Jaguars. The Jags, who include players from across Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire, currently play in Division 2 of the local league and have made a winning start so far to in the new season. The move will see players on the periphery of the Knights National League squad gaining match experience by representing the Jags with a joint training session once a week. Head of Knights Pete Duncan "I'm delighted to have made this move which will benfit both teams greatly. We are only in our third season but will shortly be producing a lot of young players who will need a competitive outlet which the Jags will provide. The players are really good guys and are keen to have a more professional approach and learn from the more experienced guys, the future looks bright." The team will now be called The S.K. Central Jaguars and you can follow their progress on the Knights facebook page, website and http://lothian.leaguerepublic.com/
Knights calm the storm
Glasgow Storm were the visitors to a packed Stirling Sports Village at The Peak last Friday to take on the Knights Senior Men in the Scottish National Basketball League. With the crowd providing a buzz the Knights got off to a brilliant start scoring four 3 point shots in the opening period which saw them race to a 21-12 lead, with all 12 of the visitors points scored by their big man Martin Walmsley.
In the second quarter, Storm found their rhythm and Scotland Under 23 Guard Kevin Scott went on a run to hit 15 points with Knights own Scotland Star Dan Donnelly replying with 9 to keep his team 36-35 up going in at halftime. In the third, Knights’ veteran defender David Hannah was introduced to the line up and shut Storm’s danger man Scott down. This improved the team defence and the Stirling side held their Glaswegian visitors to just 9 points in the period whilst notching 20 themselves, led again by the unstoppable Donnelly who drew numerous fouls and scored 8 of his 10 third quarter points from the foul line. In the fourth, Knights were up by as much as twenty points with coach Duncan running his bench but the aggressive Storm team fought back and made a game of it, picking up numerous fouls and unsportsmanlike calls with four of the team fouling out. Knights held on for their first home league win 74-66 and maintain their fourth placed league position.
Top players for Knights were Dan Donnelly with 30 points and 14 rebounds, supported by Matt Dick with 10 points, 18 rebounds and 4 blocks. Connor Rankin and Mark Duncan added 11 points each with the defence of David Hannah worth special mention. For Storm, Kevin Scott had 21 and Martin Walmsley 22.
Knights Captain Mark Duncan “We performed well on defence tonight and our offence was much better too. We still missed some easy stuff and we missed 17 free throws, we could have won by much more but we’re pretty happy with how we’re developing”.
Indeed, the development of the club as a whole is impressive with around 150 members now from Under 12 up to Senior and with crowds continuing to pack The Peak many supporters have commented how fantastic it is to see the youth of Stirling having such a great opportunity in Basketball and on a Friday night being involved in something positive.
The Knights have a break this weekend and pick up league action again on Saturday 20th October away to Glasgow University.
Knights crash out of cup
All three Stirling National League basketball teams crashed out of the Scottish Cup last weekend, with the Under 16s losing out to visitors Dunfermline - despite an outstanding game from Balfron’s Cameron O’Donnell. The newly formed Under 18s also lost to high flying Boroughmuir Blaze. The top level Knights men’s team lost away to Blaze in the senior competition in what turned out to be a close game at The Crags, Edinburgh - one of only three all National League ties in this round.
It was the hosts who started the better, with former Scotland guard Kevin Anderson rolling back the years to lead his team into a 20-13 first quarter lead. In the second, Knights hit back through good play from Dan Donnelly and Matt Dick but once again Anderson thwarted the come back going in at half time with 16 points, with his team leading 48-32.
A change of tactics from Knights in the half time team talk saw a renewed energy and focus on defence, and the Stirling side had halved the deficit within minutes of the restart with David Porter, Dan Donnelly and Euan Cameron all contributing. Going into the fourth, the deficit for Stirling was six points and with continued defensive pressure the Knights narrowed it to 1 point after a three pointer from Connor Rankin. However, Kevin Anderson once again stepped up for the home team and nailed a three in return. Knights then lost captain Mark Duncan to his fifth foul and continued to miss easy opportunities to steal the game, despite tremendous play from young big man Matt Dick, with the hosts holding on for a 71-64 win.
Top performers for Knights were Matt Dick with 16 points and 15 rebounds, Dan Donnelly on 12, Connor Rankin 9 and Mark Duncan 8. For Blaze, Anderson had 22 with Liam McCabe on 17 and Andrius Ciernas on 15.
Head of Knights Pete Duncan “We gave them too big a lead in the first half and Kevin was on form but I’m pleased with what I saw from my team in the second half. We only gave up 23 points and had plenty of chances to put points on the board but again our execution round the basket has let us down.”
Next up for Knights is a home league tie against Glasgow Storm this Friday 8pm at The Peak.
Knights must bounce back after defeat
The Stirling Knights men's team - missing four key players including star man and top scorer Dan Donnelly - lost to Troon last Saturday in the Scottish National League at The Peak. With the two bleacher seats packed with 200 fans, the Stirling side got off to a good start thanks to the sharp shooting of Knights Community Coach Jack Burgess. The visitors kept themselves in the game though and through the speed of Scotland Guard Ifedade Thomas edged the first quarter 22-17. In the second quarter, Troon turned the screw and showed some good team play hitting four 3 pointers to go in at half time up 44-28. Knights sparked back into life through good play from David Porter and Matt Dick, with captain Mark Duncan beginning to rediscover his form. With Coach Duncan running the bench for the home side, junior players Connor Sharp and James Lindsay saw some court time - each performing well in their role. However, the experienced Troon side remained in control of the game to secure a 76-55 win.
Top scorers for Knights were Mark Duncan with 14 and 7 rebounds, Jack Burgess with 13, Matt Dick with 7 points and 12 rebounds. Ifedade Thomas had 18 points with veteran Andy Pearson on 15 for Troon. Knights Head Coach Pete Duncan "We started brightly but our heads went down quickly when things weren't going our way in the second quarter. Once again, we have shot a pretty poor percentage and need to improve. We obviously were weakened today and missed Dan's scoring and defence but we will look to bounce back for next week."
This week is Scottish Cup weekend, starting with a double header at The Peak on Friday 28th September when the Under 16 and Under 18 men host Dunfermline Reign and Boroughmuir Blaze. Saturday sees the men travel to the capital to face Blaze in a vital cup match.
New Spalding kit unveiled
Massive crowd as Knights fall to Saints
The Stirling Knights Men’s basketball team hosted Scottish Cup holders St Mirren at The Peak last Friday in their first home game of the new season. Cheered on by a near 400 strong crowd, it was the Knights who started better forcing Saints into some early mistakes and taking advantage to end the first quarter up 18-15.
In the second quarter, St Mirren - boasting four current Scotland Senior Internationalists - started to find their rhythm as Knights struggled against the pressing defence whilst also failing to execute easy scoring opportunities. Knights own star player Dan Donnelly keeping his team in contention with twelve of his side’s fifteen second quarter points to go in 49-33 down at the half.
In the second half, the Stirling side’s scoring woes continued as the team struggled to connect allowing St Mirren to further stretch their advantage, showing they mean title challenging business this season with the final score 96-61.
Top scorers for Knights were Dan Donnelly on 25 points with 8 rebounds, Mark Duncan on 11 points and 7 rebounds with Matt Dick on 8 points and 9 rebounds. St Mirren had Nick Collins 19, Chris Cleary 18, Colin Railley 17 and Fraser Glass on 16 points.
Despite the disappointing scoreline there is much for Stirling Knights to be proud of with basketball currently booming in Stirling. A fantastic league leading support of nearly 400, containing many families with the kids play court packed full of inspired youngsters and potential future players. Many spectators commented to the club officials on the outstanding work being done by Knights and how fantastic the home game night experience is. Olympian Kieron Achara was also in attendance and spent much of his time signing autographs and posing for pictures. Club chief Pete Duncan “We started really well and showed that we can compete with the top teams when we are on our game but unfortunately we made too many errors and shot poorly, although St Mirren were fantastic and shot the ball really well. In my opinion they will challenge Kings and Fury for the top spot this season. This is our third season now, we have a tremendous set up and with many new projects starting for young players the work to develop basketball in the Stirling area goes from strength to strength. I have no doubt that one day we will challenge the league’s best teams but our aim this season is to be in the top four.”
The quest for a top four finish this season continues with a massive game against Troon Tornadoes, this Saturday at The Peak with a 1.45pm tip off. A large crowd is anticipated again to support the Knights in this vital game.
In the Under 16 Men’s National League, the Knights sit top of division two after a brilliant opening day, defeating Glasgow Rocks and Edinburgh Lions by a combined 35 points, with Balfron’s Cameron O’Donnell and Alva’s James McNeil impressing throughout.
Knights win season opener
Stirling Knights senior men basketball team got off to a winning start in the National League season opener defeating hosts Dunfermline Reign 79-73.
It was Reign who got off to the better start with point guard Callum O’Donnell scoring 15 of his 29 points in the opening quarter, giving his team a 22-21 lead. In the second quarter, Knights went to a pressing defence which enabled them to open up a seven point halftime lead. However, Reign would not be put away and continued to fight to the end but Knights remained in control to claim an opening day win,.
Daniel Donnelly led the Knights with 29 points with captain Mark Duncan on 13, Jack Burgess 12 and Matt Dick 11 with 12 rebounds. Valuable contributions also came from Connor Rankin, Euan Cameron, Mitch Graham and Sean Mitchell who all made their Knights debuts. The returning Cory McCabe had a tremendous game on defence forcing many steals and turnovers. Head Coach Pete Duncan “We didn’t start the game well on defense but improved quickly. We still have some work to do, we were a bit sloppy round the basket and gave the ball away too much”
Knights will have to improve their execution for their first home game this Friday 14th September, when Scottish Cup Champions St Mirren visit The Peak for an 8pm tip off. All spectators welcome to what should be a great game.
In the Under 18 National League, the Knights boys had mixed fortunes in their opening two games losing to Glasgow Rocks in the season opener. However, they did claim an impressive win in their second game taming the Edinburgh Lions 79-42 with Zak Beattie and James Penman performing well.
Its Knight time as local stars gear up for new season