Mersey Tigers avenged January’s Cup final defeat to Sheffield by thrashing the Guildford Heat, 84-66 at London’s O2 Arena to win the 2011 BBL Trophy.
The game slipped out of Guildford’s grasp in the third period, when the Tigers raced out to a 22-0 burst, which killed the game as a contest, and brought the first piece of silverware to the Liverpool-based team, since their short partnership with Everton.
Andrew Thompson led all scorers for the Tigers with 21 points, but it was Great Britain international, Andrew Sullivan who won MVP honours for Mersey with 16 points and he added eight rebounds to his stat-line. Guildford’s Carlos Medlock poured in 18 points in vain for the Heat.
“We have a special group of guys here who deserve this,” winning coach, Tony Garbelotto praised.
“They played hard all the time and played hard, so it was no question that after the disappointment of the Sheffield game we wanted to win this.”
Both teams were eager to try-out the NBA court, and the extended three-point line. The Tigers broke out into a 10-4 lead, with Thompson scoring five of them. Medlock brought Heat closer with a triple, and Julius Joseph narrowed the gap further with an and-one play. Mersey led after one, 20-18.
Both teams wrestled for the lead in the second, and it was the Heat, led by Medlock and Ralph Hegamin who went into the locker-rooms the happier of the two sides, as they edged the first 20 minutes, 37-36.
From there though, it went downhill for Guildford, as Mersey Tigers went on that 22-0 run to kill the game as a contest.
“I feel pretty good,” MVP, Sullivan said “After our loss to Sheffield, we had six weeks to wait for this opportunity to get back to another final and to perform as well, so we’re extremely happy.”
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net – in London.