Thriller earns King’s Lynn Fury third consecutive home success

TONY PAYNE
TONY PAYNE
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With King’s Lynn Fury ahead 59-57, the buzzer sounded with a Warwickshire Hawks desperation shot from the halfway line on its way towards the hoop.

The shot, which would have won the game for the Hawks if successful, hit the ring and bounced away leaving the Fury to celebrate a hard-earned, third consecutive NBL home victory.

TONY PAYNE

TONY PAYNE

Defence dominated a low scoring encounter. It is rare for games at this level to be won by a side scoring less than 60 points, but Fury’s effort and togetherness was deservedly rewarded with a big win against a side vying for a play-off who defeated Fury 78-61 just four weeks ago.

The first quarter saw Fury allow the Hawks only two field goals. These proved to both be triples being the first and last scores of a frame Fury dominated to lead 18-10 behind 11 points from Ethan Allen.

Foul trouble caused Fury coach James Bamfield to change from a man-to-man to zone defence and this prevented the Hawks’ big men from operating freely close to the ring whilst the Fury guards continually put the Hawks three point shot under pressure.

Hawks responded well after the break, initially matching Fury, then edging closer before an 8-3 run to close the half saw Fury’s advantage down to two at 34-32 heading into the interval.

The momentum seemed to have swung towards the Hawks and they came out to score the first four points of the third to lead 36-34.

Vytau Girdzuis tied things up at 36 but Hawks maintained their rhythm to add six unanswered points to take a more substantial 42-36 advantage at the mid-point of the frame.

Just at a point where their challenge might have subsided Fury found a response using a 10-4 run to head into the fourth quarter all square at 46.

Fury were down 55-50 with just over three minutes to play when an Allen basket brought the game back to within a single score.

From that point onwards the Hawks failed to score another field goal but did make a number of visits to the foul line where they will have been disappointed to hit only two of six down the stretch.

Edga Lomsargis reduced the deficit to two at 56-54. Allen got it down to one at 57-56 before the Hawks missed two from the line inside the final minute.

Allen made them pay putting the Fury ahead at 58-57 before Andrew Purnell duly hit the second of two free throws leaving the Hawks the remaining time to try and tie or win the game; a situation which led to the failed, long three-point attempt.

Allen paced the Fury with 25 points, Jack Ford and Lomsargis adding eight apiece.

Notable was the number of times Fury scored with little or no time remaining on the shot clock. They amassed 14 points on such occasions; some from excellent play, others in desperation as time expired.

Bamfield said: “I am delighted for our fans and the players, to make a 20 point swing in just four weeks is testament to the hard work these players are putting in each week.

“I called them out after the first game with Hawks about their commitment and they have responded beautifully.

“We had talked about having a pack mentality on defence and playing with more toughness at both ends and I felt we became a team today.

“The fact Hawks beat Tauras on Sunday in Northants shows the quality of our victory and we can take confidence into our next fixture.”