CWA Lynn Fury 91
Brunel University Ducks 82
The largest, noisiest crowd of the season roared Fury to the National League Division Four Play-Off semi-finals.
Fury scored a sensational victory over Brunel at Lynnsport on Saturday.
They booked a clash with divisional rivals Barking and Dagenham Thunder who scored an impressive 87-82 overtime victory at previously unbeaten, number one seeded, Team Newcastle University.
This result highlights the strength of the East Midland Division which provides two semi-finalists – no mean feat from a division with five regional conferences totalling 49 teams.
Fury understands Thunder well from previous encounters: a home overtime loss and a fourth quarter meltdown on the road. They will play the game without Fury captain Richard Milbourne who will be in Canada a factor that will require some careful thought from coach James Bamfield. Milbourne hopes that when he returns, it will be for the final.
The Ducks arrived as champions of the South East Division and seeded fifth. Fury, seeded 13th, knew that despite home court advantage, they faced a tough task against a side built to move straight through the league system.
Fury began with Eivydas Aleska driving home the first two points of the game and from that point onwards they were never headed. Fury’s options on offence proved too hot for the Ducks to handle in the first quarter as back to back triples from Jonas Pranevicius and Artur Jakiel sparked a 19-4 Fury run which was crowned by an Alexis Laryn triple to give Fury a 26-10 advantage at the break.
Aleska continued to be a threat for Fury and the Ducks smaller line-up found it hard to resist his driving play. All round, Fury had enough options to retain a useful 44-32 interval lead.
Bamfield called for calm during the recess, while the sides were evenly matched for much of the third quarter. Milbourne began a superb series of plays which helped swing the contest Fury’s way.
Giedrius Pakalniskis hit eight consecutive points, including two triples to give Fury a commanding 67-46 lead.
The Ducks hit 18 consecutive points to close to within three at 67-64. But Aleska was at the forefront of a Fury run of seven unanswered points and with two minutes remaining Fury had re-opened a ten point advantage at 85-75.
Aleska paced Fury with a game-high 28 points. Milbourne finished with 16 and Pakalniskis 15.
A coach will be made available for supporters for Fury’s game at Thunder on Saturday, April 11. Info on the club’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/cwafury