National Development League
King’s Lynn Fury 82 West Herts Warriors 73
Fury held their nerve in front of a packed Lynnsport to score 10 of 12 free throw attempts in the final minute and hold back a late surge from West Herts on Saturday.
It sets Fury up nicely as they have back to back home games. Tomorrow they host old rivals Cambridge Cats (6pm) while on Sunday it is Dagenham Dragons who visit Lynnsport (2pm).
Fury triumphed in Cambridge in December, 102-89, so another high scoring contest could be on the cards.
Fury (an 8 and 3 record) have yet to face the Dragons (7 and 4) this season but they sit only two points behind Fury in the league table, meaning that those two games alone could well determine Fury’s play-off chances.
Fury will hope to have Deividas Butkevicius back in their line-up for these crucial games. He missed the game with Warriors due to an injury sustained in training. His presence would do much to shore up the centre of Fury’s defence which looked somewhat vulnerable at times on Saturday.
Club promoter Kevin Holland was elated after the game: “To have 100 supporters at this stage of the season is awesome, it’s normally at the tail end when the whole Fury Family turn out.
“We had some younger players in town during the day, handing out tickets to families and younger locals who didn’t miss the opportunity to come and see what all the fuss is about.
“Next weekend’s double header will be a defining point in the season. Two wins and we see ourselves on the verge of a play-off spot. A loss in either game and our season could fizzle out.”
Against West Herts, Fury went into the fourth ahead by 16 at 62-46 and the omens were good for them to seal a comfortable victory. The lead remained intact with five to play and Fury ahead 68-52.
Coach James Bamfield was taking the opportunity to blood some of the younger, less experienced players on the bench and all seemed well.
However, National League competition is unforgiving and possibly as a result of over-confidence, Fury made some unusual errors turning the ball over on four consecutive possessions which helped Warriors to bring the deficit down to five.
Arnas Mazilialiskas and Eivydas Aleska hit five of six from the line to put Fury into a more comfortable zone at 77-68 going into the final 30 seconds.
This comfort was briefly threatened by a triple from Warriors but Ethan Allen and Aleska hit a further five from six at the stripe to close out the contest.
Fury gave first starts of the season to the returning pair of Allen and Aleska as Bamfield rang the changes following a disappointing performance, despite the victory, the previous week.
The game saw both sides begin sluggishly but Fury led 43-30 at the half. Mazilialskas paced the Fury with 25 points; Aleska added 16 and Mindaugas Spukas 11.