King’s Lynn Fury walked into the next round of the National Shield when long-time rivals Brentwood Fire conceded the first round tie because they were unable to field a side.
This was a major surprise given that Fire had gained promotion last season from Fury’s division and has been one of the strongest clubs in the region for a number of years. It does mean that Fury have a home tie in mid-October against a team yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, given that the concession came at short notice, coach James Bamfield did well to come up with alternative opposition in the shape of RAF Lakenheath.
This all-American side had already defeated Fury in a pre-season encounter and so this was a really good test for Fury and great entertainment for the crowd as a late fightback by Fury saw the scores tied in the final seconds to force an overtime period.
In that extra period, Deividas Butkeviucius produced a storming display in scoring Fury’s final six points which capped a game high 24-point performance by sealing an 88-85 victory.
The well drilled visitors ran up an early 23-11 lead with Fury failing to find a consistent shooting rhythm. The second quarter saw Fury begin to find their range and the Lakenheath lead had been cut to 27-25.
At the half Lakenheath maintained that narrow advantage at 33-31.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with the visitors opening up a 58-52 lead by the end of the third quarter with Fury grateful for their three-point shooting which kept them in touch.
Early in the fourth quarter the lead had stretched away to 65-54 and although Fury closed to within three, Lakenheath surged again to lead by eight entering the last minute of regulation time.
In that last minute, with their supporters giving tremendous vocal backing, Fury ran in eight unanswered points to complete the comeback.
The first time Fury actually led in the entire game was when Arnus Maziliauskas scored in overtime to give them an 80-79 lead. They stayed ahead to clinch a very good win.
Gedrius Pakaliniskis, 15, and Audrius Grekis and Maziliauskas with 14 points each all gave excellent support. Fury enjoy a break this weekend before their National League campaign starts on October 11 in Southwark.