Mersey Tigers were defeated by three points in a top-of-the-table thriller against Cheshire Jets at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
The Tigers lost 73-77 to the in-form Jets, who took control in the match from the start. The home side did not play its best basketball in the first half, and the Jets were deservingly leading 21-15 after the first quarter.
Although Tafari Toney showed his quality with two slam dunks before half-time, the Tigers played as they did in last week’s BBL Cup Final and it looked like the game would end in another embarrassing display as the Tigers were down 48-28 midway through.
However, after Tony Garbelotto’s half-time talk, the home side stepped up the tempo in the second half. The Jets' big lead was reduced to 12 points before the final ten minutes.
The noisy crowd helped the home side to fight themselves back into the game, and two minutes before the end the Tigers were one point up for the first time since the opening of the match.
But the Jets showed strength in the final minute and kept their nerves under control. The travelling supporters could, in the end, celebrate their side’s crucial victory in the BBL title race.
The Tigers will get the opportunity to take revenge over the Jets as the teams meet again on Sunday. Garbelotto and his team’s next home game is against the Newcastle Eagles next Wednesday at the Echo Arena.
Word & pictures by Vegard Grott, Photo Editor
Tafari Toney had an impressive game but it was not enough to earn coach Garbelotto's men the win