After the weekend’s “red nose” Comic Relief events, the Capital’s basketball clubs were sadly left with red faces of their own on the court.
Edinburgh Kings senior and junior men both lost vital Scottish League title deciders and Edinburgh Kool Kats lost to local rivals Polonia Phoenix in the battle for pride and runners-up spot in the Scottish Women’s League.
For years to come players, coaches and fans will be asking themselves how all three teams managed to drop such a collective clanger and, were they a professional club with unlimited resources, a sports psychologist might well be called in.
Perhaps the juniors were smitten with doubt after the demise of Kings in the senior decider v Falkirk Fury on Friday night when the champions let slip an 11-point lead from the first half to lose eventually by 13. Apart from gaining a result which few dared forecast, Falkirk also brought a considerable support with them to the packed Portobello gym which at times sounded more like the Fury home court. That must be food for thought for the city club.
The drama of Saturday’s events in the Capital was considerable, with Tayside Musketeers taking the junior title for only the second time after a day of amazing swings of fortune.
Going into their game with Boroughmuir Blaze at the Crags Sports Centre, Tayside, with only one defeat, knew any victory would clinch the title as nearest rivals Kings were on two defeats.
BasketballScotland officials even had the trophy and medals on hand for the presentation.
After an exciting game, though, Blaze, who had already beaten them in the Scottish Cup final, won narrowly 84-80 and it seemed had dashed Tayside’s hopes again.
All Kings now had to do at Portobello was to beat Fury juniors, a team they had beaten at Falkirk. Again, the trophy was on hand.
Amazingly, Kings seemed overcome by nerves and lost a cliff-hanger 48-47 to hand the title back to Tayside for the first time since 2002.
Unlike the seniors the previous night it was the first half which was largely to blame as Kings trailed by 13 points.
They did come back to lead 47-45 with two minutes left, but lacked some cool heads to see them home.
Kats were also down 29-37 to Polonia at half-time, but had their chance when they led 64-62 with 40 seconds left, only for Ali Mitchell to hit a three-pointer off the backboard and Julie Ritchie to seal the win for the visitors with her own three-point play.
Mitchell finished with 18 points and Hilary Wood 16, while Trace Phillips had 16 and Lauren Walker 15 for Kats.
Pentland Star had cause to celebrate, scoring only their second win of the season in beating Fury 54-52 in Falkirk.