Kings still reign supreme despite personnel changes

Any hopes the rest of the Scottish Basketball League might have had that the champions Edinburgh Kings might be weaker this season due to personnel changes must have been quickly dispelled as Kings demolished Stirling Knights 87-52 after romping through the first quarter 31-5 at Portobello High School on Saturday.

Though the second quarter was tied 14-14 and Kings only edged the remaining two, the visitors were never in contention.

With five players in double figures, Kings’ new coach Doug Reilly must have been quietly satisfied.

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Latvian Ed Rekis led the home scoring with 17, Mike Kirkpatrick added 15, Lithuanian Audrius Ciapas 14, Lee Reilly 12 and Simon Flockhart 11.

“We expected a tougher game as they looked good on paper,” said Rekis, back for his third season at the club.

New entry Boroughmuir Blaze had a baptism of fire at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre where St Mirren beat them 91-38, though Blaze were without their two experienced international guards Kevin Anderson and Laurie Costello, who are both injured.

“That was very tough” admitted assistant coach Lee “Chopper” Pettett.

Last season’s league runners-up Falkirk Fury comfortably beat Glasgow University 80-68 at the Mariner Sports Centre, a result which was sweet revenge for their two key defeats at the hands of the students last season when, as holders, they were knocked out of the Scottish Cup in the first round and then also went down in Glasgow in the league, a result which eventually cost them the title.

Glasgow have a new Canadian shooting guard, John Bustin from Nova Scotia, who top-scored with 29 points and they have added ex-Dunfermline schoolboy and ex-Kings Scottish junior cap Calum Nicol, who spent last year with Essex Flyers.

Nicol added eight points and seven rebounds, but overall the visitors were heavily out-rebounded by a Fury team who fielded Roni Gordon and Stu MacKay, both Scottish caps and ex-Glasgow Rocks.

Gordon scored 13 points and had 11 rebounds and five blocks while MacKay added nine rebounds.

Fury’s top scorer was another fugitive from the Rocks, Scott Russell who had 17 points, well supported by Jonny Bunyan, with 14.