Blackpool basketball aces rattle the Sabres

Chris Pangan
Chris Pangan

Blackpool Basketball Club ended 2017 on a high and boosted their National League promotion bid with a 63-61 home win over Sheffield Sabres.

Blackpool Basketball Club ended 2017 on a high and boosted their National League promotion bid with a 63-61 home win over Sheffield Sabres.

The third-placed Yorkshire side had lost only lost twice so far – once more than Blackpool –and posed a tough test for the home side in this division four contest at Blackpool Sixth.

The hosts started strongly, holding Sheffield scoreless for the first three minutes and then firing in eight quick points from Aitor Estrada and Chris Hodkin.

Sheffield took a quick time out to regroup and got themselves on the board with a well-executed play.

However, Estrada’s hot streak continued with another five points to stretch Blackpool’s lead to 15-2 after seven minutes.

Sheffield found some rhythm and closed the quarter with a 10-3 run to cut Blackpool’s advantage to 18-12.

The second quarter turned into a physical and scrappy match-up, with Blackpool managing only four field goals as the rest of their points came from the free-throw line.

Sheffield chipped away and five quick points in the final minute cut Blackpool’s lead to 34-32 at the halfway mark.

Blackpool’s defensive intensity increased and was rewarded with a 9-2 run in the first five minutes of the third quarter.

Blackpool forced turnovers and held Sheffield to just six points in eight minutes.

And when Greg Slater’s steal resulted in a Chris Pangan lay-up, Blackpool had opened up a 51-38 lead.

The Sabres refused to go away and scored six points at the end of the quarter to cut Blackpool’s lead to 51-44.

Estrada was fouled on a three-point shot and converted two out of three free-throws to stretch Blackpool’s lead to 10 with six minutes left.

Sheffield’s leading scorer Khan then burst into action with nine consecuitive points and with 30 seconds to play the Blackpool lead was four.

Blackpool missed free throws and Sheffield further reduced the deficit to two but Blackpool had done enough for a ninth successive win.

Estrada top-scored with 20 points and six rebounds, while Mark Cowell finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Pangan (left) added nine points, five assists and six rebounds.

Blackpool go into the Christmas break joint-top of the table after winning 10 of their 11 games.

They take on Calderdale Explorers and Stockport Falcons in a huge double-header over the first weekend of 2018.