Cheshire Phoenix were edged out by Surrey Scorchers in a tightly-fought contest, slipping to a 76-74 defeat.
The Nix had hoped to return to winning ways after their 80-73 loss against high-flyers Newcastle Eagles in their previous match.

The race for a place in the BBL Play-offs continues to build as 10th-placed seed Surrey saw off Cheshire in a frantic final quarter.

After a tight opening quarter, Surrey led by a precarious four-point margin, up 22-18, with a superior field goal percentage, 53%, and percentage from three-point range, 50%.

Both teams’ defences remained on high-alert forcing a wealth of turnovers and fouls on the offensive end, with Surrey in particular scoring a high number in steals and Cheshire bolstering an inadequate six turnovers.

Cheshire were able to hit back at the half-time interval and ended the quarter up by one with a 38-37 lead.

Cheshire would pursue more shots from two point range converting seven of their 17 attempted shots as well as showing a dominant presence in the opposition’s paint with the Nix scoring an impressive ten offensive rebounds.

However, despite having such an impactful end to the first half, Surrey hit back with a towering scoring run that saw the visitors lead by 13 points at the end of the quarter, 60-47.

With a dominant lead on the score sheet and in the game’s analytics, Surrey enjoyed a reasonable 56% Field Goal Percentage with an even more impressive 64% shot percentage from two point range compared to Cheshire’s lacklustre 25%FG and 31%2-P.

After such a decisive third quarter display from the visitors, Cheshire would need to bounce back without any hesitation to have any chance of securing a vital win at home.

After stemming the Surrey lead back down to single digits, Cheshire scored 11 of their 23 field goal attempts (48%) which drug the Nix further out their scoring deficit, setting up a climactic finale.

After Surrey converted a late free throw, with only seconds left, Cheshire attempted a late surge on the offensive with Kahron Ross driving at the rim before finding a wide open Kyle Carey in the corner.

Carey would’ve looked to have potentially win the game for the Nix if it weren’t for a tremendous late swat from Surrey’s Cameron Hildreth ensuring that Surrey would see off their tough competition and put an end to their wretched three game losing streak.

Yet again Kahron Ross lead the Phoenix for points scored (19pts, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal), with Jimbo Lull also impressing with 15 points scored (three rebounds and two assists)

On the defensive front, McCall (four steals) and Mouliom (two blocks and two steals) both showed great hustle in what resulted in a tightly contested game at the Cheshire Oaks Arena.

Cheshire return to action on Friday evening with 5:00pm home tip-off against league leaders Leicester Riders with the Riders recently crashing out of the BBL Trophy with a 84-82 overtime loss to the Worcester Wolves in the semi-finals.

(Photo courtesy of Adam Day Photography)