Preston’s College basketball team go from strength to strength as their registered their fourth win on the bounce against a very energetic and youthful Manchester Magic side 77-71.
Kadeem Crabbe led the way for the Titans with a personal-best 18 points, with Moses Byekwaso in a supporting role with 17 for the visitors.
“It was a difficult win for us,” said Titans head coach Malcolm Leak.
“We made it difficult for ourselves. We didn’t play with energy out there but, give the youngsters credit, they played us hard.”
In a nip-and-tuck first quarter, it was visitors Preston who opened the scoring with Junior Oscar getting on the scoresheet with three points.
Yet some excellent long-range shooting by Magic’s Joe Parkinson kept the hosts in the contest.
Going into the second quarter up 15-13, Leak had some strong words for his side and it seemed to pay dividends, as they went on a 9-2 run inside the opening four minutes of the quarter.
Both Oscar and then Melkisedek Moreaux pounded the ball inside to score at ease.
Leading 24-15, Preston took their foot off the gas, allowing Manchester to score time and time again to reduce the arrears to a solitary point, 31-30 at the halfway stage.
A similar trend continued in the third quarter as both teams traded baskets at will.
For every basket Preston scored, Manchester had an equally devastating response.
Going down 50-47 in the last 60 seconds of the third quarter, Preston made a mini-run to close out the quarter leading 52-50, entering the final 10 minutes of the contest.
They continued that momentum in the final quarter as a 10-2 run put some daylight between them and their hosts at 62-52.
Some smart defensive pressure and excellent ball movement created ample scoring opportunities.
But, try as they might to kill the contest off, Preston started to tire a little as the Magic youngsters’ never-say-die attitude enabled them to cut back the arrears to 74-68 with less then a minute left on the clock.
And even when Byekwaso and then Javel Small missed a pair of free throws, it was a case of too little, too late, as time had expired.
“Firstly I think I could contribute more as one of the older players on the squad,” said Crabbe, whose haul of 18 points came at vital stages in the contest.”
The win cements Preston’s second position in the NBDL North West League table with an impressive 4-1 record and they have the best away record in the league.
Next up for them is another road trip to Halifax to take on the Calderdale Explorers.
“We are going to prepare just like the other games,” said Leak.
“We are going to go back to the drawing board and work hard on our defensive sets and try to build our team identity. There are lot of things that we need to improve.”