Heat turn Cold for Tigers
13 February 2012
It might have been cold outside, but the Heat were even colder at the Surrey Sports Park as they hosted the Mersey Tigers and put in their worst three quarters of basketball of the season. Trailing by 23 going into the final quarter, it was all set up for a famous comeback, but the Heat fell just short, drawing to within three before going down 77-82.
Both sides started slowly, and it was two minutes before Albert Margai drove to the basket and got things going with a three-point play, while it took the Tigers almost four minutes to get on the board. With five minutes gone it was 3-2 to the Heat, but then the Tigers caught fire, while the Heat remained stone-cold. The Tigers scored on their next four trips down court for a 12-3 lead and took an 18-7 lead into the second quarter.
The Heat came out with renewed application, scoring the first six points of the quarter to make it 13-18, but with just over four minutes gone, the Tigers were ahead 26-17. It was then four and half minutes before the Heat scored again, turnovers, point-blank missed and two missed free-throws contributing to their woes. In contrast, the Tigers scored on four consecutive trips down court, part of a 13-0 run which put them firmly in control at 39-17.
The Heat finally got back on track with 1:15 to go in the quarter when a foul and a technical foul arguing the call gifted the Heat four free-throws. However, they could only make one of the four shots, but this seemed to spark the Heat who closed the quarter on a 9-0 run.
Down 26-39 going into the second half, the Heat needed to keep up their momentum. Instead they gave up an 18-4 run in the first six minutes to put them in a 27 point hole, 30-57. The Heat finally got things going, taking the ball to the basket and drawing the fouls. A 10-2 run got the lead below 20, but on four trips to the line the Heat could only manage 1-2 each time, the Tigers making the Heat pay with a 7-3 run to close the quarter.
Down 43-66 going into the final 10 minutes, the Heat staged the most improbable of all comeback attempts, only to fall short. Christian Beale swished a half-court shot to win a season ticket during the break which got the crowd on its feet and seemed to energise the Heat. Frank Holmes scored seven points in an opening 13-2 burst that got the lead down to a manageable 12 points. However, that was the only significant run the Heat had as from thereon in, the Tigers managed enough timely baskets to keep the Heat at bay.
Frank scored inside with three minutes to go to get the Heat to within 10 at 64-74, then after Frank blocked Williams inside, Martelle hit his second three of the game to get the lead into single digits, 69-76, with 1:18 to play. After both sides missed threes, Frank grabbed an offensive rebound and slipped the ball to Drew under the basket to make it 71-76 with 40 seconds to play. Tayo fouled to stop the clock and Devan Bailey could only make one of two from the line. Coming the other way, Martelle missed a drive, but Frank was on hand to tip the miss home to make it 73-77 with 30 seconds to go.
Unfortunately that was about as good as it was going to get for the Heat as the Tigers made three of four from the line to make it 73-80 with 16 seconds on the clock. Martelle and Tayo scored on back-to-back drives around a Tigers turnover to make it 77-80, but with two seconds on the clock, there was only time to foul Bustamante who made both free throws for the final score of 77-82.
The Tigers had a balanced attack, with six players scoring 9 points or more, Devan Bailey and Antonio Bustamante adding 15 points each. Myles Hesson had 14 points and 14 rebounds, with Sam Cricelli adding 10 points and 10 boards. Martelle Mclemore lead the Heat with 17 points, but needed 19 shots and only Frank Holmes, with 15 points and nine rebounds, shot better than 50% from the field as the Heat shot just 32% from the field (27-84), including a woeful 3-22 from three-point range. Although they got to the line often enough, they only converted 20 of their 32 free-throws (63%).