The Jets earned a crucial victory in the playoff race on Sunday, beating fellow playoff chasers Guildford Heat 80-75 at the Northgate Arena. The victory leaves Cheshire in the eighth and final playoff spot with 9 wins from 25 games, a win behind seventh-placed Guildford and a win ahead of both Prestige Homes MK Lions and Mersey Tigers in ninth and tenth spots respectively.
Adam Brown led all scorers with 30 points for Cheshire, 21 of them coming in the second half as the Jets fought back after trailing by as many as twelve points. His teammate Matt Schneck amassed 17 points and 19 rebounds. For the Heat, Tayo Ogedengbe top scored with 20 points.
The two teams seemed evenly matched from the outset, the two sides trading baskets from the beginning before the Jets found themselves up 13-8, only for the Heat to put together an 11-1 run to lead 19-14 and then 23-18 as they finished the first quarter.
To start the second period, a Shaun Durant field goal and Frank Holmes dunk extended Guildford’s lead to nine, before three pointers from Kai Williams and Bill Cole reduced it back to five. This set the pattern for the quarter as both sides matched each other’s scoring pace before Guildford headed into half-time ahead 39-36.
Guildford started the second half strongly with a 10-2 mini-break to lead 49-38. A Drew Lasker ‘and-one’ play extended their lead to 58-46 before the Jets called a time-out with 4 minutes left in the quarter. Lasker’s points proved to be Guildford’s last of the quarter as Cheshire went on a 15-0 charge led by 6 points from Adam Brown to lead 61-58 heading into the final period.
Guildford retook the lead in the fourth as Frank Holmes and Tayo Ogedengbe each made a pair of free throws. Colin O’Reilly’s two-pointer gave Cheshire back the lead but Ogedengbe converted another free throw to tie the game at 63. Adam Brown then scored eight of Cheshire’s next ten points as they took a 73-66 lead with five minutes remaining. The teams again found themselves trading baskets with Kai Williams putting Cheshire 77-70 ahead with 2:54 remaining. Guildford scored the next five points to come back within two points of the Jets. After a Matt Schneck free throw made the Jets lead three points, Martelle McLemore missed a potential tying three-pointer and Adam Brown made the lead four from the line. Bill Cole blocked a McLemore shot before Matt Scheck added a final point from the line as Cheshire sealed an 80-75 victory.
Cheshire Jets 80 (18, 36, 61) (Brown 30, Schneck 17, Williams 13)
Guildford Heat 75 (23, 39, 58) (Ogedengbe 20, Martin 15, Holmes 14)