A packed out Northgate saw the Jets power through the Sharks to head into the quarter final play off’s this weekend as a serious threat.
QPR’S Djibril Cisse, his wife Jude and their family were in the crowd to see John Lavery’s men recorded their sixth win in seven games with a 98-77 victory which saw the Jets move into sixth place in the league table. The Jets outscored the Sharks by 19 points in a dominant second half. There were two double-doubles to delight the hosts with Matt Schneck finishing on 17 points and 14 rebounds while Bill Cole added with 20 points and 11 rebounds, but the plaudits were saved for Colin O’Reilly who finished with a 17 point, 10 rebound and 10 assist triple-double.
Jets had also won on Friday night as they travelled to Newcastle and beat the champions 96-81 on their own court. Kai Williams led all scorers with 29 points, including 5/6 three-pointers, and 8 rebounds; both Colin O’Reilly (19 points and 10 rebounds) and Matt Schneck (15 & 16) had double-doubles for the Jets.
The quarter final match up see’s the Jets travel down to third place Worcester on Saturday then back up for Sunday’s what’s sure to be one of the most thrilling games of the season. Tickets are now available online at www.jetsbasketball.org.u
Jets Power Their Way Through Play Offs
Jets fans were treated to the unusual sight [unique so far this season], of the bench players, en masse, playing out the last couple of minutes of the game against the Rocks, after the starters had produced their second impressive performance of the weekend, and ensured that the team would be taking part in the post-season . After a convincing road victory at Milton Keynes on Friday, just a single victory out of the last three games would have been enough, but John Lavery’s men did not feel the need to wait until the last moment, as they produced one of their most impressive performances of the campaign to record a 80-67 win against the Glasgow Rocks, and with it a clean sweep against the team from over the border.
Major credit must be given to skipper Colin O’Reilly, who continued with his blistering late season form with 29 points – including 6 treys, but he was ably supported by Adam Brown with 17 and Bill Cole and Matt Schneck with 11 apiece. A special mention should also go out to Matt, who was suffering from a bout of food poisoning, but put in a 30 minute shift, despite looking like a shadow of his normal self!
TOMO SHOOTS DOWN JETS
If you just take a quick glance at the game result, a thirteen point gap between the league leaders and a team vying for a play-off place doesn’t seem too bad – but a 25 -8 final quarter in favour of the Jets disguises what head-coach John Lavery said “felt like a 40 -50 point blow-out” – which indeed it looked as though it might be when Eagles led by 36 points into the third quarter!
The problems for the Jets started in the first period, as ex-Mersey Tigers and Manchester Magic forward Andrew Thomson individually amassed more individual points than the whole Jets team [21-20] – including a faultless 5/5 from behind the arc. Coach Lavery bemoaned his team’s lack of defensive intensity and general desire – but most of the Northgate faithful on the bleachers just admired the visitors’ capacity to knock down such a high proportion of their shops from all points on the court – they racked up 36 in the quarter – and 21 of those were from downtown!
In the second quarter Jets managed to step up the defence – a mark of their improvement was that Thomson added only one to his tally of triples in the period and Bill Cole brought a brief smile to Jets’ followers with a personal haul of 14 out of his team’s 21 – but the gap at the time when the locker room beckoned was a formidable twenty two – not far from Thomson’s individual haul!
If there was to any chance of a miraculous comeback, it would have to have been primed by an explosive start by the Jets to the second half, in the hope of building a momentum which would turn the game around – but it was not to be! In fact, if anything they produced one of the most ineffectual quarters offensively in recent memory. They scraped together eleven points – of which skipper Colin O’Reilly claimed six! The Eagles meanwhile kept up the pressure with 23 of their own , with Chapman, Gause and Charles Smith all contributing treys and Thomson actually missing one and breaking his hot streak! At 46 -82 in mid-quarter the die was well and truly cast – there was clearly no way back!
With only pride to play for, the Jets finally rediscovered their intensity and their fire – and the final quarter was truly one-way traffic with the home team in the driving seat! Whereas previously the Eagles could scarcely find a way to miss a shot – suddenly they could not buy a basket [they only put the ball through the hoop three times in the period, while Adam Brown hit 11 and Bill Cole claimed 9 personal. Even given the natural inclination of a team so far ahead to take the foot off the gas, the Jets defence was strong and shot selection was vastly improved on that from earlier in the game. In the end, the Jets achieved the semblance of respectability, but it could not fully conceal how ineffective they had ben throughout the majority of the game.
So were there any positives to be gained for John Lavery’s team? Possibly so, with some individual performances; Bill Cole picked up another impressive double double [ 26p /12r], as did Matt Schneck [10/14] and Colin O’Reilly was only a rebound away from joining them [ 19/9]. New signing Kai Williams looked as though he might make a significant contribution once he gets to know his team mates better – but the harsh fact of the matter is that unless they can consistently produce the same level of intensity at both ends of the court as they displayed in the final quarter, they will struggle to make the play-offs – and that would definitely rank as an underachievement for a team of this talent!
It’s certain that every athlete in the BBL has taken a different path to land themselves in England’s premier basketball division. However, as ink hits paper on their first professional contract, player’s collegiate/club career often turns into a quick synopsis included in a yearly expanding Eurobasket biography. Over here at the Jet’s front office, we’ve decided to share the past experiences of some of your favorite players to dress in black and yellow this season. Look for a weekly throwback, and further get to know the young men that represent your community in the basketball world.
With two consecutive wins, the Jets look primed to make a push for the playoffs and as such this article from Feburuary 06,2011 penned by Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune seemed the perfect fit. A little over a year ago, 42,000+ Illinois students sat on edge, as Hine outlined Bill Cole and the Fighting Illini’s desire for March Madness, the collegiate version of the post-season.