Gabe Haskins produced a last-gasp basket to pull Cheshire Phoenix to a vital 88-87 win over London Lions on Friday night.
The former Central Texas Cyclones player struck with just six seconds left to give Phoenix their first win in three games and strengthen their claim for a place in the BBL playoffs.
Cheshire started Friday’s game brightly after Alif Bland and Chez Marks gave Phoenix a 15-8 lead early doors but Tayo Ogedengbe, who led all players with 28 points on the night, hauled the Lions to within four points at the buzzer.
The momentum shifted to the home side in the second period and the Lions produced a 9-3 scoring run to tie the game at 34-34. The two sides matched each other basket for basket until an Ogedengbe dunk gave the hosts their first lead of the night. Adrien Sturt’s three-pointer helped the Lions build a 7-2 run and they closed out the half with a 45-40 lead.
The home side threatened to run away with it in the third period as Mike Martin helped them stretch their advantage to nine points.
But Phoenix captain Chez Marks once again led the charge for Cheshire with a three-pointer that was followed by baskets from Haskins and Shawn Myers to narrow the deficit to four points with a minute left.
Even when the Lions opened up a double-digit lead in the final stanza, Phoenix kept on fighting and they surged back at the Lions with a 9-2 scoring run to make it 69-67.
A Marks three-pointer evened things up at 74 each and he added another basket, along with a couple of free throws, to give Phoenix a 10-1 run.
There was just one point in it with a minute to play when Ogedengbe edged London in front. But when Sturt missed a three-point attempt, Marks launched a lightning-quick counter and Haskins sank the winning basket.
Phoenix’s quest to reach the BBL playoffs continues on 27 January when they meet Durham Wildcats at the Northgate Arena.
By Andy Jowett
Pic: Brian Dingle/Bkephoto