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10 October 2004
SOLENT STARS 71 (10, 27, 41)
TEESSIDE MOHAWKS 84 (14, 33, 56)
The plans of the Solent Stars men's first team to arrive early at Teesside for their first league fixture of the season against the current Championship holders were thrown into disarray because of the closure of a section of the M1 because of an accident. Solent felt that they needed the time to prepare the two second string members (Ryan Payne, Andy Aung) who had been called in at the last moment. The Stars had lost Nick O'Harabe (ankle), Melvin Ojadi and Chris St. Omer (both work) and had Phil Long playing with an injury also.
In the event, Solent arrived with just minutes to spare before the tip-off. Despite this Solent played some scintillating defence to restrict Teesside to just fourteen first quarter points. Most of those points were picked up through second chance opportunities as Solent, without two regular centres, were unable to pick up many rebounds. Unfortunately, the Solent shooting was not at its best as they struggled to score just ten points in the quarter with Paul Silcox contributing four.
With Teesside gaining in confidence and winning the boards, they were able to forge ahead largely through the shooting of Corey Jackson, whose 25 points included seven three pointers. Solent could only manage one successful three point shot in the game (Mark Jackson) in reply but still managed to stay in touch with Teesside at the interval thanks to a couple of late baskets by Marlin Capers and Jackson.
Solent were always chasing the game, having never led at any stage and mistakes began to multiply as the team strove to counter the whole-court pressure put on by the home team. Phil Long, Solent's only recognised centre, picked up his fourth foul at the start of the second half, limiting his contribution. Andy Aung managed to make an impression when Long sat out periods in the second half, but Teesside still controlled the boards and pulled away to lead by 15 points going into the last quarter.
As in previous performances, Solent saved their best till last and - despite the long eventful trip - shaded the last quarter with some enterprising play that forced the home coach to acknowledge that the home team had been unable to shake off the challenge of the visitors throughout the game.
Coach Alan Cunningham said, "On the positive side, there was not a Solent player out there that was not trying his hardest to win. However, our shooting percentage was low and our rebounding woeful. Perhaps some of that was due to our lack of match preparation because of the late arrival of the team, giving us no pre-game time together."
Solent now prepare for their first home league fixture of the season plus the third round National Cup match. Both games are at home next weekend. Coventry Crusaders provide the league opposition (Fleming Park, Saturday 8pm) and Reading Rockets are the Cup opponents (Fleming Park, Sunday 7.30pm)
In front of their biggest crowd of the season, Solent Stars senior men's team missed an opportunity to impress in their first home league fixture. It was a match where David, in the form of Solent, took on Goliath. The Coventry team were bigger and heavier than the home squad and, unlike Goliath, they made it count.
Coventry's opening points came from inside play where 6' 6" American, Troy Selvey, brushed aside the Solent defence to make his way to the basket. Coventry also dominated the backboards, giving Solent scant opportunity to gain possession of the ball. Only Marlin Capers' three successful consecutive three pointers kept Solent in touch with Coventry in the first period. Solent's only other scorers in the first period were newcomer Graham Hunter and Phil Long.
Gritty performances by both defences - coupled with poor shooting - made this a low scoring affair. Indeed, in the first five minutes of the second period only four points were scored in the match, whilst six fouls were called! The home crowd had little to cheer as Solent fell to a twelve point deficit before Mark Jackson's three pointer (his first points of the game) gave a glimmer of hope in the seventh minute. Coventry responded in kind and opened a fourteen point gap at half time.
It was Jackson again who raised the spirits with a last second successful shot from the half-way line in the third period - the only event of any note in that session.
As Coventry tired, Solent came into their own. Jackson led by example making his presence felt all over the court. Capers continued to add to the Solent total and he was joined by Ollie Marsh and Chris St Omer. Solent came to within three points (57 - 60) with ninety seconds remaining, but in that time they could add no more points whilst Coventry scored twice.
Solent Stars, without a league win from their opening two Division One league matches, were anxious to record a first victory against Kingston Wildcats at Fleming Park. They continued with their effective defensive play of late and restricted the Kingston attack to just a few attempts at the target. Meanwhile, Solent began to rack up the points at regular intervals with birthday boy, Marlin Capers, setting the pace with nine first quarter points. He was aided by Nick O'Harabe (6 points) who was served well by Mark Jackson supplying a number of penetrating passes leading to easy lay-up shots.
The home players brought into the game at the start of the second quarter found scoring a much more difficult task and Kingston were able to reduce the deficit to just three points (23 - 20) by the fourth minute, during which time Solent had added only two points from Capers. Indeed, but for poor shooting on their own behalf Kingston could have taken the lead. Their problems were compounded when their 6' 8" centre, Kaam Sahely, picked up his third foul midway through the second quarter. When he was substituted, Solent's Phil Long was able to gain more defensive rebounds and limit the Kingston second chance opportunities. Solent then extended their lead to eleven points (34 - 23), but slack defensive play allowed the visitors to reduce that to just five points at half time.
The third quarter was a dire affair with neither side showing any inspiration once Mark Jackson had scored his two baskets in the first minute. Solent could not get Capers free for shots and no other players except Long (6) and Paul Silcox could add to the Solent total. Eventually Solent went behind in the eighth minute before recovering briefly to take a narrow three point lead into the final quarter.
An eventful final quarter saw Long and two Kingston players reach five fouls, three technical fouls charged and thirty free throws taken (against 15 in total for the first three quarters.) Solent were able to draw steadily away from Kingston during the period, but it took a Capers three pointer three minutes from the end to settle the home crowd's nerves as Solent went to a 62 - 51 lead. New boy, Chris Bevin, was able to demonstrate good possession skills during the final phase as Solent were clocking up their first league victory in comfortable fashion.
With another home game against struggling Essex and Herts Leopards next week, Solent are hoping to get their league position on an upward course as soon as possible.
When the visiting team has lost all five of its opening league fixtures, then Solent Stars could have felt confident at the start of this Division One fixture of recording a second league win of their own. However, the home players looked anything but confident throughout the game as they struggled to come to terms with the fact that they were being outplayed in every department by the numerically small squad of Leopard players.
Solent were caught napping early on as the visitors varied their attack both shooting successfully from unguarded positions over the zone defence or penetrating the feeble defence offered by the home team. As if this was not enough, there were second chance shooting opportunities for the visitors as they collected most of the rebounds of unsuccessful first time shots.
Coach Alan Cunningham used his time-outs to try to stop the rot, but to little avail. Although Solent kept pace with Leopards for the first quarter and even opened up a four point gap (26 - 22) in the second quarter, two spells by the visitors in the same period effectively sealed the game. The first surge came with three successive three pointers that eclipsed Solent's lead, whilst a second, in the quarter's final minute, opened up a 12 point half time lead for the Leopards.
For most of the second half the points difference remained constant, although Solent never looked like making further inroads into the visitors' lead. Even when danger man American player Corey Wicker was rested on three fouls, Solent could not use the opportunity to narrow the scoring gap. Few of the Solent players wanted to take the responsibility of shooting, even when urged to do so by the home crowd. The exception was Marlin Capers whose points total was a mark of his individual ability rather than teamwork. As confidence drained even further away, Solent were cruelly punished by a flurry of late points, some scored with very speculative efforts by a team riding their good fortune to find Solent so abject on the night.
SCORERS; Marlin Capers 24 Nick O'Harabe 13 Mark Jackson 12 Phil Long 7 Mike McGregor 5 Chris Bevin 3 Paul Silcox 1
14 November 2004
SOLENT STARS 88 (16, 34, 56)
LONDON UNITED 110 (23, 53, 77)
Solent Stars went into this game with some trepidation as the home side were unbeaten in their opening three English Basketball Division One matches. Having a height and weight advantage also favoured the London United team which boasts some very experienced European League players amongst its ranks.
However, the opening exchanges were very even and Solent only were trailing because of a couple of basic errors which twice involved Paul Silcox, who was in the starting five for the first time this season. All the Solent players were taking more responsibility for shooting and Silcox atoned for his earlier errors by driving through for a lay-up under a lot of pressure. Chris Bevin stole the ball and dribbled the length of the court to score two further points for the visitors. London then turned to the experienced Pete Deppish to launch two three pointers that opened the gap from one point to seven by the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was notable for the number of off-the-ball foul calls that were being made as the players were charged with illegal screening in trying to free their collegues. Both sides were held guilty, but it seemed to affect the Solent play more than the home team. Silcox scored another shot under pressure, but Solent were not gaining any rebounds as London completely controlled the boards at both ends.
In the third quarter, once again Silcox was both hero and villain, scoring several baskets but also giving the ball away on too many occasions. Mark Jackson came more into the game as he posted more points and distributed the ball well, but Solent were always struggling against a team that played right down to the tenth player.
The final quarter was a high scoring affair, 32 - 33 in London's favour, as both teams began to take advantage of tiring defences. London's relentless man-to-man defence had left little opportunity earlier for unguarded shots whilst Solent's use of zone defence had made it all too easy for the accurate outside shooters. A nasty foul by Jackson led to a flashpoint near the end of the game, but the players calmed down quickly. Once again, Marlin Capers top-scored for Solent with an impressive display.
Assistant Solent coach, Steve Chant, was encouraged by the performance. "At least we put some points on the board this week, and we began to look like a team that had a bit of confidence in itself. We now need to beat London PAWS, who we play at home next Saturday, to kick start our season."
SCORERS Marlin Capers 27 Mark Jackson 26 Nick O'Harabe 11 Paul Silcox 10 Chris St Omer 4 Ollie Marsh 4 Phil LOng 4 Chris Bevin 2
20 November 2004
SOLENT STARS 72 (19, 38, 58)
PAWS LONDON CAPITALS 82 (20, 35, 60)
After a delayed start because of the late arrival of the London opponents, Solent Stars dominated the early exchanges in the game. Nick O'Harabe combined well with Mark Jackson to post early points that saw Solent open up a 12 - 4 lead by the fourth minute. Phil Long helped Solent preserve this advantage when he fought well under the basket to contribute four more points to the home total in this Division One game. With neither main scorers Marlin Capers and Jackson able to score from open play in the first quarter, Solent did well until two late three pointers by the visitors saw them fall one point behind at the first interval.
London kept up their defensive man to man game throughout the game in contrast to Solent who fell back on zone defence. The visiting team were able to break down the Solent defence with comparative ease because of their height advantage but dogged resistance from Solent kept them at bay whilst points were steadily added to the home team total. Capers began to score with regularity and Jackson finally got off the mark one minute before half time with one of his (and Solent's) two three pointers to give the home team a narrow half time advantage (38 - 35).
Jackson's second three pointer in the fourth minute of the third quarter gave Solent a nine point advantage (52 - 43) but London then scored two quick baskets. Coach Alan Cunningham decided to bring Ollie Marsh into the game for the first time, but his two quick losses of the ball enabled London to take the lead. Marsh then drove through the London defence to restore Solent's advantage (54 - 53). A last gasp London three pointer meant that they entered the last period in the lead.
Solent quickly regained the advantage when Long and Paul Silcox added points. From then on it was nip-and-tuck until with six minutes to go they led by two points (68 - 66). In the last six minutes Solent could add only four points. Frustration mounted as shots were missed by all the players culminating in a final minute's play that resulted in a comedy of errors for the Solent team, who were cruelly punished for their failings. An on-court London player exclaimed as they drove the nail into Solent's coffin that it 'all down to heart'. However, the Solent team (the last minute excepted) could not be faulted on effort. Ability is what the team needs to work on.
SCORERS Marlin Capers 24 Nick O'Harabe 17 Phil Long 13 Mark Jackson 8 Paul Silcox 8 Ollie Marsh 2
27 November 2004
SOLENT STARS 94 (14, 31, 64)
WORTHING THUNDER 100 (30, 57, 81)
Few of good number of Solent Stars travelling fans could have guessed that they would be watching a cliffhanger at the end of this Division One league game at Worthing. Solent were trailing by 26 points after a disastrous first half that saw them give the ball away far too many times. The rot set in right from the start when Phil Long gifted Worthing four early points by losing possession. At that stage Worthing were rampant and harried Solent into further mistakes forcing assistant coach, Steve Chant, to call an early time-out in the third minute with Solent trailing 4 - 13. Shortly after, Paul Silcox hit a three pointer and Solent closed the gap to four points, with Silcox himself having contributed eight of Solent's opening ten points. However, a further series of errors and missed shots meant Solent were only able to add four more points in the remaining five minutes of the quarter as Worthing began to sail out of sight.
The second quarter was not much better for Solent although they did begin to score with more regularity once Marlin Capers had finally opened his account. Worthing were winning most of the game's rebounds and able to benefit from second (and sometimes third) opportunities to score with each attack. Solent were left to pick up the scraps as Long and Chris St Omer fought bravely in the middle of defence. But it all looked a hopeless cause as Solent trudged off at half time wondering how they could stop an annihilation.
The coaching team of Alan Cunningham, Steve Chant and Mike Akemon somehow managed to transform the side at half time into one that, given a similar display, would be able to hold their own against any of the Division One opponents . Capers, Long and Silcox set out the Solent marker as they scored nine points among them before Worthing had drawn breath. With all the players contributing, even the bench players came on for successful cameo roles, Solent began to claw their way back into the game and outscored the home team by eleven points in the quarter.
However, the best was yet to come as Solent, urged on by the fans, made further inroads into the Worthing lead with some scintillating play. Worthing, clearly rattled after losing to Coventry in similar circumstances in their last home game, began to panic which resulted in two technical fouls against a player and one against the coach. Despite deafening noise from the home crowd hoping to distract him, Mark Jackson scored with five of the six attempts to set off another burst of Solent points that brought them to within four of the Worthing total (94 - 98) at the start of the final minute. However, the home team were able to weather the storm and see out the remaining time adding two free throw points of their own before Silcox's last three point effort bounced off the ring and into the hands of a grateful Worthing defender.
SCORERS Marlin Capers 37. Paul Silcox 26 Mark Jackson 17 Phil Long 6 Chris St Omer 4 Chris Bevin 2 Ollie Marsh 2
4 December 2004
SOLENT STARS 69 (21, 42, 54)
MANCHESTER MAGIC 85 (23, 42, 63)
Third placed Manchester Magic proved too strong for a gallant Solent team in this English Basketball Division One game at Fleming Park.
Solent, with new American signing Larry Parker, got off to a flying start in which three pointers from Marlin Capers (2) and Mike McGregor were instrumental in giving them a 16 - 7 lead by the beginning of the seventh minute. 6' 7" Parker, who had only arrived from Florida in the very early morning, was introduced into the game and immediately showed some deft touches. However, he could not prevent Manchester from getting back into the game by outscoring Solent 5 - 16 in the last three minutes of the first quarter to take a two point lead (21 - 23).
Parker opened the scoring in the second quarter with a neat short jump shot. More points from Capers helped Solent to a five point lead (33 - 28) by the fifth minute before Manchester came back to level the scores. The next burst of scoring came from Solent, including a Parker three pointer, to take them five points clear again, but by the half time interval, Manchester had levelled the scoring at 42 all.
the teams were still all square coming into the fifth minute of the third quarter, but in a devastating five minutes for the home team, Manchester's Terrell Ivory landed three three pointers in a seventeen point spree that left Solent floundering. Coach Alan Cunningham rang the player changes in the quarter but between them they could only manage twelve points to Manchester's twentythree and the game was as good as over. The coach was not helped when his team turned the ball over on a number of occasions usually gifting points to the opposition.
Paul Silcox, last week's hero, had quickly picked up three fouls in the game which limited his contribution, although he did open Solent's account in the last quarter with a three point shot. Having closed the gap to seven points (62 - 69) by the third minute, Solent still looked in contention, but the Manchester machine ground on to score fourteen more points in the next five minutes whilst Solent could only manage two points from Larry Parker. The foul count of Solent 21, Manchester 8 demonstrated the desperate plight of Solent chasing the game. The coaching staff now have to prepare the team for a visit to high-riding Sheffield Arrows next week but their prospects are improved by an opportunity to work with the new American player.
SCORERS; Marlin Capers 27 Larry Parker 12 Paul Silcox 8 Mark Jackson 7 Chris St Omer 6 Phil Long 4 Mike McGregor 3 Ollie Marsh 2
11 December 2004
SOLENT STARS 76 (16, 35, 59)
SHEFFIELD ARROWS 85 (25, 46, 65)
Sheffield's high scoring American player, R. Patton, opened the home team's scoring with three consecutive three point shots in the first three minutes of this division One league game to leave Solent trailing 2 - 9 and force coach Alan Cunningham to call an early time-out. Mark Jackson was detailed to man mark Patton and he did so with some success allowing Solent to settle down and with points from Larry Parker (6), Paul Silcox (2), Phil Long (2) and Jackson himself, Solent closed the gap to just one point (12 - 13) after six minutes. However, Patton was able to add a further ten points in the remaining four minutes of the quarter - including two more three point shots - to give Sheffield a nine point advantage at the first break.
A Jackson three pointer plus four more points from Parker and a basket from Marlin Capers wiped out the Sheffield lead and put Solent one point ahead (26 - 25) after three minutes of the second period. Solent could only add two more Phil Long points to this total in the next four minutes as Sheffield re-grouped and outscored Solent 2 - 13 to take a ten point lead (28 - 38). During this period Solent suffered a hammer blow as Mark Jackson had to leave the game permanently with a pulled calf muscle. With Paul Silcox again in foul trouble, coach Alan Cunningham, had restricted options available to carry him through to half time when Solent trailed by eleven points.
Despite missing Jackson, Solent held their own until midway through the third period when, now losing by twelve points, the visitors had an inspired period against the current league leaders. With Solent playing some of their best defence in the game, in which Chris St. Omer was noteworthy, Solent restricted the Sheffield team to just two points in a four minute period. During that time, points from Parker (5), Capers (4) and St Omer (2) added to Solent's score before a three pointer from Ollie Marsh brought the scores level at 57 all.
Inevitably the task of chasing the game began to take its toll and Solent could only manage one Capers three pointer in the opening four minutes of the final period as Sheffield established a thirteen point lead (62 - 75). Still Solent would not lie down and reduced the difference to seven points with two minutes remaining helped by two quick baskets by Marsh. Although Solent were denied a victory, coach Cunningham said, "I am proud of the players' performances today. Losing Jackson was a big blow, but all the players responded with possibly pour best team performance so far this season".
Solent now prepare for next week-end's National Trophy games away to Coventry and home to Worcester Wolves (Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth, Sunday, 4pm).
SCORERS Larry Parker 27 Marlin Capers 14 Phil Long 8 Ollie Marsh 7 Mark Jackson 5 Chris Bevin 4 Chris St Omer 4 Karl Mroch 4 Paul Silcox 3
8 January 2005
SOLENT STARS 103 (34, 57, 86)
WORCESTER WOLVES 101 (19, 38, 72)
A devastating first quarter by Solent Stars, in which they scored 34 points, belied their lowly league status in this English League Division One game at Fleming Park. Notable contributions in this opening salvo were from Paul Silcox, who gained many valuable defensive rebounds, Marlin Capers for his fast break scores and Ollie Marsh who stole the ball on several occasions and generally hustled the opposition to good effect. Mark Jackson showed no ill effects on his return after injury and acted as a playmaker, setting up many opportunities for his colleagues. American Larry Parker took a little while to get into the game, but a memorable tip-in for two points signified Solent's determination in this game.
Inevitably some of the momentum was lost at the beginning of the second quarter before a Jackson three pointer put Solent back on track. Halfway through the second quarter Solent led 45 - 25 but were then guilty of several turnovers as the players lost concentration.. However, they were still able to score at regular intervals with three pointers from Silcox and Jackson, again, helping keep the scoring gap constant. Solent were aided by all of the players who came off the bench quickly picking up the tempo of the game and keeping the pressure on Worcester. Such was the pressure that a Worcester player was called for a technical foul brought on mainly be exasperation. Solent held a healthy 19 point lead at half-time (57 - 38).
The third quarter belonged to Larry Parker as his scoring alone helped keep Solent in the ascendancy. His contribution of 21 points, plus several valuable rebounds, came whilst Solent's other American, Capers, was withdrawn having accumulated four fouls so far in the game. Silcox (4) and Jackson (2) were Solent's only other scorers in the third quarter and helped Solent keep a 20 point lead until the last minute when Rick Solvason scored two quick three pointers for Worcester to reduce the gap to 14 points going into the final session.
Solent's confidence visibly drained in the second minute of the final quarter when Worcester's Josh Cooprider and Rick Solvason scored three consecutive three pointers to narrow the score to 91 - 83 in Solent's favour. With Parker's contribution drying up it was left to Silcox and Jackson to land important three point shots to preserve the Solent lead. The last minute began with Solent leading by just two points and remembering their last game, against the same opponents, when Solent - who had led throughout - lost by three points. A naive Parker foul had gifted Worcester three free throws to come within two points, he then missed two free throws of his own, but all was forgiven when he gained a vital rebound and scored the final two points himself. Worcester's last effort was thwarted by a ring of Solent defenders around the shooter, to give them their second league win of the season ahead of next week's visit by Teesside Mohawks.
SOLENT; Larry Parker 35 Paul Silcox 23 Marlin Capers 19 Mark Jackson 19 Ollie Marsh 5 Chris St Omer 2
WORCESTER; Ty Shaw 35 Josh Cooprider 20 Rick Solvason 14 Colin Chiverton 12 Robert Clarke 10 Rikki Prince 6 Barry Lamble 4
15 January 2005
SOLENT STARS 86 (20, 43, 61)
TEESSIDE MOHAWKS 81 (24, 51, 66)
The first quarter of this Division One encounter at Fleming Park saw the lead change hands on several occasions as both teams strove to gain the initiative. The scores were level after five minutes, when a burst of points from Teesside took them to a six point advantage (9 - 15) before seven points from Marlin Capers gave Solent a slender lead. Teesside then pulled six points clear toward the end of the quarter before a late Larry Parker basket brought Solent back to a four point deficit at the end of the quarter.
Frequent substitutions by the visiting coach helped Teesside keep up a defensive pressure on the Solent team, forcing them into many errors and not giving them chance to settle down. At this stage of the game, Solent seemed to have no answer to the fast moving Teesside team and by the eighth minute of the quarter fell sixteen points behind (33 - 49). However, they dug in and last minute points from Capers (who scored 25 points in the first half) and Parker halved the Teesside lead by half time.
Teesside were unable to maintain their pressure at the start of the second half . Gradually, Solent came back into the game with contributions from all the players. Defensively, the team won the battle of the boards, Parker grabbing eleven of those and Ollie Marsh hustled to good effect. As the game heated up both teams conceded 'unsportsmanlike' fouls, though Chris St. Omer's seemed a little harsh as he fought for possession of the ball. Solent finally levelled the scores at 61 all in the last minute only to concede five quick points to the visitors.
The final quarter started with Solent giving the ball away three times in the first minute and forcing coach Alan Cunningham to take quick action. The home team then settled down and Capers and Parker scored regularly and the team protected possession of the ball to better effect. A Parker basket in the sixth minute took Solent into the lead for the first time since the mid-point of the first quarter. The lead then changed hands three times before a big Parker three pointer gave Solent a breathing space. A fumble by Paul Silcox with 16 seconds remaining gave Teesside, who were trailing by two points, possession of the ball. However, they then turned the ball over. Having seen his team concede so much in the second half the visiting coach, Tony Hanson, let his frustration take control and directed remarks at the referees that eventually led to a technical foul and an opportunity for Mark Jackson to seal, what had looked at one stage, an unlikely victory.
Coach Alan Cunningham was full of praise for his squad, although he did acknowledge that, " 40 turnovers in a game is not the kind of statistic that normally ends in a win!"
SOLENT Marlin Capers 39 Larry Parker 27 Paul Silcox 8 Mark Jackson 6 Ollie Marsh 2 Chris St Omer 2 Phil Long 2
TEESSIDE Jan-Michael Nation 20 Gavin Smith 16 Harold Apanzo 14 Zambo Efuama 13 Corey Jackson 9 Michael Gayle 4 Eric Malambo 3 Andrew Nyeko 2
22 January 2005
SOLENT STARS 98 (21, 53, 81)
COVENTRY CRUSADERS 89 (17, 39, 59)
Solent Stars made it three league wins in a row with this first away victory of the season against Coventry Crusaders thanks to a whole team effort spearheaded by the scoring of American players, Marlin Capers and Larry Parker.
Capers and Parker were responsible between them for all of Solent's first quarter points as the rest of the on-court away team players found it difficult to hit the mark. Paul Silcox and Ollie Marsh both had three point efforts that rolled around the ring before falling outside the basket. It was left to a Capers' three pointer right on the buzzer to put Solent four points clear in a quarter where the lead changed hands seven times, but with neither team able to establish dominance.
The second quarter opened with another three pointer from Capers, in a run of four successive three point successes within a period of five minutes. A Chris St Omer lay-up ended the monopoly of Solent's American scoring, followed by a three pointer from Graham Hunter. These two were the only Solent contributors to the points total as Capers and Parker continued to plunder points and take Solent to a fourteen point lead at half-time.
Failed shots by Ollie Marsh, Mark Jackson and Parker and poor defensive work forced coach Alan Cunningham to call an early time-out in the third quarter. Coventry had pulled back to a ten point deficit, but Solent were soon on track again thanks to five quick points from Jackson and another three pointer from Hunter that took Solent to their biggest lead of 25 points (79 - 54) with eleven minutes of the game remaining.
The less experienced Solent players formed the nucleus of the Solent on-court team at the start of the final quarter as Cunningham and assistant coach, Steve Chant, gave the players valuable court time in the Division One game. Coventry took full advantage of this and exploited their superior height and weight advantages, plus the success of some accurate outside shooting, to come back into the game. By the fifth minute, with both Parker and Capers sitting out, Coventry had reduced Solent's lead to ten points, Solent having been outscored 2 - 14. The reintroduction of the starting five - although they never achieved their earlier rhythm - was enough to maintain the status quo and Solent rode out the last minutes of the game having subdued the spirited Coventry fightback.
Next week Solent are at home to National Cup winners, Reading Rockets, in a game that will test their new-found confidence.
SCORERS; Marlin Capers 45, Larry Parker 29, Mark Jackson 8, Graham Hunter 6, Chris St Omer 4 Paul Silcox 4 Ollie Marsh 2
29 January 2005
SOLENT STARS 70 (17, 36, 54)
READING ROCKETS 89 (23, 36, 66)
The game began with the two teams trading baskets in this Division One match at Fleming Park in front of the biggest crowd of the season. Riichard Wellings' three pointer for Reading was the start of the visitors first acceleration to the scoring. Reading's cause was aided by Solent giving the ball away too easily with Mark Jackson, Chris St Omer, Paul Silcox and Ollie Marsh all guilty of early turnovers. Just when Reading threatened to pull right away, a Larry Parker three pointer narrowed the first quarter gap to just six points (17 - 23).
The omens did not look good when Solent gave the ball away at the put-in at the start of the second quarter. This was followed by coach Alan Cunningham picking up a technical foul when he felt Parker had been fouled on an attempt at basket. This seemed to act as a spur to the Solent team. Marlin Capers and Parker combined in a move that set the crowd alight as Capers scored, to pass the 500 point mark for the season. With a Mark Jackson's three pointer supplementing the scoring efforts of Solent's American players, Solent levelled at 30 all, three minutes before the interval. A couple of lapses of concentration allowed Reading to open a four point gap, before coach Cunningham reverted to his starting five players who brought the scores level at the half-time break.
Solent were caught cold at the start of the third quarter and Reading opened an eight point gap, before baskets from Paul Silcox, Capers and Parker brought Solent back into the game midway through the quarter (47 - 51). In the remaining five minutes of the quarter, Solent were outscored 7 - 15 by the recent National Cup winners. The visitors looked sharper in this period and, with Parker and Capers unable to keep up their rate of scoring, it was left to Phil Long to be the sole scorer for the home team in the last three minutes.
The flashpoint for the game came right at the start of the final quarter when Solent again gave the ball away at the put-in by delaying - in the referees' view - longer than five seconds. For coach Alan Cunningham this proved a call too far. Already frustrated by the fact that the Reading team had just one first half foul called against it, Cunningham was called for a second technical foul which meant he had to leave the game. Reading then also failed in their attempt to put the ball in a bizarre first few seconds. Later more frustration showed as Capers, feeling he had been fouled, also picked up a technical foul when no call was made by the referees, who have each officiated at three of Solent's eight home league games. Reading continued to outscore the home team as the game petered out as a contest, ending Solent's recent run of three league wins.
SOLENT Larry Parker 32 Marlin Capers 20 Mark Jackson 8 Paul Silcox 4 Phil Long 4 Ollie Marsh 2
READING EJ Harrison 22 Steve Parillon 19 Richard Wellings 13 Errol Seaman 10 Ted Smith 8 James Cook 6 Lee McCarthy 5 Ross Carlton 4 Jamie Ashwin 2
6 February 2005
SOLENT STARS 74 (11, 28, 58)
ESSEX AND HERTS LEOPARDS 77 (16, 38, 55)
Solent Stars went into this game knowing that to hold any hope of getting into the final eight Championship Play-Offs, they would have to beat their closest rivals for the coveted eighth spot in this game at Brentwood Leisure Centre.
A nervous start by Solent saw them score only four points in the opening eight minutes whilst Leopards posted twelve points, including two long range three point successes. Solent's leading scorer was being closely policed by the Essex team which meant other players were free, but none could score in the early stages other than Capers himself. Larry Parker, Solent's other main scoring threat could not hit the target at all in the opening quarter. Fortunately for Solent a late rally saw Paul Silcox, Phil Long and Capers add important points to pull Solent nearer Essex's first quarter score.
Parker began to hit the target in the second quarter scoring eleven of the visitor's seventeen points in the quarter. Having come within four points of the Essex total, Solent watched in dismay as the home team scored three successive big three point shots through American, Brandon Kephart. Solent fell fifteen points behind (21 - 36) but were able to pull back the lead in the remaining few minutes of the half to trail by ten at the interval.
Solent came out full of enterprise at the start of the second half and played probably one of their best spells of the season to outscore the home team 30 - 17 and take the lead for the first time in the game after five minutes of the quarter. All the squad contributed to the success with Phil Long having his best game so far despite having to try and contain the bigger and heavier Troy Selvey. With five of the squad members getting on the scoresheet in the quarter, Solent edged into a narrow lead by the end of the quarter.
The final session was a nail-biting, pulsating quarter as the teams vied for supremacy. With a tight control being kept on Capers, Parker assumed the main scoring role. Two enterprising baskets from Chris St Omer kept Solent in the hunt as the home team regained the lead with three minutes remaining. Solent lost Long, on five fouls, at the start of the final minute which included two players fouling out, three time-outs and six free throws. Essex kept their nerve with their precarious lead and Solent were unable to get a clean shot away in the final seconds and disappointingly even turned the ball over in their last attack to concede victory to the Leopards. With just eight games remaining - including one each against the top six - Solent now have a mountain to climb to qualify for the play-offs.
Scorers: Larry Parker 28 Marlin Capers 12 Mark Jackson 10 Phil Long 8 Ollie Marsh 7 Chris St Omer 6 Paul Silcox 3
12 February 2005
SOLENT STARS 92 (25, 44, 64)
KINGSTON WILDCATS 83 (17, 34, 59)
Solent Stars came away from a visit to the Arena, Kingston, with a much needed victory against league basement club, Wildcats. However, it needed them to hold their nerve when the home team came from behind to take the lead in the third quarter.
The Stars got off to a good start against the team who had sacked their coach at the beginning of the week following a home loss to fellow-strugglers Coventry Crusaders. Paul Silcox was in the action early both scoring and rebounding to good effect. Larry Parker supplied a steady stream of points and Marlin Capers added to the home team's pressure with some well-taken fade-away two pointers. Solent looked in control as they established an eight point first quarter lead (25 - 17).
The visitors slightly increased the points difference by half time, playing steady basketball but still committing the occasional error to keep Kingston in the hunt. Chris St Omer picked up three quick fouls to limit coach Alan Cunningham's options as he brought players in and out of the game.
The third quarter proved an exciting one as Kingston put up a spirited rally. With Parker and Capers unable to find their scoring touch (only six points between them in the quarter), Solent saw Kingston eventually take the lead in the ninth minute. Ollie Marsh then scored an important three pointer and followed this up by stealing the ball and driving through for two more points plus one from the free throw line when he was fouled on shooting. This raised the spirits of the team, despite losing St Omer to his fifth foul.
Kingston responded one more time at the beginning of the final quarter to outscore Solent 2 - 7 in the first three minutes. Capers and Marsh and then Parker and Marsh added points to keep Solent's nose in front. Mark Jackson, Marsh and Silcox worked tirelessly to keep Solent's advantage during a last hectic few minutes. Solent were helped by a technical foul called on a Kingston player, allowing Jackson to give them a further two point cushion. A third blocked shot by Parker stopped any further rally from Kingston to give Solent an outside chance of qualifying for the play-offs.
Coach Cunningham, whilst delighted with the win, was circumspect when he said, "We should have blown them away with our first half performance. We practise for close end-of-game situations, but the players need to be better disciplined if we are to gain many more wins."
SCORERS Larry Parker 25, Marlin Capers 19, Ollie Marsh 16, Paul Silcox 14, Mark Jackson 12, Mike McGregor 3, Phil Long 2, Chris St Omer
17 February 2005
SOLENT STARS 83 (31, 53, 72)
READING ROCKETS 87 (25, 44, 67)
Steve Chant, coaching his first ever senior English Basketball League game, nearly pulled off a surprise win when tenth-placed Solent Stars travelled to third-in-the-table Reading Rockets. Only a poor fourth period when Solent had two key players fouled out and committed a series of silly errors turned a possible victory into defeat.
In a high scoring opening period, Solent were always in charge thanks to some accurate jump shots from Marlin Capers and a series of accurate shots from Larry Parker. They were Solent's only scorers in the opening seven minutes when Solent took a 21 - 14 point lead. Ollie Marsh and Mark Jackson added more points as Solent closed out the quarter six points ahead (31 - 25).
Although Solent scored regularly at the start of the second quarter, they proved susceptible to quick counter attacks and were never able to pull away from the Reading team and establish a commanding lead. However, in the fourth minute Paul Silcox hit a three pointer and this proved to be the start of a good period for Solent and with Parker, Jackson and Capers weighing in, Solent went 16 points ahead (51 - 35) to gain their biggest lead of the game. Mike McGregor played an instrumental part in helping Solent find good shooting positions.
Reading quickly eroded Solent's lead in the first four minutes of the second half and brought the difference down to just three points (57 - 54). Once again, Solent were able to lift their game and scored the next ten points, five of them from Jackson. This lead was whittled down to just five points by the end of the quarter, in which Parker had failed to find the target.
Capers, who had been rested once he reached four fouls in the third quarter, only lasted a couple of playing minutes in the final quarter. After scoring to give Solent a six point advantage, he was called for a blocking foul, which ended his game. Coach Chant suffered more problems when Capers was followed by Silcox, who capped a disappointing performance by also reaching five fouls. With his options limited, and Reading Rockets on a roll, Chant watched as his team conceded possession of the ball needlessly four times in the closing minutes. On each occasion Reading scored and Solent ran out of time as they gave the ball away, with just four seconds remaining, for a final error.
Alan Cunningham, serving out his one match ban, was at the match and knows that he now must raise his team for the clash against London United this weekend (Fleming Park 8pm).
SCORERS; Marlin Capers 28 Larry parker 24 Mark Jackson 15 Paul Silcox 5 Chris St Omer 5 Ollie Marsh 2 Mike McGregor 2 Phil Long 2
19 February 2005
SOLENT STARS 93 (21, 42, 68)
LONDON UNITED 124 (27, 57, 91)
This was Solent's second game in three days against table-topping opposition. After the opening basket of the game, from Solent's Larry Parker, second-placed London United never trailed in this Division One English Basketball League game at Fleming Park. London responded with the first of their 13 three pointers in the game, distributed amongst four of their players, and moved steadily ahead.
In the opening quarter, Solent seemed to have no answer to London's rather static 2:1:2 zone defence - in part because of the difference in height of the two squads. Marlin Capers was not able to find his shooting form and it took two three point successes from Paul Silcox and Ollie Marsh to keep Solent in touch with London during a hectic opening period. In turn, London brought on Pete Deppish who opened his account with two undefended long three point scores.
In the second quarter London continued with their zone defence which went largely untested by the Solent attacks. Meanwhile, the visitors kept up a steady rate of scoring and rebounding, and profiting occasionally from Solent turnovers. Parker, Solent's main scoring threat and who passed his 300 point mark after 12 matches, was mysteriously taken out of the game at intervals by coach Alan Cunningham and played in less than half the game.
A prolonged spell in the changing room discussing tactics at half time brought its rewards for Solent who began to make better inroads into the London defence in the third quarter. However, they could not dominate the boards and every miss seemed to end up in London's hands with no chance of a second attempt. The match totals of rebounds were Solent 29 London 53, which proved a decisive factor in the game. London's rebounding ability encouraged them to shoot (31 three point attempts against Solent's 18) knowing that any rebound would probably give them another shooting opportunity. The visitors had six of their squad in double point figures by the third quarter making Solent's defensive task even more difficult.
Solent kept plugging away in the final quarter and had they not missed ten of their twenty free throws in the game might have come closer to testing the visitors. London looked a polished team, perhaps not surprising as four of their main scorers were Polish.
SCORERS Larry Parker 29, Marlin Capers 17, Paul Silcox 13, Mark Jackson 11, Phil Long 9, Chris St Omer 7 Ollie Marsh 5, Mike McGregor 2
26 February 2005
SOLENT STARS 82 (16, 36, 55)
PAWS LONDON CAPITALS 95 (19, 49, 69)
Solent Stars hopes of reaching the Play-Offs this season almost evaporated with a poor display at the new Capital City Academy in London. Having played so well at various stages of the season, the team disappointed on this vital occasion.
Needing to win by at least ten points against a team that had beaten them earlier in the season, Solent briefly took an early lead when Phil Long scored their second basket in the fourth minute of a scrappy opening to the game. It took until the eighth minute before either of Solent's American players, Marlin Capers and Larry Parker, could find the target and by then the visitors trailed by 8 - 17. Mark Jackson's first three pointer brought a bit of relief for Solent as they closed the quarter just three points in arrears.
By the sixth minute of the second quarter, the points difference was still the same (24 - 27), although worryingly all but two of Solent's points had come from the free throw line. However, what happened next virtually sealed Solent's fate for the season as they conceded eight points without even getting the ball out of their half once. At this point London were looking sharper and hungrier for the ball and forced Solent into several ball-handling errors. Solent only scored four field baskets in the quarter as they fell thirteen points in arrears at half-time.
In contrast all of Solent's third quarter points came from open play, including three three pointers from Parker. Capers (6) and Jackson (2) were Solent's only other point scorers in the quarter as they struggled to get back in the game. Steve Chant, who was given the main coaching role, was limited in his choices because Paul Silcox was suffering the after-effects of a heavy cold.
A determined rally by Solent, still seeking to win the game, brought them to within nine points of the London total with just under four minutes remaining as Graham Hunter sank a three pointer. A mad scramble under the London basket with the Solent players fighting for possession ended with Marlin Capers falling to the ground, hitting his head on the surface and bleeding profusely from a cut under his eye. The game was halted for several minutes, and Capers eventually left for hospital. Further determined efforts brought Solent to within eight points of the London total, but they were forced to foul in an attempt to gain possession of the ball. The London players scored from all ten visits to the free throw line, in contrast to Solent who had missed ten of their twenty eight free throws in the game.
SCORERS Larry Parker 29 Marlin Capers 19 Mark Jackson 13 Ollie Marsh 7 Graham Hunter 5 Paul Silcox 5 Chris St Omer 2 Phil Long 2
5 March 2005
SOLENT STARS 71 (11, 28, 51)
MANCHESTER MAGIC 95 (23, 44, 67)
The last thing you want to happen when you are playing a vital league game for a Championship Play-Off spot is to have a bad start. Solent had that in spades when they visited fourth place Manchester Magic. It took until the sixth minute before they could register a point when Paul Silcox scored one of his two free throws. By then Manchester were almost out of sight, having scored seventeen points of their own.
Larry Parker was not able to get in the game at all early on and only recorded four rebounds overall. He was not helped by a series of referee's calls that exasperated coach Alan Cunningham and saw Parker obtain his fourth foul before half-time, a new experience for him. Solent's other American player, Marlin Capers, tried hard to get the team going, but in doing so, took on too much and conceded possession of the ball on a number of occasions as he tried to be the playmaker. The introduction of Graham Hunter, after Ollie Marsh had failed to make any impression, saw a flicker of a Solent revival. This was aided by Manchester's coach, Jeff Jones, being free to give his less experienced players more court time than usual. Manchester were able to add points from second chance attempts as they out-rebounded Solent on the boards, especially in the first half. Solent sorely missed (work) Chris St Omer's normal rebounding contribution
Yet another extended half time changing room lecture saw an improvement in Solent's performance and they equalled Manchester's scoring in the third quarter. Paul Silcox, who worked tirelessly for his points and nine rebounds, Mark Jackson, Ollie Marsh, Capers and Parker all contributed points as Solent began to play with a purpose sorely lacking of late.
The final quarter saw Manchester regain the superiority to strengthen their claim for a top four place in the league. Next week Solent meet league leaders Sheffield Arrows (Fleming Park 8pm) and must hope to do themselves justice after a close fought game against them in Sheffield earlier in the season.
After the game coach Alan Cunningham said, " This was a game of two halves. First half we failed to turn up. When I brought on Graham Hunter we briefly looked like a team capable of coming back, but a couple of crucial calls by the referees - which should have gone Solent's way, but did not - caused a further points deficit and killed off any quick resurgence by the team. The second half brought new belief but the four fouls on Parker and Silcox saw the end of Solent's rally."
SCORERS; Larry Parker 21 Marlin Capers 15 Paul Silcox 14 Mark Jackson 12 Phil Long 4 Graham Hunter 3 Ollie Marsh 2
12 March 2005
SOLENT STARS 82 (25, 42, 56)
CITY OF SHEFFIELD ARROWS 106 (22, 53, 82)
By the time Solent Stars took the court for their home game against Sheffield Arrows, the visitors had been crowned league champions after, earlier in the day, Worthing Thunder had defeated potential rivals London United by one point.
Nevertheless it was Solent who got off to a bright start with Paul Silcox noticeable in the early stages, scoring the opening five points and taking several rebounds. By the fourth minute Solent led 11 - 2 and they were able to maintain that lead in a first quarter that was allowed to flow by the officials who only blew three fouls. Although Sheffield narrowed the points gap. Solent still played with some flair and purpose.
Any hope that the visitors would relax now that the league title was theirs was dispelled in the second quarter of the game when they rattled in 30 points to take a half time lead. A series of missed shots by the Solent team saw them gradually slip behind in the scoring. Sheffield's Jamie Davidson started to open a gap when he notched consecutive three pointers in a quarter that saw the visitors outscore Solent 6 - 1 in successful three point attempts. With Ryan Patton orchestrating the visitor's play, it soon became clear why Sheffield have now won the National Trophy and the league. Solent were put to the sword during several passages of play and left to pick up only the occasional basket to add to their score.
Whilst Solent went to the changing room at half time to discuss their dilemma, the Sheffield team remained on court practising their shooting. The pattern of play continued in the third quarter with Sheffield outscoring Solent 29 - 14. Larry Parker was only able to add 4 points to his total and Marlin Capers 6. Little scoring support came from the other Solent players, whilst Sheffield added yet another four three point scores.
Whilst a boxing match referee might have stopped the contest at this stage, it would have denied a last quarter in which Solent outscored their opponents as they lifted their game to help coach Steve Chant. Despite using only seven players, the visitors had looked sharper throughout the game, but a rearguard action by Solent provided a slim hope for their last two league matches against Worcester (away) and Worthing Thunder (March 27th, 2pm, Fleming Park).
SCORERS Larry Parker 31 Marlin Capers 27 Mark Jackson 8 Paul Silcox 7 Graham Hunter 3 Ollie Marsh 2 Phil Long 2 Mike McGregor 2
19 March 2005
SOLENT STARS 74 (22, 50, 59)
WORCESTER WOLVES 94 (31, 48, 66)
Solent Stars suffered a late blow prior to the start of this important match when Paul Silcox, one of the starting five, was declared unwell to travel. Worcester Wolves were anxious to claim a home tie in the Championship Play-Off quarter finals which meant that nothing but a home win would suffice. Solent, in turn, knew that a win for them would free relegation worries. A family commitment took away the Solent coach, Alan Cunningham, and in his place Steve Chant was in command.
It was the home team that set the early pace fashioning a 9 - 2 lead by the third minute. A Solent rally, led in scoring by Phil Long - having probably his best game of the season - brought them to within two points (14 - 16) by the sixth minute. Worcester again mounted the pressure and pulled away in the remaining time to take a comfortable nine point lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter saw a complete transformation of the game as Solent took control to outscore their fourth-placed opponents 28 - 17 to take a slender half time lead. Half of the Solent scoring was done by Larry Parker (14), but he was ably assisted by Marlin Capers (8) and Chris St Omer, Ollie Marsh and Mark Jackson who each contributed a basket. Having initially fallen 13 points behind in the second minute, Solent had silenced the noisy home crowd with a fight back that made a mockery of the six league placings separating the teams.
As Steve Chant later remarked, "Half time came at the wrong time for us! Worcester were on the rack, but were able to regroup at half time." Solent, on the other hand, completely lost their momentum. A scrappy start to the third quarter, when both teams missed chances galore, saw only nine points scored in the opening five minutes. Parker lost his earlier Midas touch (only scoring two more points in the whole game) and no one was able to step up in the quarter to keep the rate ticking over. In all only 27 points were scored in the quarter and of those Solent contributed only nine, their lowest quarter score of the season.
Having regained the lead, Worcester were in no mood to surrender it again. Two consecutive three pointers by Graham Hunter briefly brought Solent back into the game at 64 - 67 but with neither Parker nor Capers able to post points, Solent gradually fell behind and trailed 74 - 84 at the start of the final minute. A series of Solent fouls as they tried to gain possession of the ball gifted Worcester another ten points from the free throw line, whilst Solent were not able to add to their own score in that time. "We just ran out of steam, and the players began to look to one another to take shots rather than taking responsibility themselves," commented a disappointed Steve Chant.
Meanwhile, Sheffield's 40 point victory over Kingston Wildcats, condemn the Kingston team to the second relegation spot and free Solent to concentrate on winning their last game against local rivals Worthing Thunder (Fleming Park, Easter Sunday, 2pm).
SCORERS Larry Parker 20, Marlin Capers 17, Phil Long 12, Mark Jackson 11, Graham Hunter 6, Ollie Marsh 6, Chris St Omer 2
27 March 2005
SOLENT STARS 81 (20, 36, 59)
WORTHING THUNDER 91 (30, 54, 72)
An uninspiring first quarter performance by the Solent Stars squad effectively put pay to any chance of a last game of the season win for the home team, who now finish tenth in the league. Fifth placed Worthing Thunder looked sharper and more skilful in the opening stages. A couple of early turnovers by American players Marlin Capers and Larry Parker did not bode well for the home side and helped Worthing go into a 18 - 9 lead by the eighth minute. The teams evenly shared the spoils for the remaining two minutes when over 20 points were scored. Solent's defence was penetrated with consummate ease for the visitors to add to their total whilst only Capers was hitting the target with any regularity for Solent.
If the first quarter's performance by Solent was bad, the second was dire. Rarely unable to string more than a few passes together, the shooting presented even more problems as Paul Silcox, Ollie Marsh and Phil Long each missed easy chances. No Solent player was able to impress, especially Parker who could only contribute two points in the first half. A series of niggling fouls and numerous substitutions made for a long second period in which Worthing kept adding to their lead.
Coach Alan Cunningham managed to get a better performance out of his team in the second half, with Solent outscoring their opponents in both of the quarters, despite sitting Capers out for a long period in the third quarter when he was on four fouls. At one stage they came back to a twelve point difference (74 - 86) with three minutes remaining, but two consecutive three pointers from David Butterworth gave Worthing the necessary breathing space. Worthing were unable to score again whilst Solent added seven more points of their own. No one demonstrated the Solent team's determination better than Mike McGregor, but unfortunately the team's skills did not match those of their opponents.
Scorers; Marlin Capers 28, Larry Parker 13 Mark Jackson 11 Phil Long 10 Mike McGregor 7 Chris St Omer 6 Paul Silcox 5 Ollie Marsh 1
After the game the Solent Star Player of the Year Award went to Marlin Capers. Mark Jackson was runner-up for this award, and received the Players Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. The Peter Axon Newcomer Award went to Paul Silcox.