Explorers Tame Panthers to Boost Play-off Hopes
Explorers boosted their play-off hopes with a 69-61 victory over rivals Kingston Panthers.
A tight start to the game where only free-throws were the points on the board after 4 1/2 minutes.A three point basket by the visitors gave them a four point lead but a 9-2 run by the Explorers in the next two minutes including a three by debutant Joe Lister,signed from Danum Eagles in the week before put the hosts in charge.Leading 14-13 at the end of the first quarter the Explorers were outscored 13-4 by the Panthers at the start of the second quarter giving them a 8pt lead.Two quick scores by power forward Eddie Davis halved the visitors lead but with baskets at either end hard to come by the Panthers went into half-time three points up.
A 4 minute spell at the beginning of the third quarter saw the Panthers extend their lead to 10 as the Explorers failed to score.A 9-2 run in the next 2 minutes led by strong inside play by Davis cut the deficit to three.After a basket by the Panthers a five point burst by small forward Cyrus Dennis levelled the scores 40-40.An 8-2 run by the Panthers put them up by 6 with 2 minutes remaining in the quarter but now foul trouble started to count against the visitors as once again the Explorers levelled the score with free throws by Akins ansd Dennis either side of a three point play by Davis.Again the visitors took the lead with four quick points in the last minute to lead 52-48 at the end of the Third.
With the play-offs on the line the Explorers opened the last quarter strongly with the impressive Lister and the ever dependable Akins,who was having a average game by his own standards scoring three'sin a 12 -2 runwhich gave the Explorers a 6 point lead going into the last five minutes.With the Panthers now tiring and a bit deflated after holding the lead for so long during the game the Explorers secured a well deserved 8 point victory to keep their play-off hopes alive.
Eddie Davis 18pts 22 Rebounds recorded his second successive Double Double to lead the team,backed up by 17pts from Akins and Dennis and 10pts from debutant Joe Lister.