Sony Centre Fury regain basketball title

Fury are champions again. Picture by Michael Gillen
Fury are champions again. Picture by Michael Gillen

Sony Centre Fury knocked reigning champions Boroughmuir Blaze off the throne of Scottish basketball in a 74-69 win at The Mariner.

The Falkirk side could have won, drawn or even lost by less than 17 points to be assured of a fourth title in five seasons having given up their league dominance to Blaze last term.

Bryan Munnoch scored a lay-up in the tight first half of Fury's match with Blaze. Pic by Michael Gillen

Bryan Munnoch scored a lay-up in the tight first half of Fury's match with Blaze. Pic by Michael Gillen

But John Bunyan's side has returned to form with another league championship in winning style and they'll be handed the trophy in their next league match against the City of Edinburgh Kings before leaving the Mariner Centre at the end of this season.

Eddy Leginus broke into the side last term and scooped his first senior mens' title and had a big say with two three-pointers which were key alongside another typically influential game from Adam Hammerschmidt. Fury were also without influential Greek player Greg Foussas but both Bryan Munnoch and Connor Martin had important roles in securing the all important victory at a packed out Mariner Centre.

It started well for Fury with Hammerschmidt sinking a three-pointer and Leginus adding one of his own and from that point until almost half-time Fury led the way.

At times they held double digit leads, but still the Blaze were relentless and defended their title well, and took their chances when they came later in the first half Hen the match, and the league title, hung in the balance.

John Bunyan and Gordon Munnoch took their side in for a first half timeout to try and maintain the advantage

John Bunyan and Gordon Munnoch took their side in for a first half timeout to try and maintain the advantage

Captain Keith Bunyan extended Fury's lead with five in a seven-point run for Fury in the first half which forced Blaze into a timeout but they couldn't halt Fury's early dominance. A great play with 30seconds to go from Bryan Munnoch saw the guard glide through Blaze's parting defence and knock in a lay-up for a 21-19 end to the first quarter.

The challengers and league leaders Fury continued where they left off at the first with Hammerschmidt showing excellent control low down to drive in and extend the Fury lead to 24-19 with an 'and-one' free throw. Munnoch and Hammerschmidt then combined to hit the ten-point mark at 29-19 with Munnoch breaking away with a steal, stumbling on the lay-up only for his Austrian team-mate to tip in and draw a foul on the shot, but the Scottish Cup MVP couldn't convert from the line.

Blaze bounced back though and halved the ten-point deficit with a couple of sloppy breakaway scores from a Fury perspective, though one included a harsh foul drawn from Connor Martin and that spell forced John Bunyan into a momentum stopping time-out.

It worked to a point as Hammerschmidt sent Fury further ahead from the restart but the Falkirk side were architects of their own first half downfall and allowed Blaze's late pressure to pay off. Keith Bunyan handed them more points with a technical foul for dissent and seconds before the end Blaze took the lead for the first time and lead going into the changing rooms at the turnaround 38-40.

Fury weren't presented with the trophy, but they are now 2016-17 champions. Picture Michael Gillen

Fury weren't presented with the trophy, but they are now 2016-17 champions. Picture Michael Gillen

It was as tight as the score line suggested after the interval and Fury reduced the lead to one before regaining the lead with a brilliant three-pointer from Hammerschmidt four and a half minutes into the third. By this stage the title was looking relatively safe, but relentless Fury wanted the game too and refused to take their foot off the gas.

A buzzer beater on the shot clock from Water Lubeigt edged Fury ahead 53-51 but when he Frenchman launched a breakaway alongside Hammerschmidt and fed his supporting team-mate under the basket the officials drew jeers from the packed-out Mariner Centre by calling an offensive foul.

They were cheering though by the end of the third quarter as Fury regained and maintained the lead throughout a fourth quarter which still hung in the balance in terms of the game, but with Fury's huge points advantage in league terms the title was all but sewn up as the clock edged down with the home side still ahead.

The final buzzer was greeted with cheers with the Mariner standing room only to witnes Fury regain their league throne. They'll be presented with their trophy against the Edinburgh Kings - the only side to defeat them - next month.