Tornadoes push champions to narrow win

Coach John Bunyan. Photo: John Devlin
Coach John Bunyan. Photo: John Devlin

For the first time this season, Fury found themselves in an unusual position behind at half time – trailing the Troon Tornadoes by ten points.

Troon had also taken the opening quarter in a low scoring 14-13 period. The Champions were still seven behind going into the third but a magnificent final stanza showed why the Falkirk side are undefeated this season and already crowned League and Cup winners .

A 23-7 final quarter saw Fury force a whole series of Troon turnovers, catapulting Fury into the lead with literally minutes to go. The fact Fury were without five of their first team players was clearly significant with regular starter Walter Lubeigt out along with key players off the bench – Roni Gordon, Tomas Venslauskas, Martin Malnieks and Ross Munnoch.

Into the starting line-up came 6’10” Scotland centre Stu McKay who made his presence felt scoring Fury’s first three baskets.

Starting guards Jonny Bunyan and Scott Russell started slowly with only a basket each in the opening period and Fury’s lowest scoring opening quarter this season was completed with a Richard Thorpe three.

The second period saw Fury captain Keith Bunyan hit a couple of threes with Russell adding seven personal but a 25 point haul by Troon took them deservedly 10 clear at the half.

Fury continued to struggle in the third with the game going out to 12 at one point. Five personal from Jonny Bunyan at the of third and some trapping defence in the closing minutes brought the game back to seven and at last it looked as though Troon were ready to crack.

With the momentum now firmly with the champions Fury continued to apply the pressure with teenage brothers Craig and Fraser Malcolm playing key roles in the Fury run. But it was back to the starting five when Fury finally went clear with Scott Russell hitting seven and Keith Bunyan nine. With one match remaining, Fury can match their undefeated Championship season of 2000-2001 when they went 18-0.

Fury Headcoach John Bunyan told Heraldsport: “This was our closest game of the season and full credit to Troon for coming out and putting our undefeated season on the line.

“We had to dig deep with a tactic we have not had to use all season – trapping defence. Yes we were several key players down but with the depth of the squad we have we were confident we could take the win.

“Scott pulled us through with some great plays in the fourth quarter as Keith did from beyond the arc.”