Guard power prevailed with Bantu Burroughs and Eddy Leginus sharing 42 points in Fury’s must win match over fellow title contenders Blaze.
The match – described by players, officials and the large crowd as ‘one of the best they had been in/seen’ – produced great basketball, played sportingly and in a great atmosphere.
The first quarter saw both sides trying to get an edge but it finished with Fury only a basket ahead at 17-15. Captain Keith Bunyan continued his three point shooting form with two big threes in that opening spell. The second was arguably where Fury took control of the game as a high scoring second stanza saw them rack up 30 points to 20 from Blaze for a 12 points half-time lead.
Lithuanian Eddy Leginus, who was finding his three point shooting form, hit three from downtown in that period with Bantu Burroughs getting to the line almost at will with nine points personal. The third saw both teams play up tempo basketball, as Fury matched Blaze’s desire to run with the ball.
Centre Ross Gibson closed out the period well for Fury as the Sony sponsored side continue to not just shoot well from the perimeter, but create great opportunities inside for Austrian Adam Hammerschmidt and Bulgarian Ivan Ganchev whose shot blocking was also a key to the Fury defence.
Blaze edged the third 23-22, so with the home side 11 ahead it was still all to play for. An opening three from Burroughs in the fourth and four consecutive freethrows from Gibson and Ganchev meant Fury started well. Leginus nailed another three then a two as Fury kept their double digit lead going towards the final minutes.
Back to back baskets from Zigy Dauskas were key with Fury finishing their scoring from the line with Leginus and Greek forward Greg Foussas. The 20-17 final period gave Fury a hard fought 14 point win and overturned the three point loss they had to Blaze early in the season in the reverse fixture.
Burroughs and Leginus led Fury with 21 apiece, with Adam Hammerschmidt on 12 and Ganchev and Bunyan sharing 18 points.