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BASKETBALL: Table-toping Devils back down to earth
THERE were mixed fortunes for Bury Blue Devils as they returned to the top of the Manchester Area Basketball League Division One, leapfrogging their rivals Warrington who they beat 97-78.
They followed that victory up, however, with a 56-42 defeat at Chorlton Jedis, although they still hold a one-point lead at the top of the table.
Warrington had home advantage and built an early lead before Charlie Cuthbert hit a three and Chris Stainton scored from close to keep the deficit down to 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Blue Devils player-coach Mike Nichols then entered the game and hit three shots from long range to pull Bury back into contention.
Fellow veteran Stu Jackson continued to steady the ship while Kin Ming attacked the basket using his speed.
Bury led by five points at the halfway point with Ajaz Wadood hitting fine form as Warrington struggled to find the basket.
Nick McCarthy started hitting the target while Jason Knowles provided fine assists for his team-mates for Bury to lead by 11 points with a quarter to play.
Warrington faded and the visitors stepped up a gear to go on a 11-4 run to seal the win.
But it was a different story at Chorlton, who had beaten Bury by a single point in the reverse fixture.
With only eight players available, Bury found themselves in a hole and gave away numerous fouls, nine of which were converted, and the home side led by nine after the first quarter.
Bury produced a run of baskets wtih Ming getting out for fast-break points and Jackson scoring inside shots to reduce the halfway deficit to three points.
The visitors, however, lost the intensity of Nick Marshall who had to leave for coaching duties.
They put in a strong third period with Knowles, Stainton, Jackson and Ant Morris all hitting the target to tie the score at 38-38.
Chorlton came out in the final quarter to hit a three and then a two before Bury responded with a two from Jackson, but the local men lost their focus and the hosts went on a 9-0 run.
Bury conceded a raft of fouls as they tried in vain to get on terms, but the Manchester side ran out easy winners.