BASKETBALL: Bury 77 Bolton 60

First published in Sport

The first game after the Christmas break is always a struggle as the cobwebs are dusted off, and it showed as both teams missed baskets at close range.

Bury’s Jason Knowles scored the first two points in the fourth minute of the game.

Connor Wilkinson added to the score, before Bolton hit two consecutive threes and suddenly it was game on.

Chris Stainton found a groove hitting 10 points with player/coach Mike Nichols contributing with a three to help Bury take a 16-8 lead after a quarter of the game.

Stainton continued his great form, helped by Elliot Smith and Stuart Jackson, but Bolton countered with a couple of threes, a threat they would continue throughout the game. Kin Ling hit for Bury but Bolton began to find rhythm outscoring Bury 16-15. Bury held a 31-24 lead at the halfway mark.

In the next period, Bolton came out all guns firing hitting six from long range as Bury failed to close out. However, Bury were able to benefit with Phil Stainton, Wilkinson and Jackson hitting the target helping Bury extend the lead to 57-48 with a quarter remaining.

The hustle from Dave Avery and Smith ensured Bury stayed energetic with Bart Szareko providing the muscle and Bolton faded away, but continued to compete.

Coach Mike Nichols said: “The rust showed in the first quarter before we found a groove.

“Credit to Bolton playing to their strengths and giving us a scare in the second quarter. “We lacked energy at times but stepped up when we had to.”

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