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Image Courtesy - Mitchell Shirley

Sunday afternoon saw Kestrels advance to the 4th round of the National Cup as they dominated proceedings against NBL Division 3 side Surrey Scorchers, running out 98-45 winners, leading from start to finish.

Isa Brandon was the high point man for TSK once again with 18 points whilst Will Taylor added a big 17 point and 13 rebound double double off the bench and Russ Gariepy chipped in 13 in a very balanced team scoring effort.

Kestrels jumped out in front early on and would never look back, as they quickly established a 13-2 lead with Isa Brandon and Ash Briggs finding paint scores in the opening 3 minutes. Scorchers, coached by former Kestrels point guard Caylin Raftopoulos, would use an early timeout in an attempt to settle his side down, however it would be much of the same for TSK post timeout. Will Taylor came off the bench along with Sean Mulhern to inject some pace into the Kestrels offensive output and they would help their side hold a 22-7 advantage after the first quarter.

After a slow start to the second quarter Kestrels starters worked their way back into the game and set about widening the gap between the two squads, with the hosts now up 34-12 by the mid point of the period. TSK’s defensive intensity would move up a gear as they limited the visitors to just 2 points in the final five minutes of the half, whilst pouring in 16 more of their own to take a 50-14 lead in the interval.

The second half allowed for TSK to try a number of different line ups as the coaching staff continue to integrate this new look squad with one another, with the season still in its infancy. That did not slow down the offensive production as Isa Brandon and Elliot Dadds continued to tick the scoreboard over for the hosts. Kestrels taking a commanding 71-28 advantage into the last ten minutes of the ball game.

The pace of the game did not slow for TSK as the U19’s academy prospects kept the energy high and strung together a number of really positive offensive sequences. Asa Aziz getting in on the act off the bench whilst Will Taylor continued to be dominant inside against the Scorchers bigs. A 27 point fourth quarter ensured Kestrels took a commanding 98-45 win and in doing so advance to the 4th round of the National Cup, setting up a trip to D1 side Essex Rebels on the 12th November 2023.

TSK Assistant Coach Jack O’Keeffe was impressed with his squads performance, “I’m really pleased with our performance today, with 40 minutes of basketball in our legs from yesterday, it is always a tough ask to be back on the floor within 24 hours. I thought our senior guys really set the tone for how we wanted to disrupt Surrey’s offensive threats and that carried over across the game. We are starting to play a little more connected on the offensive end and that is a positive sign for us moving forward as we continue to build momentum.”

Kestrels now turn their attentions back to NBL Division 2 league play with a trip to Richmond Knights this Saturday evening before returning to the SSC on 4th November, where they’ll host Cardiff Met Archers (6pm).

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