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Image Courtesy - Kai Johnson

The Solent Kestrels wasted no time in getting their cup campaign underway as they beat the Plymouth Marjon Patriots 113-72 to secure their place in the next round. Despite beating the Milton Keynes Breakers away from home less than 24 hours earlier, the Kestrels had enough in the tank to beat the Patriots in their first home game of the season.

The first quarter saw a slow start that was soon set alight by the in-form Russell Gariepy as he built on his 24-point game from the day prior with another 19 today. He opened the scoring with from beyond the three-point line and his teammates followed suit as the home team built an early lead, ending the first quarter with a 28-12 lead.

The second quarter saw a similar slow start that quickly gained pace. The Patriots started the slightly better side but Kestrels coach Matt Guymon turned to his bench to help regain momentum and it became quickly apparent that his plan worked. With Gariepy and Isa Brandon, another key player from the Saturday match, rested for much of the quarter, points were scored evenly from across the squad as the Kestrels went into the break with a 55-31 lead.

The third quarter saw a lot more action in the paint as both sides started working around the key. The Kestrels started to dominate the interior on both sides of the court with the rebounds and points tally steadily leaving the Patriots behind. Brandon, who would finish with 17 points and 8 assists, showed his talent with powerful scoring drives into the post as the Southampton side stretched out a 91-47 lead.

The Kestrels continued their attacking prowess, highlighted by an emphatic two-handed slam dunk by Will Taylor, who would go on to secure 12 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. The contest having been decided some time ago, the tempo dropped slightly as the hard work from the last 24 hours began to catch up to the impressive men in red.

The final buzzer sounded to end a match that had seen the winner decided long before the end as the Kestrels made it two wins from two in one weekend.

The Mic on Matt:

“I thought it was a great performance. It’s still early days of having this group come together. We have had a couple of practices and a couple of games so a game like this where we could see lots of different line-ups together was really positive. We weren’t sure what the group would look like until we got into competitive play. We played the league favourites yesterday so to win on their home court was an incredible performance and then to follow it up and make it to the next round of the cup is something we are really optimistic about as we move forwards. We had to adapt to the game as it happened. The first half was a lot more free-flowing which meant we had more opportunities on the perimeter. In the second half it changed and as we had some taller players, the opportunities then presented themselves to go and score close to the basket.”

Russ Gariepy led the way with 19 points, whilst Isa Brandon added 17 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds and Ash Briggs and Matt Hughes chipped in 14 a piece in a balanced scoring effort.

Kestrels travel to Greenwich Titans this weekend (3pm) as they return to NBL Division 2 League play, before they return home on Saturday 21st October 2023 to take on Brighton Bears - Tickets Available here;

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