MK Lions 88 Guildford Heat 100
BBL play-off final
National Indoor Arena
Sunday, May 4
MK Lions suffered a heartbreaking 88-100 defeat at the hands of Guildford Heat in the BBL play-off final at the National Indoor Arena.
The Lions went to Birmingham with the hope of ending their record breaking 2007/08 campaign by claiming a second piece of silverware.
But unfortunately for the travelling Lions support it wasn't to be as Guildford proved too strong for a battling Lions side.
However, the Lions, in the play-off finals for the first time in their 21-year history, bowed out in dignified fashion knowing they had given their all in the tough game.
It had all started so brightly for MK as they held a nine point lead over their opponents in the opening quarter, but Guildford's late rally in the closing stages saw them take a three point advantage.
Yorick Williams opened the scoring in style with a fine three-pointer only for Mike Martin to hit back within two minutes.
However, the Lions stretched their lead further with a 5-0 run with Dru Spinks' two free-throws combined with baskets from Williams and Mike New.
As Guildford failed to find their feet the Lions soon found themselves with a 19-10 advantage.
But Heat soon discovered their shooting abilities as points courtesy of Martin from the line inspired Guildford to fight their way back.
A massive three-pointer from Danny Gilbert then three EJ Harrison free-throws got Guildford within touching distance before John Nottley gave them the lead for the first time.
They were able to hang on to it as the Lions trailed 21-24 going into the second quarter.
Shawn Jamison entered the fray in the second as coach Vince Macauley called on his experienced players to keep his side within reach.
Martin continued to play a big part for Heat with a three-pointer to start the quarter.
Soon Heat had an eight point lead and Macauley had seen enough to persuade him to call a time-out.
From the restart the Lions had more urgency about their play and it didn't take long for Ronnie Baker to get his name on the score sheet.
As Guildford kept the scoring ticking over with regular baskets MK Lions kept finding a reply. Four points from Tony Windless reduced the deficit to three points before Jamison netted a rebound taking the score to 36-37 with just over a minute remaining before half-time.
The two sides continued to exchange scores and Guildford took a slender one point advantage at the interval.
A 41-42 score line ensured everyone was on the edge of their seats for the second-half.
Robert Youngblood edge the Lions in front on the restart yet Martin and Dorsey, who were a constant thorn in Milton Keynes' side, found the basket with almost every move.
It was a credible third quarter performance from the Lions as they continuously pushed Guildford to the maximum and the lead switched hands a number of times.
As usual, Terrell Brown was proving a handful with some darting runs, one that finished with a giant three-pointer to take the score to 47-48.
Yet, four points from Dorsey made life increasingly difficult for Macauley's men.
Williams and Windless managed to keep the points coming from the free-throw line but when Williams was penalised for an unsportsman like foul Guildford took full advantage.
A burst of five points from Most Valuable Player Danny Gilbert ensured they took a six point advantage into the final stage.
Gilbert then started the fourth as he'd finished the second with a three-pointer.
However, Dru Spinks, the Lions' inspirational captain, had not ruled out a fight back.
It was Spinks who appeared to give hope to the hundreds of Lions fans who had travelled to Birmingham hoping to see a him lift the cup.
An incredible eleven points were hit by Spinks but that could not prevent Guildford claiming the victory in an style with Heat's captain Dorsey netting the last point from the free-throw line to raises the 100th point for Guildford.
Although defeat is a bitter pill to swallow Lions fans would have been more than happy to reach the final of the competition, and have the BBL Cup in the trophy when the season started.