Stirling basketball featured some critical wins for the men this week as the 2nd team overcame Glasgow Caledonian, securing their promotion next season. The Men’s 1st team also came out on top, defeating a strong Strathclyde team and distancing themselves from relegation.
The women’s games did not go according to plan though with both matches being rescheduled. The 1st team’s match was poorly officiated at Strathclyde, so Stirling will host a rematch later in the season.
The Men’s 2nd team travelled to Glasgow anticipating a tough game. Having narrowly defeated Caledonian’s 2nd team in the previous home matchup, playing them again in their own court presented a myriad of other difficulties.
This was true until the fourth quarter, explains captain Ryan Travers, but a change of strategy allowed Stirling to pull away and win by 16 points. Strathclyde’s offense was completely shut down, only scoring three points in the closing six minutes.
This win secured the Men’s 2nd team’s promotion to Scotland’s 4A Division next semester, the perfect reward for a stellar season. Just one game remains against Dundee’s 3rd team next week.
Dundee currently sit dead last in the league without a single win. Their highest-scoring game of the season is just 47, still below Stirling’s lowest-scoring game of 55. While nothing can be taken for granted, Travers is confident the team can finish on a win.
The Men’s 1st team also secured an important victory, defeating Strathclyde’s 2nd team 58-40. Zone-defence was key in maintaining a lead explains Craig Stephen, president of men’s basketball, with Stirling’s defensive intensity being “a pleasure to watch on court.”
Success here was essential for Stirling to distance themselves from relegation talk and the team now has a much greater chance of remaining in Scotland’s 3A Division.
Stirling sit at nine points alongside Dundee’s 1st team and Edinburgh’s 3rd. Though Stirling have a tough matchup against Herriot-Watt’s 2nd team (who currently have a 63% win-rate), Edinburgh are facing an almost undefeated UWS 1st team.
Herriot-Watt have also lost 75% of their away games, swinging the odds in Stirling’s favour as they defend their home-court. A lot of variables are at play, but Stirling are going into the match with the opportunity to succeed.
The team also has a point to prove after a particularly tough matchup against Herriot-Watt last semester, Stephen explains. He and the rest of the team are eager to play well and claim the win. “We need it.”
The Women’s 1st team game at Strathclyde did not go as smoothly. The officials made a series of poor calls that left Stirling with an unfair disadvantage in the closing seconds of the game, and a rematch will therefore take place later in the season.
With Stirling versus Strathclyde being such a high-calibre game – potentially deciding the league’s top spot – good officiating is essential. Stirling will host the rematch sometime after their currently scheduled games.
These remaining matches are both against Aberdeen’s 1st team, currently sitting on a 38% win-rate. Stirling’s 1st team captain Emma Diamond explains that the team is looking to up the tempo next week, a quality that comes easier whilst playing at home.
Rescheduling appears to be the common theme this week as the Women’s 2nd team also had their match postponed. The matchup against Abertay’s 1st team will now take place on Monday, meaning Stirling has two away matchups in the same week.
Next week sees basketball season come to an end for three Stirling teams, whilst the Women’s 1st still have some matches to go. The biggest focus will be on the 1st teams’ critical matchups: the men playing to avoid relegation, and the women playing to secure first-place in the league.