Cheshire Jets took an 80-64 victory over Glasgow Rocks as the hosts, along with Guildford Heat, secured the last two available places in this season’s British Basketball League play-offs.

The Kelvin Hall outfit, already assured of ending up fifth place, conceded 10 straight points in the second period to trail 46-32 at half-time and sustained more punishment from Cheshire who clinically chased the win they needed to reach the post-season.

And mis-firing Glasgow just 25 of their 77 shots at the Northgate Arena as the Jets surged as much as 80-55 clear with three minutes left before the Rocks saved their blushes with a closing 9-0 run.

Irish internationalist Colin O’Reilly hit a game-high 31 for the Jets.

Plymouth Raiders took pole position in their private battle with Worcester to take the runners-up place behind Newcastle by crushing the Wolves 94-80.

The home side thrilled fans inside the Pavilions with a rapid-fire start as they posted a blistering 30-14 first quarter to leave Wolves trailing in their wake.

Michael Ojo, hitting a game-high 31, produced a perimeter shooting master-class during the first half making six of his first seven attempts from downtown as the hosts built up a lead of 19 in the early stages although Wolves cut the gap to 50-38 at the half.

But, with James Jones pulling the strings in the backcourt to terrific effect and Paul Williams dominant in the frontcourt alongside Anthony Rowe to make up for the absence of Lehmon Colbert, Raiders didn’t take their foot off the gas.

Wolves briefly cut the gap to single digits during the third quarter but still trailed 67-56 heading into the final period.

While they posted a 9-3 run to get within six points, a comeback never looked like materialising and so it proved as Raiders coasted to victory.

Arnas Kazlauskas and Tommy Freeman combined for 45 points for the visitors who wrapped up their regular season campaign on a losing note.

Last year’s league champions Mersey Tigers fall from grace was completed as they were condemned to end up no higher than ninth despite a 94-86 victory over Milton Keynes Lions.

Saturday: Wolves are Riding high

Worcester Wolves showed their intent to grab second place in the BBL Championship with a convincing 93-71 win over one of their nearest rivals Leicester Riders.

The Wolves controlled the match throughout, but an excellent third quarter, which saw them outscore their visitors by 28-10 proved decisive. Richie Gordon led all scorers with 24 points, ably assisted by 17 from Tommy Freeman.

Durham Wildcats secured just their third win of the season with a 96-85 victory over Play-off hopefuls Guildford Heat.

After moving into the lead in the second quarter, the Wildcats kept Guildford at bay with some excellent shooting. Mike Capocci led their scoring with 28 points, while Tayo Ogedengbe scored 26 for Heat.

Friday: Mersey reign on Newcastle’s parade

Mersey Tigers may have lost their title but they played the role of party poopers at Newcastle Eagles championship celebrations with an 82-74 victory on Friday.

The result gave Tony Garboletto’s men a lifeline in their bid to sneak into the play-offs, despite a 95-78 win for Cheshire at Milton Keynes that left the Jets within touching distance of securing what will likely be the eighth and final place.

The Eagles, receiving their trophy after clinching the league two days earlier, had raced out to an early 16-5 lead before Mersey re-took the lead in the second quarter 31-27 after a 12-0 charge only for Newcastle to outscore them 12-4 in the remaining second quarter minutes to lead 39-35 at the half. Newcastle’s lead grew to 56-48 near the end of the third, but David Aliu sparked an 18-6 run that put them up 72-65.

Newcastle were back within 2 with 2:18 remaining but Mersey – paced by 24 points and 9 rebounds from Myles Hesson – scored the next nine points to earn victory.

The victory leaves Mersey ninth in the standings with a 9-19 record with Cheshire on 10-17, with a game in hand over the Tigers and the tiebreaking head-to-head advantage over both Mersey and the Lions, who sit in tenth behind Mersey with an 8-19 record.

In Cheshire’s victory over Milton Keynes, Adam Brown led all scorers, recording a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists as well as pulling down 7 rebounds and grabbing 4 steals.

The game’s opening was closely fought, with the lead repeatedly changing hands before Kai Williams and Adam Brown both scored 6 Jets points in a 14-2 run that made it 48-36. A 9-0 charge in the third further extended their lead to 63-45.

Mike New’s men pulled that back to 65-56 only for Jets to go on a 13-0 charge on their way to a game-high lead of 25 points. A late Lions run of 14-2 came far too late as the Jets ran out victors.

Elsewhere, Glasgow Rocks will finish fifth in the British Basketball League this season after defeating Sheffield Sharks 83-76.

The Kelvin Hall outfit never trailed after a 10-4 run in the first quarter against their closest rivals and surged into a 41-32 half-time lead.

And with player-coach Sterling Davis extending the gap to as much as 17 in the third quarter, Glasgow – led by 18 points from Mychal Green – cruised clear before surviving a late Sharks rally.

The Rocks now travel to lowly Cheshire Jets on Sunday and Davis has challenged his players to dent Cheshire’s hopes.

The American said: “We’ve struggled against them all year, especially at their place. They’re not a bad team. But it’s good for us to have this kind of challenge. If we win, it’s going to give us a huge confidence boost.”

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