Phoenix come agonisingly short of winning their first game of the season, with Celtic Red holding on 38-37. Jacob Cowan was the high scorer with 9 points for Celtic Red, whilst Cameron Jans top scored for the match with 16 for Phoenix.
Cameron Jans started the game in style quickly registering his first two points of the match, only to be matched by a 3 pointer from Celtic Red’s Joshua Gollan. The teams matched baskets for most of the first half, with neither side being able to find a rhythm early. Every time Celtic Red looked as though they might start to pull away, Phoenix were able to find an easy basket due to breakdowns in Celtic Reds defensive structures and a lack of communication. Celtic Red also missed numerous easy chances under the basket off many offensive rebounds. Phoenix did a great job of keeping themselves in the game, despite a major size differential between the two teams. Phoenix went into the half time break with a narrow 21-19 advantage.
Celtic came out in the second half firing, scoring a quick 6 points in a row and further threatening to break the game open. Celtic Red’s Tom Foley was impressive in attacking the basket and getting himself to the free throw line. This was matched by Jacob Cowan’s finishing ability around the hoop and on the offensive glass. Cameron Jans again helped Phoenix stem the flow of the game acrobatically scoring and keeping his side alive in the dying stages of the match. A huge three-pointer in the final minute of the match saw Phoenix get within a point. This led to Phoenix intentionally fouling Celtic Red and eventually causing a turnover through great pressure defence. Unfortunately for Phoenix they came up short with the final possession of the game resulting in a missed shot to put the side in front.
Celtic Red eventually escaped with a 38-37 victory and taking home the 3 points despite not bringing their best game today. Phoenix should be extremely proud of their efforts for pushing a playoff side right to the finish.