Basketball: Changing guard at the Palace

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The Independent Online
Crystal Palace's young and inexperienced line-up held their nerve to defeat Derby Storm 90-86 on Saturday night and hang on for their first Budweiser League victory of the season.

Derby's DeRon Rutledge scored 14 seconds from time to cut Palace's lead to 98-86 and put the Storm within a three-point shot of forcing overtime, until Wayne Henry stepped up to make the game safe with a single free throw.

This season's task was made all the harder for the new coach, Graham Hill, and his assistant, Royal Packham, when three of last season's leading English players, Richard Scantlebury, Jason Crump and Adrian Cummings, moved on.

But even signing four new Americans has left room for Palace's traditional strength in developing home-grown talent to bear fruit.

Palace's win left Watford Royals as the only team without a victory. After sacking Dana Beszczynski last week, club director and stand-in coach Vince Razaq could not end a run of seven defeats with the 84-56 loss against Manchester Giants.

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