Chester Jets and London Towers survived two fraught semi final second legs last night to meet at Birmingham's NEC on 2 March in the Seven-Up League Trophy Final.
Jets reached their first final with 93-92 victory over Leicester City Riders at Gramby Halls, helped by the decision by thehome coach, Bob Donewald, to omit their American playmaker, Leon McGee, as punishment for a dispute over the recent defeat against Birmingham Bullets.
The Jets won 185-180 on aggregate but the result was in doubt until the final 20 seconds when Nate Reinking missed two three point attempts.
The holders London, trailing 75-74 from the first leg, were level 62- 62 with five minutes to go with Sheffield Sharks at Wembley, until an 11-0 run swept them to the final with an 80-71 victory and an 154-146 aggregate.
Leicester led for the first time on the night at 21-20 on Abe Ahmed's three-point play which closed the first quarter. Nate Reinking opened the second quarter with a three-pointer and, when his Riders team-mate Drew Barrett followed up with a three-point play, Leicester led by three points on aggregate.
As Leicester's back court slipped into foul trouble, with Gene Waldron and Mo Ballard on four early in the second half, Billy Singleton capped an eight-point run to open a 65-55 lead only for the Riders to put the game back on the wire with three three-pointers.
Reinking's triple put Leicester 92-88 ahead to tie the scores on aggregate but, with 50 seconds left and Chester two up on aggregate, Waldron fouled out to join Ballard on the bench.
Saunders tied the scores on the night with a jump shot and, when Reinking missed two three-point attempts, Chester saw out the final seconds before Hilary Scott hit the final point from the free-throw line.Reuse content