Basketball: Jones rewarded for Derby's run

DERBY STORMS' impressive list of scalps during March has earned Jeff Jones the coach of the month Award for lifting his team into contention for the Budweiser League play-off quarter-finals.

Jones, a 43-year-old former England international who won a championship medal with Manchester Giants, left Derby last summer but rescued their season when he replaced Steve Tucker in January.

The players immediately responded by beating London Towers and in the past month they have beaten four of the top five teams, including Greater London Leopards and Birmingham Bullets, who will settle the League title this weekend.

Thames Valley Tigers' American forward, John McCord, won the player of the month award to add to the MVP titles he won in the Cup final and the All Star game.

The Tigers coach, Paul James, said: "John thoroughly deserves it. He's played hard all season in practice and in competition and he's a great leader."

Sheffield Sharks beat Manchester Giants 96-93 on Wednesday to guarantee a top-four finish and home advantage in the play-off quarter-finals.

The title should be decided in Sunday's final round of fixtures when Bullets visit Towers and the Sharks host the Leopards.

But Birmingham must beat Manchester tonight at the NEC to push the Leopards to the limit in their title defence.

The Bullets coach, Mike Finger, said: "Giants are still battling to get into the play-offs and there are a lot of areas where they threaten us."

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