Basketball: Kings back to earth with promise: Panthers need to be wary of the European first-leg winners

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The Independent Online
IF Doncaster Panthers, newly-promoted to the Budweiser Premier League, hope to find Guildford Kings distracted by dreams of Europe when they meet them at the Spectrum Arena tomorrow, they face a rude awakening.

'We need a tough game and we'll play hard,' Kevin Cadle, the Kings coach, said after his team's 86-78 home leg win over Israel's Hapoel Galil Elyon in the second round of the European Clubs' Championship at the Spectrum on Thursday night. THe return is next Thursday in Israel.

Guildford trailed 51-43 after the first play of the second period, but they then held Galil to only four further field baskets for the rest of the half as 17 of their points came from the free-throw line.

When Guildford led 86-74 with a minute to play they had effected a 20-point turnaround against the club who ended Maccabi Tel Aviv's 24-year reign as Israeli champions.

Guildford suffered in the first half through not having played a competetive game since the opening day of the season two weeks ago, Derby Bucks having postponed the league game scheduled for last Saturday.

Martin Henlan, the 6ft 10in England and GB international, said: 'We had a scrimmage with Crystal Palace (a First Division club) but it's a big step up to go from that to facing the Israeli champions.'

Henlan's rebounds and powerful inside play alongside Tracy Pearson, who finished with 27 points, and Carl Miller turned the game.

While Guildford play only their second league game of the season tomorrow, Derby play their fourth at home to Chester tonight after taking over the leadership with Wednesday night's 84-77 win at Leicester. Sunderland look for their fourth win out of five at home to Hemel tonight.