Basketball: Kings facing premature end to season

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The Independent Online
BIRMINGHAM Bullets will seal Guildford's worst season for five years tonight if they beat them at the Spectrum to put the Kings out of the Carlsberg Championship play-offs, writes Duncan Hooper.

Guildford lost 92-86 on Sunday night at Aston Villa in the first of their best-of-three series in the quarter-finals and now they must beat Birmingham tonight and again on Saturday, also at the Spectrum, to reach the championship weekend at Wembley Arena on 1 and 2 May.

Twice in the last three seasons Guildford have won all four domestic titles, while in 1990-91 they won the League, play-offs and NatWest Trophy with only the National Cup eluding them. In 1988-89 the franchise moved to Glasgow, but they still won the play-offs and League title.

This season, Guildford retained the National Cup, but lost to Thames Valley Tigers in the NatWest final. Worthing Bears won the League championship, with Guildford finishing a poor fourth in the First Division.

Thames Valley will book a Wembley place tonight if they beat Oldham at Bracknell, after Saturday's 112-85 win at the Celtics. London Towers, who won 95-93 after overtime at Derby on Saturday, are at home in their second game tomorrow. Worthing won 84-63 at Leicester and will reach the finals with a second win, at home on Saturday.