Basketball: Tigers the top dogs

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THE weekend's dramas could not have unravelled more to Thames Valley's benefit had their coach, Mick Bett, written the script. For the first time in their history the Tigers are the only unbeaten team in the First Division and they lead the Carlsberg League.

Friday night's 67-64 win at Worthing Bears ended the only other unbeaten record in the division. On Saturday, while Tigers were sauntering past Hemel Royals 102-83, the fading champions, Guildford Kings, were falling apart at home to unfancied Leicester City Riders 86-80.

An expulsion for an over-theatrical Guildford Kings coach, Kevin Cadle, in the final minutes allowed American Gene Waldron to take his game haul to 38 points with three free throws to seal King's second successive League defeat.

Paul James, who has regained his starting place and has far more court time under Bett, his former England colleague, opened up a 65-61 lead at Worthing, where the arena was full to its 1,200 capacity.

Bett booked a time out, anticipating Worthing cutting his lead to two points. But Bears' player- coach, Alan Cunningham, attempted a rash three-pointer off a fast break and when Tigers regained possession Kevin St Kitts secured victory from the free throw line.