Basketball: Voise and Winters inspire North success

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The Independent Online
The top 24 players in the Budweiser League, as selected by their club coaches, could have been excused for staying in cruise control at the Sheffield Arena last night, where the North beat the South 162-148 in the League's annual all-star game.

Eleven of the men on court play for the four clubs still contesting the League title, and the representatives from London Towers and Birmingham Bullets face three more games in the next six days.

Instead, the first three quarters of showboating, slam dunking and three- point blitzing was whipped up into a genuinely competititive fourth, as Voise Winters and Leon McGee inspired the North to break a three year winning run by the South.

Birmingham's Nick Nurse, coaching the South for the second season, saw his club's title chances boosted when the leaders, the Leopards, lost at home to Chester Jets on Sunday and had Nigel Lloyd and Tony Dorsey playing at Sheffield last night. Watching them warm up, Nurse said: "In some ways, it's not the ideal start to a big week. Tony and Nigel can loosen up and relax a little, then we must concentrate on the real job." Birmingham are at Newcastle Eagles tomorrow, at home to Leopards on Saturday and travel to Chester on Sunday in a schedule that might even earn Alex Ferguson's sympathy.

The Towers, who had Karl Brown, Danny Lewis and Tony Windless in the South team, travel to Manchester Giants tomorrow, Leicester Riders on Saturday and host Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Last night's half time score, when the South led 73-72, eclipsed several Towers' full time scores this season. Nurse's worst moment came when Dorsey's first-half dunk dragged down the basket support and he barely escaped being pinned to the floor along with Sheffield's Winters and the referee, Alan Richardson.

When Leicester's McGee got on the score sheet with the game's 15th three- pointer in the first minue of the second half all 24 players had scored.