Comets aim for heights

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The Independent Online
Colin Irish joined the Budweiser League's 6,000 Club with 25 points for Worthing on Saturday, but still could not save the Bears from a 118-95 hammering by Manchester Giants, which pushed them further away from home advantage for the play-off quarter-finals.

Irish became the fourth player to score 6,000 points, behind the all- time leader Russ Saunders, of Newcastle Comets, Thames Valley's Peter Scantlebury and his Worthing team-mate Alan Cunningham, who scored a game- high 33 points against Giants.

Saunders, the Comets' player-coach, scored 15 points in Friday's 99-84 win over Leicester City Riders, and despite Saturday's 104-92 defeat at Derby Storm, the Comets climbed to joint eighth with Thames Valley.

London Leopards scored their last nine points from the free-throw line in their 99-93 win at bottom-placed Hemel Royals, to move joint third with Giants and Birmingham Bullets behind the leaders London Towers and second-placed Sheffield Sharks.

The win gave Leopards two victories in a row following a run of three defeats, and encourages coach Billy Mims to believe the they team can hang on to third. The American said: "Last season was our first in the league and we finished sixth with 23 wins. We're still a young team and any improvement on that tells me we're moving in the right direction."

Leopards have 17 wins with 10 games to play and with five of those remaining fixtures against teams in the bottom half, Mims is aiming at least for home advantage in the best of three play-off quarter finals.

"Finishing in the top four will be a big step up for the club," he added.