Basketball: Jets fly high on Peers' Chester return

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The Independent Online

After a close season of bravado, promise and expectations, reality bit when the 17th British Basketball League season tipped off at the weekend ­ and nowhere more so than at the London Towers.

The new-look Towers side assembled by their new coach, Robbie Peers, lost 92-81 at home on Saturday to the Newcastle Eagles, then fell 84-77 last night away to the Chester Jets ­ the team Peers had led to six titles over the past five seasons.

Peers' success was based on his recruiting powers and he retained only Robert Youngblood from last season's Towers' side. But it was the familiar faces of Newcastle's Jeremy Hyatt, Charles Smith and T J Walker, as well as the former Leicester Rider, Mo Robinson, who impressed most on Saturday.

They pressured the Towers into a series of turnovers to take a 24-18 first-quarter lead which they never surrendered. Hyatt led Newcastle's scorers with 25 points, one more than the Towers' 6ft 9in John Whorton, who also had 11 rebounds.

Peers confronted even more familiar faces at Chester: Billy Singleton, 23 points, John McCord, 18, and James Hamilton, 15, had all played for Peers at the Jets, who last night outscored the Towers 16-2 for a 59-34 third-quarter lead. The Towers' late fightback produced a 14-1 run to cut the Jets' lead to 79-73 before the home side pushed on for the victory.

The Sheffield Sharks and the Brighton Bears both won twice. Sheffield, the champions, beat Newcastle 102-93 on Friday and the Milton Keynes Lions 75-60 on Saturday, while Brighton beat the Thames Valley Tigers 98-74, then the Lions 84-73.