Basketball: Reinking heads off Tigers challenge with late burst

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Thames Valley Tigers did the BBL champions and leaders, Sheffield Sharks, a major favour on Saturday night by beating the second-placed Brighton Bears 112-100, but received scant thanks at Ponds Forge last night.

The Sharks, under the rookie senior coach, Peter Scantlebury, defeated the Tigers 89-74 to open up a six-point lead over Tigers and Brighton after just eight games. Quintin Bailey, with 20 points, inspired a late Tigers fightback but Nate Reinking (22 points) and fellow-guard Rob Yanders (16) shared a 10-0 run for a match-winning 83-69 lead.

The Bears' coach, Nick Nurse, who is facing a ban following his tirade against officials in the defeat at Sheffield last weekend, missed the game for family reasons. Bailey again led the scorers with 22 points for Tigers, who were untouchable after runs of 14-3 and 9-2 put them 58-42 ahead.

Problems piled up for the Leicester Riders coach, Billy Mims, at the weekend when the club's seventh defeat of the season, 116-103 at home to Newcastle Eagles, was preceded by the American Purnell Perry walking out after just two appearances.

Perry was part of the Riders' National Cup and Play-off winning side in the 2000-01 season. But on Saturday the club announced: "Perry has flown to South Korea on the instruction of his agent to pursue a lucrative offer." Riders' American Mike Pegues led all scorers with 35 points but Eagles pulled clear with a 13-2 run after they had earlier edged ahead at 72-71 when Charles Smith hit 14 points in a row.

The London Towers' coach, Robbie Peers, lost for the second time this season against his former club when Chester Jets won 92-75 at Crystal Palace. Jets opened the third quarter with a 15-4 surge on two three-pointers from Ryan Huntley and seven points from Calvin Davis, who led all scorers with 28 points.