Jets fly to Wembley

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The Independent Online
Basketball

Chester Jets capped the finest season in their history to defeat play- off title-holders Birmingham Bullets 81-78 at the National Indoor Arena last night to reach the Budweiser League Championship finals at Wembley for the first time. The Jets clinched the quarter-final series 2-1 in a tense climax in front of over 3,000 Birmingham fans.

Chester's Billy Singleton, the top scorer with 26 points, was fouled scoring a basket and then made the bonus free throw for a 77-74 lead with 49 seconds to play. Birmingham's Nigel Lloyd missed two three-point attempts and when Matt Meakin rebounded the second, he was fouled. Meakin calmly scored another two frees to open a five-point Chester lead.

Lloyd scored an uncontested lay-up, but when Singleton was fouled again he scored another two free throws for an 81-76 lead with nine seconds left. Chester allowed Lloyd another clear run to basket knowing there was insufficient time for the Bullets to score again.

The Leopards and Sheffield Sharks have already qualified for the finals on 3 and 4 May and will be joined by either London Towers or Newcastle Eagles who settle their series tomorrow.

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