AYLESFORD HAWKS lifted the Warwickshire Handicap Cup following a dramatic 105-101 victory over Rugby Rage in the final.
Hawks did not overhaul a 15 point handicap deficit until the last minute when they finally got their noses in front and ensured the Aylesford club kept a grip on the trophy for the fourth successive year.
Hawks started poorly and Ricky Fennell twisted an ankle on their first attack forcing him to leave the game for treatment.
Rugby took full advantage to hit the opening series of baskets but Hawks responded well.
James Adler, Simon Payne and Joel Le Bond were on target to reduce the arrears tp 55-45 at the end of the opening period.
Ricky Fennell returned at the start of the second quarter and soon found the basket as did Payne which kept Hawks in touch.
Hawks again over played the pressing defence and found themselves in team foul trouble which resulted in them trailing 77-64 at half time.
Hawks suffered a poor third period in which they managed only eight points and Rugby looked set to clinch the trophy as they led 90-72 going into the final period.
Coach Richard Curtis blasted his team and it appeared to have the desired effect as baskets from Gareth Davies and Simon Payne reduced the deficit to 95-78 after three minutes.
The game suddenly took a dramatic turn as Rugby point guard Brian Dell , who had hit 33 points, was fouled out.
Hawks switched to a full court press and man of the match Fennell took over the scoring to hit 11 points in a two minute spell without reply which cut the arrears to 97-88.
Rugby called a much needed time-out but it had no affect and another player fouled out two minutes from time to leave the visitors with just four players.
Hawks took full advantage with baskets from Payne and Fennell to maintain their stranglehold on the competition.
Simon Payne top scored with 28 points, while Ricky Fennell 26 andJoel De Lara Bond 12 offered good support.
Aylesford Basketball Club chairman John Mumford said: “Hawks put in a tremendous effort and it is a remarkable achievement for the club to win this cup four years in a row.”
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