Following this week's close loss at Brightlingsea, Bulldogs looked to bounce back against
another contender, MERU, at Skyliner.
Again Bury started brightly, edging the first quarter 19-13, and while MERU benefitted from foul trouble for Lewis Tebbit, Ashley MacDonald and Sykes, Bulldogs edged further ahead, 41-34 after two.
Another nightmare third quarter saw MERU edge ahead by two points behind some strong outside shooting. Again, Bulldogs rallied to take a 63-61 lead with four minutes to play, only for MERU to respond with a run, leading by five with a minute to play. Gifted a timeout with 3.4 seconds remaining, Bulldogs had the chance to send the game to overtime, but it wasn’t to be, as the home side fell to a 68-71 loss.
Sykes (17), Tebbit (13) and Jimmy Steedman (10) led the scoring for Bulldogs.
“I think I’m allergic to losing – it makes me sick, I don’t sleep… I honestly hate losing more than I love winning.” Said Coach Arron MacDonald.
“Losing magnifies everything, and to lose two games by 11 combined points, while missing 24 free-throws, it’s sickening. It might’ve already cost us a chance to contend for the title – you can’t throw away points like that and expect to win.”
"We deserved to lose the game. MERU competed for every fifty-fifty ball like their life depended on it, and attacked the glass and the basket relentlessly as the game wore on. On the other hand, we were soft, and I don't say that lightly, because I think it's about the worst insult anybody can level at a basketball team."
"When it came down to it, we stopped executing. We stopped moving the ball. We stopped cutting. We stopped attacking the basket and began casting up jumpers, hoping for the best. We stopped putting our hands up on defence. We stopped rebounding. We stopped talking. We had a choice to make about how we played at the end of that game - and through our actions, we chose to hand over a win to our opponents. I can't ever accept that as being the way we want to represent our club."
“I hope our guys are angry, and properly motivated to respect the process that we have to work through in order to become the team that we want to be. We have to fix this, now… but if I didn’t believe that we could do it, I wouldn’t still be here.”
MacDonald reserved special praise for Captain Billy Smith saying “I’d give anything to have more guys like Billy. Here’s a veteran who’s played four games this week – three inside 24 hours – he played 40 minutes and gave us everything he had. He’s got nothing left to prove in the game of basketball, but he’s out there giving it everything. I really hope his team-mates look at that example, and follow it."