The top two teams in Scotland meet at Pleasance on Saturday evening as City of Edinburgh Kings host the Rocks in the BBL Trophy first round.
The Kings won the Scottish League last season, but found Rocks too tough when the sides met in the BBL Cup first round with Sterling Davis’ team running out 78-60 winners. This will be the third competitive meeting between the two sides, with Rocks having won 103-59 when the sides met in the 2007 BBL Trophy group stages.
Kings went into the Christmas break sitting second in the Scottish league having lost only once in their opening 11 games. Their only loss came in a 95-72 defeat at unbeaten league leaders Clark Eriksson Fury, and those wins have come by an impressive average of 26 points per game. They are also through to the Scottish Cup final after hammering Fury in the semi-final and when they will meet Glasgow University in the title game next month they will go into the game as hot favourites.
Meanwhile, the Rocks are joint fifth in the BBL Championship table with a 9-7 record, and will be looking to set up a quarter-final meeting with One Health Sharks Sheffield with a win.
Kings’ coach Doug Reilly, who has extensive experience with the Scottish national teams, knows what to expect when his side face Rocks: “We have seen the Rocks a couple of times, once with Keiron Achara and once without and they played well on both occasions.
“As ever EJ Harrison, Gareth Murray and Sterling will be important as will Donald Robinson who has been a strong addition this season.”
Reilly is looking forward to his club’s third entry into a BBL competition: “As per last year, we are delighted to have been invited by the BBL to play in one of their competitions and are relishing the opportunity to test ourselves against this year.”
Rocks’ player-coach Sterling Davis isn’t taking the Kings lightly: “The Kings are a well versed team who really have some talented guys that could make an impact in the BBL.”
With the final of the BBL Trophy being staged at Rocks’ Emirates Arena, Davis is keen for his side to succeed in the competition: “It’s as important as any other opportunity to win silverware. We have to cherish the opportunity to possibly play a final on our home floor.”
The winner of the tie travels to One Health Sharks Sheffield in the quarter-final.