The Colchester Gladiators Basketball team improved their record to 3-0 with a narrow win against Anglia Nomads, based in Brightlingsea, but had to dig deep after losing a ten point lead. Nomads threatened an upset late in the game and took a 72-69 lead but Joe Jamito hit a free throw and Dan Vilkys scored two to tie the game at 72 before the Nomads missed six free throws setting up Rhett Burton to edge the Gladiators in front at the death to seal the nail biting win.
Dan Vilkys again led the team in scoring with 28 points but valuable contributions from Richard Ese and Zydrunas Valancius (17 apiece) appeared to steer the Gladiators towards a routine victory with an eight point advantage going in to the final period. But a 14-2 run midway through the quarter turned the game on its head before Burtonâ€™s game winning throw.
The Gladiatorsâ€™ Richard Ese opened the scoring but a 6-0 run by the Nomads quelled any early confidence and set the stage for a close battle. Vilkys got on the score sheet, sinking six straight points and Valancius scored the final two points of the quarter to give the Gladiators a slender four point lead.
Ese and Jamito dominated the scoring in the second period but the Gladiators could not shake off a gallant Nomad team who grew in confidence as the game went on. The Gladiators extended their lead to 13 points but the Nomads finished the first half stronger, enjoying a 9-1 run and scoring the final four points to reach the break down by just five.
Their good form continued in the third quarter and they tied the game at 36 but Vilkys and Valancius combined for 10 straight points entering the final period.
If the Gladiators thought the game was won, they were mistaken and the Nomads showed great resolve to drag themselves back in to it. The mid-quarter surge found them in front before Burtonâ€™s game winner seconds from the end.
The Gladiators now top Suffolk League Division Two with a perfect 3-0 record and host Deben Jutes this week at Colchester Academy Sports Centre.