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   Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 15:46 GMT
Bears bring Jets down to earth
Chester's Calvin Davis (far right) during the men's National Basketball Cup
Chester had been favourites for the win

Brighton Bears 89-79 Chester Jets

Brighton Bears caused a shock defeating the holders Chester Jets to win basketball's National Cup at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena.

It was a superb victory for the Bears, who have been rejuvenated since the arrival of coach Nick Nurse 16 months ago.

Nurse has turned the league's strugglers into a challenging side and they played some excellent team basketball to claim their first trophy since 1995.

Trailing 42-40 at half-time and without their injured captain Randy Duck, they defied the odds to claim a well-deserved 10-point success.

Wilbur Johnson did much of the damage inside with 24 points and 12 rebounds and he claimed the MVP award for his efforts.

The victory also gave coach Nurse a complete set of domestic medals.

Brighton led 21-20 after the first quarter but John McCord's five points at the start of the second quarter helped fire the Jets into a 25-24 lead.

Three three-pointers in a row - from Todd Cauthorn, Pero Cameron and Kenny Gregory - gave the Jets their biggest lead of the half (34-29).

Hard battle

But at the start of the second half, Brighton upped their game and Chester just could not respond.

Johnson worked hard inside but there were also notable contributions from Ralph Blalock, who won the MVP award in the 2001 final when playing for Leicester, Sterling Davis and Rico Alderson.

They battled hard to build up a 64-52 lead towards the end of the third quarter and, although Chester hit seven unanswered points, Brighton still remained in control.

Two three-pointers from Pero Cameron gave Chester a glimmer of hope but the Seasiders were not going to be denied.

As well as Johnson's 24 points, Blalock chipped in with 22 while John McCord was Chester's leading scorer with 28, with impressive rookie Kenny Gregory on 25.

Chester's Calvin Davis and John Thomas both disappointed - Davis, who won the MVP in last year's final, ended up with only three points while Thomas scored just two - both well below their best.

In the women's final, Rhondda Rebels made it three Cup successes in four years defeating the reigning champions Sheffield Hatters 78-73.

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12 Jan 03 | Other Sports
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