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Rossendale Raptors issue rallying call to fans in title race
10:12am Wednesday 26th February 2014 in Sport
ROSSENDALE Raptors are just three games from the Division Three North title and are hoping a bumper crowd can help roar them over the line on Saturday.
The Raptors rose to top of the table after a 102-78 victory over Tees Valley Raptors and know that three wins from their final three games will see them claim the title.
The first of those is a home clash with fellow promotion contenders Birmingham on Saturday, part of a double-header which also includes a trip to Leeds on Sunday.
The season then concludes with a home game with Leeds on Saturday week.
And the Raptors are encouraging fans to come down after annoucing the final two home games would have free admission.
Coach Ken Masser said: “It would be a great to get a bumper crowd in to support the team and hopefully we can make a little piece of history over the next two weeks.”
He added: “It’s been a roller-coaster of a year, with injuries, changes in playing personnel and a change of coach earlier in the season.
“The players have handled those problems brilliantly and have competed hard every week.
“We’ve really come together as a team and we now have a chance to do something special.
“Our goal has always been to get promoted and hopefully we can do that. Brimingham will provide a stiff test on Saturday, and Leeds are a very experienced and difficult team to beat, so we have a lot still to do. But this weekend will be the first time this season we have a full squad to choose from so hopefully that puts us in a strong position.”
There are two promotion places up for grabs and two wins guarantee Raptors promotion while three would give them the title.
The Raptors win at Tees Valley last weekend was built around a fantastic second quarter as Raptors pulled clear.
The visitors had led by just two points at the end of the first quarter but turned that 21-19 lead to a 57-36 half time advantage.
They continued to improve in the second half with Anthony Kuczaj in fine form at both ends of the floor with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
That helped Raptors secure a 102-78 success. Josh Houghton top scored with 25 points while skipper Aitor Estrada added 14. Ben Chicken and Connor Porter added 12 points each.
The victory was made more significant when title rivals Northants Thunder and Birmingham both lost on Sunday elevating Raptors from third to first at a crucial time of the season.
Saturday’s game is a 5.15pm start.
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