A strong final quarter helped Melton Kings C overcome Ashby B after a hit and miss performance at John Ferneley College.
With Ashby’s C team having already won in Melton, the visitors arrived in confident mood and controlling the early play as the sluggish hosts turned the ball over.
Strong Ashby defence hurried Kings into mistakes with Norton the main beneficiary, scoring nine of 12 free throws in the game as the hosts struggled to contain his fast breaks.
Preston added five points, including a three-pointer as the visitors raced into a 12-2 lead after six minutes with Mark Reynolds claiming Melton’s sole reply.
A Kings time-out to find some control seemed to work as their big men got to work. Peter Birley scored two from inside the paint, followed by two from Timon Rumbold, while the defence also woke up and restricted Ashby to two scoring chances as the quarter finished 18-6.
After some harsh words during the break an invigorated Kings hit back to win the second quarter 14-1 and take a 22-17 lead.
Strong hustle defence stopped Ashby from scoring while six quick points from Reynolds and Paul Hodgkinson’s three-pointer turned the game around, and a strong finish gave Kings a 22-17 lead at half-time.
After a scoreless first three minutes of the second half, another Hodgkinson’s three-pointer broke the deadlock.
But Ashby regained their offensive co-ordination and went on an 8-0 run, led by Preston, and after seven minutes, Ashby had levelled at 25 points apiece.
Kings’ only answer was a three-point play from Reynolds, but Fletcher’s three-pointer from Fletcher and single free throw saw Ashby end the quarter 29-28 ahead.
But Melton went on the rampage in the final quarter, more than doubling their entire points tally from the rest of the match.
Kings edged to a two-point lead at 35-33 as Rumbold claimed four hard-won inside points.
Melton stepped up their defence, while at the other end of the court, their offence found their groove, going on an 11-0 run with Zee Tamosiunas making strong successful drives.
Norton replied with a single free throw, but the Kings now led 46-34. Ashby changed their defence to man-to-man to curtail the scoring, but the hosts passed well to break the defence and create scoring chances.
Sam Cleall and Tanguy Whenham-Bossy benefited with clever moves to the basket as Kings extended their lead to 55-34.
In the final minute, Ashby regained some offensive composure with four points, but Melton added three of their own to finish comfortable 58-38 winners.
Melton are next in action at John Ferneley College against Gateway B on Monday, December 5 (7.45pm).
Kings scorers: M. Reynolds 21, P. Hodgkinson 18, T. Rumbold 7, Z. Tamosiunas 4, P. Birley 4, T. Whenham-Bossy 2, S. Cleall 2.