HUDDERSFIELD HEAT extended their lead at the top of the vCars/co/uk Division III North Championship after two fine back-to-back victories.
First up they travelled to fifth-placed Sheffield Saints, whom they had never previously beaten and ground out a solid 79-69 win thanks to an all-round team performance.
Mark Rangeley scored seven of his side’s first 18 points in a devastating five-minute spell which virtually took the game away from the home side inside the first quarter, which ended with Heat leading 24-14.
In the second half of the contest, Heat controlled the tempo, keeping Saints at bay, and Rangeley led them home with 22 points, 13 rebounds and two assists, supported by Salva Mendez with 18 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and seven steals.
The following day Heat visited title contenders Nottingham Hoods, and clearly felt the exertions of the previous 24 hours as they started slowly and trailed Hoods at the end of the first quarter.
Veterans John Huggett and Eduardo Perez proved crucial in the second quarter as they kept Heat in touch, ensuring they finished the half level on 32 apiece.
After the break Heat found their second wind and displayed the sort of play they have become renowned for this season.
Pedro Ramirez Morales hit three 3’s in a row and Rangeley two as the Hoods were blown away in the third period giving Huddersfield a 14-point advantage to take into the last period.
And that would finish in the same difference 76-62 with Rangeley making 23 points and 13 rebounds, backed up by the impressive Morales with 17 points, and Osama Perez Choubiki with 11 points.
“These were two very tough games on the schedule and we have come away from them with our title push intact,” said player-coach Perez.
“We were tested, not only in our play, but especially our toughness and resilience.
“I’m very proud of the way the players performed and conducted themselves in the games.
“We have six games remaining, and we could not ask for more as our fate is in our own hands.”