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Caledonia Gladiators win Silverware in Dramatic Fashion

It could not have been scripted any better: After trailing for a majority of the game, Caledonia Gladiators secured the club's first silverware in two decades by coming back to beat a resilient Cheshire Phoenix squad 73-70 on the final buzzer in front of a sellout home crowd at Glasgow's Emirates Arena. The visitors had imposed their defensive-minded style of play on the contest for most of the first half and a Will Neighbour three from the top of the key had them go up by five points with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. 

Sloan Things Down for a Moment

But the timely three-point shooting that had helped the hosts to stay in the game and never trail by more than seven points was about to come through in the clutch once again. A long-range bomb and an open layup on a cut by Prince Onwas tied the score at 70 apiece. After a strong defensive stance by Caledonia that forced Phoenix big Tahjai Teague to airball his attempt from beyond the arc, it was time for what will go down into Gladiators history as the David Sloan Moment: the former East Tennessee state playmaker drove to the hoop, dished the ball back out to Onwas through traffic, spotted up in the left corner and waited for his teammate to find him again. He then calmly knocked down the biggest shot of his career to date and it had everything: perfect release, perfect arc, perfect rotation and perfect timing. 6,000 people in Emirates - Sloan included - knew the shot was good from the moment it left his right hand. 

Team Performance

Despite Sloan's last second heroics and Jeremiah Bailey being awarded Final MVP with his 16/8/4 statline, it was a team effort that brought the 2023 BBL Trophy to Scotland's shores. Five Gladiators scored in double figures and Head Coach Gareth Murray found offensive output and defensive contributions in many sources so that the pesky Cheshire defense could never key in on one or two targets. 

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