Kendal Warriors 73
Carlisle Panthers 64
Northern League

AFTER the rigours of their National Founders Cup exit, a weary Kendal Warriors welcomed back Tom Withnell before edging a tight encounter against Carlisle Panthers.

Unsurprisingly Kendal started in a sluggish fashion with the visitors taking an early lead, although the hosts responded through Withnell, Mathias Basedow and Gareth France.

The trio added some much-needed points to establish a 23-18 advantage at the end of the first quarter, a lead Carlisle would not recover from.

Kendal pushed on in the second period as the Warriors, pressurising the Carlisle guards into numerous turnovers with Kon Arfanis and Mike Smith continuing to rack up points.

However, both the Kendal post players, Smith and Keith McInnes, were withdrawn to avoid any further fouls, although there were no serious repercussions as Kendal led 41-30 at the halfway stage.

The home side started the third quarter positively, Phil Mason picking up numerous fast break points with McInness moving his side 21 points ahead after scoring from an end line play.

Fouls by post players again left Kendal short in this area, with the hosts giving possession away cheaply and losing all momentum in the game.

Spurred on by Kendal’s inability to score, the Panthers set about reducing their deficit and pulled ten points back by the end of the quarter to make the scoreline 56-45.

Carlisle scored quickly at the start of the fourth quarter, dragging themselves back into the game by making further inroads into the Kendal lead.

Only seven points ahead, France and Basedow responded for the Warriors, finding their outside shooting range to steady the ship.

Mason, Arfanis and France also hit free throws to stretch their advantage and navigate what could have proven a difficult finale to the match, running out 73-64 winners.

G France 26, M Basedow 14, P Mason 13, M Smith 7, T Withnell 6, K McInnes 4, K Arfanis 3, R Littlewood 0