Ordinarily it would be unusual to describe their 72-58 win over Chargers in that manner, but it is the first time anyone has had any breathing room in a quite stuffy November for the men’s top flight – the three previous games had come down to one or two points.
All three title challengers are currently working around injury and unavailability, with Chargers resting big threat Martin Yabsley due to Achilles issues and LMS starting with a modest seven players before Dan Marriott left due to family commitments in the third quarter.
But having Hooper in his second match back from injury boosted LMS considerably, while teenager Saul Falla slotted in ably alongside Chargers’ big guns.
LMS were the ones charging out the blocks initially at Beau Sejour, proving so dominant on offence and defence that they led 18-2 eight minutes in.
Hooper has settled quickly into a less-mobile role – his ongoing back issues have not affected his range – and proved instrumental in that early burst, where both he and Max Hamon logged one three-pointer.
Chargers saw out the quarter solidly to trail 21-6 and then held their own in the following period as Falla and Sesay did the damage.
LMS still led 38-20 at half-time – a tough lead to overcome.
Hooper soon widened the gap with two quick three-pointers, but Chargers’ own No. 8, Sam Norris, achieved a similar feat minutes later.
LMS merely edged that quarter, leading 59-40, and looked to be fizzling out in the final stanza as Chargers cut the deficit to eight.
It was not to be, though, and LMS went on to win by a fair chunk despite conceding another couple of late threes – including Norris’ third of the match.
Sesay top-scored on 20 as Chargers teammates Falla and Norris added 13 apiece.
Hooper led LMS’ tallies with 19 but his allies chipped in nicely, with Mike Beausire contributing 15 and three others making double digits.
‘On the whole, a good game,’ winning captain Pete Beausire said.
‘We were quite dominant. We played a zone defence, which Chargers really struggled with.
‘Shek was the only one who really pushed us. Saul Falla had a good game – he is definitely one of the top three up-and-coming juniors.
‘A good night. Nice, competitive game again – just teams are struggling with injuries at the moment, so we are having to dig deep within the squads.’
In the Women’s Division, Kerri Brown was on fire as she scored 25 points for Pumas in their 75-19 beatdown of LMS Storm.
The first quarter ran comparatively tight as Pumas came through 13-7, but they hit their stride from then on to dominate the remainder.
In Division Two, Joseph Benevidez played no small part in Guernsey Expats’ 72-50 victory over Giants.
The Expats talisman racked up a hefty scoring tally of 32 – including eight three-pointers – as his team claimed their second win of the season. Josh Hamon led Giants’ scoring with 15.