CHESHIRE PHOENIX avoided an upset in the British Basketball League Trophy as they overcame a spirited Team Solent Kestrels side 86-75 at Ellesmere Port Sports Village.

Nix coach Ben Thomas had warned his side not to underestimate their lower league rivals in the first round clash, and the visitors lived up to their billing as dangerous opposition.

The EBL Division One side matched the hosts in the first period, but trailed 20-17 heading into the second.

That three-point deficit was overturned when Solent took the lead in the second and held on to a 39-38 advantage at the midway point.

The Nix steadily reasserted themselves in the contest with top scorers Daniel Norl (20 points), Sol Rolls-Tyson (17 points) and Momcilo Latinovic (17 points) helping to turn the tide in the third period.

The Kestrels’ top-scoring duo of Herm Senor II (24 points) and Travis Charles (22 points)failed to inspire a comeback as their side’s three-point shooting accuracy dropped to 21 per cent late in the contest.

Victory earned the Nix a quarter-final tie at Championship rivals London Lions.