Around The EBL - Week 8 - Hoopsfix.com

Around The EBL – Week 8

EBL Division 1

Leeds Carnegie Basketball lost their EBL Division 1 clash 61-72 on Saturday night against the reigning Champions Reading Rockets, who were without influential guard Gabriel Diaz-Morera due to an ankle injury that has forced him to miss 4-6 weeks.

Carnegie started the stronger of the two teams, registering their first 10 points without reply from the champs. The Rockets, however, gained their composure and quickly responded taking a 4 point lead by the end of the first period.

Both teams focused their efforts on the defensive end in the second quarter.  With Reading scoring 13 points to Carnegie’s 14. This gave the Rockets a slim 1 point lead at the half time break.

The third quarter started with a reemphasis on the offensive end as Carnegie looked to go inside to score their points.  The Rockets had the slight advantage in the period opening their lead out to 3 points.

Eventually, with fatigue setting in for both the sides the final quarter became a tough battle to snatch the victory.  Carnegie, however, were undone by some intelligent play at both ends from Reading as they secured the away win 61-72.

Carnegie’s scoring was led by Rowell Graham-Bell with 21 points and 17 rebounds, whilst Armand Anebo put up 16 points and 14 rebounds. Reading were led by Josh Wilcher with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Carnegie are currently suffering from an injury hit squad. They were without Croatian duo Branimir Mikulic and Ilija Ivankovic, as well as shooting guard Dwayne Camille and academy player Daniel Evans. The team are hoping to announce a new signing in the next few days to bolster their squad for the season ahead.

Next up for Leeds is their final National Trophy group game against Newham Neptunes at 7:30pm on Saturday. The result of this game will determine who Carnegie will face in the quarter-finals in January.

The Newham (NASSA) Neptunes kept their unbeaten season alive with an 82-64 victory over Team Northumbria despite 26 points from TN guard Jack Preston, who has returned from a year in the US.

On Saturday, the Neptunes led 15-13 at the end of the first period before stretched out to a huge 20 point lead at the half after a 27-9 second quarter. Team Northumbria had the better of the third period but Newham’s lead was too much to break down. Brandon McGill scored 21 for Newham in the win.

Another unbeaten team is fellow D1 newboys the Manchester Magic after they took down the Tees Valley Mohawks 83-78, stifling a final quarter comeback.

Lohfink led the way for Magic with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Ward had 16 points and eight assists, Gordon scored 15 points and Schall chalked up 10 points and 12 rebounds. For Tees Valley, Greven and Ebanks finished with 24 points each.

“I thought the game was done, but then out Greven comes and hits two straight threes, which brought them back in the game,” said Magic Coach Paul Middleton after the game, talking to Graeme Roberts.

“Tees Valley are talented and they’ll win a lot of games this year, so I think it’s a good win against that type of team.”

Middleton also had praise for 1996 born Pharroh Gordon, who has been named in the England U18 preliminary squad after suiting up for the U17 Development programme last year.

“That was Pharroh’s most consistent performance this season. He looked like a senior player tonight. He didn’t look like a junior being given a chance. I’m very pleased with him.”

The Bristol Academy Flyers recorded their first win of the new season with a 65-69 victory against the Worthing Thunder. Spencer Wells scored 19 for Bristol to lead all scorers and Tom Ward led Thunder with 14.

“We struggled to get into any rhythm, maybe due to the unscheduled weekend off,” Worthing coach Daniel Hildreth said. “Unfortunately, inconsistencies with our offensive execution continued in the second half before we made our push in the fourth.”

The two other unbeaten teams in the league are the Hemel Storm and the Essex Leopards who both picked up victories this weekend.

Hemel took down the Westminster Warriors 90-54, with Bode Adeluola leading all scorers with 21, while Walid Mumuni added 19.

Essex travelled away to the Leicester Warriors, who are yet to win a game this season. and currently find themselves bottom of the division with a 0-4 record. The Warriors top 3 scorers combined for 49/60 of the teams points, but it wasn’t enough as the Leopards picked up the 60-78 win.

The Bradford Dragons put on an impressive performance at the weekend to secure their second victory of the regular season campaign, as they defeated the high-flying league champions the Reading Rockets at home.

The Dragons got out to an impressive start, led by American centre Chris McGrew as he took charge close to the basket scoring at will before large team contributions lead to a 38-28 half time lead. Richard Sulcs, recently transferred back to the Dragons from East Midlands side the Leicester Warriors showed his ability to lead the break as he poured in 14 fast break points and as the fast flowing basketball continued, it played in favour of the Dragons as they recorded the 84-65 victory.

Josh Wilcher led all scorers with 27 for the Rockets, while Dan Foley led the Dragons with 19 points, Chris McGrew had 15 and Richard Sulcs 14.

The Manchester Magic picked up their second win of the weekend taking down the Leicester Warriors with a 67-72 victory, Ryan Lohfink again leading the Magic, while the Westminster Warriors won on Sunday at home to the Worthing Thunder 83-73.

EBL Division 2

LSBU Brixton Topcats retained their spot at the top of EBL Division 2 following a 56-72 win over London United stretching them out to a 4-0 record. The recently relegated team will be looking to keep up this form throughout the season and regain their Division 1 status. Vytenis Petkus is ever present for the Topcats and led the scoring with 19.

Loughborough Student Riders occupy second place in the league standings with a 4-2 record after they picked up back to back wins this weekend, first travelling to the Mansfield Giants to get the 72-93 win, with Angelakos leading all scorers with 26. The next day they hosted the Eastside Eagles and grabbed the 78-62 win, Jerelle Okoro leading the scoring this time around, with 22.

A close game played out between the Eastside Eagles and the Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows. Akin Lisk-Carew was very impressive for the Arrows, scoring 27 points while Lukas Volskis controlled things for the Eagles contributing 20 points to lead them to a 77-76 win. Both teams now sit second bottom of the table with a 1-3 record.

Ipswich Basketball have described their game against London Westside on Saturday as the “most exciting home game in years”.

A shaky start by the home team meant that London jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, but two solid offences in a row got them back into the game.  But in what would turn out to be the pattern for much of the first three quarters, London executed flawlessly on offence, pulling out to a 13-6 lead, and Ipswich taking a time out to try to steady the ship.

Following the time out, Ipswich fought back strongly, and with a minute to go in the first period they had reduced the arrears to 18-14.  Moments later, a huge 3 pointer by Aaron Moseley took Ipswich into their first lead of the game, but a London basket at the death saw the teams tied at 20-20 at the end of the first period.

The second period began with the teams trading blows like two prize fighters.  Both teams were playing excellent defence, and were forcing each other to execute on Offence, neither team was giving away easy baskets.  With 3 minutes of the 2nd period gone the score remained tied at 27-27, but then London found an edge for a short burst, and poured on a 9-0 run.  Ipswich were staying with them, but could not seem to cut into the lead, and the first half drew to a close with London up by 10 points, 47-37.

The 3rd quarter began, and London’s experience at this level was really starting to show.  The game was tough, but London’s ability to remain calm and continue to execute their offensive plays was proving to be a major thorn in Ipswich’s side.  They were gradually edging further into the lead, and even with big plays being made by the home team, the visitors remained unfazed. Even a huge rejection by Ipswich Centre Leigh Greenan, which got the entire crowd to their feet, failed to slow London down, and they were cruising out to a 15 point lead with little time in the period left.

The fightback began immediately, with Tom Sadler hitting a massive 3 pointer.  Ipswich were pressing hard on defence, pressuring London’s every move, and were making them turn the ball over, miss shots, and make silly mistakes.  Another 3 pointer by Sadler caused the gym to erupt, and the lead was suddenly down to only 4.

With 3 minutes remaining the onslaught continued, and Ipswich tied the game at 75-75, to the absolute delight of the crowd.  Within a minute Ipswich then had only their second lead of the match, they were up 79-76 and London must have wondered where this new Ipswich team who came out for the 4th period had come from. The teams then traded free throws, and following a massive dunk from Leigh Greenan, Ipswich held a slender 84-81 lead with seconds remaining.

The most exciting home game in years was not over yet though, and as the clock wound down, the visitors, who had effectively dominated the game for 3 quarters, hit a huge 3 pointer on the buzzer to send the game into Overtime.

Ipswich put together a 7-0 run straight away in the additional period, and didn’t look back.  Josh Johnson in particular seemed to have the visitors terrified, as they didn’t seem to know what to do with his constant attack of the basket.  Ipswich completely controlled the clock, and wound up winning the game of the season so far by a 10 point margin, 99-89, to the delight of the home crowd, who gave their team a rousing, standing ovation at the games end.

EBL Division 3

Northern Conference

Some big team and individual performances shook up D3 North this weekend.

The Birmingham Mets suffered their first defeat of the season against local rivals the Birmingham A’s. They didn’t go down without a fight though as it went all the way to overtime to decide the winner as the A’s picked up the 81-82 victory.

Jason Swaine has been playing incredibly well so far this season, and shone above the rest again this weekend, as the veteran ex-England international guard racked up 42 points for Leeds Carnegie II as they won away at the Sheffield Sabres 93-104 to occupy an early playoff spot. After 6 games Jason Swaine is averaging 26.5 ppg.

There was a big win for the Sefton Stars as they travelled to the Sheffield Saints and picked up the 52-79 victory, while 33 points from Steven Gayle led the Rossendale Raptors to a 67-69 away win against the Nottingham Hoods who are now 0-6 for the season and find themselves languishing at the bottom of the conference.

Stockport Falcons entertained Derby Trailblazers II at Stockport Ball Hall, looking to extend their recent hot streak.

Stockport began the game at a quick pace, looking to impose their personality on a struggling Trailblazers side. Oliver Parr knocked down a three point shot to compliment the inside work of forward Daniel Pilkington as the Falcons ended the quarter up by ten.

However, the Stockport offence would grind to a screeching halt in the second quarter, as the hosts struggled to get the scoreboard ticking over. Paired with an improved offensive showing from Derby, this added up to a four point deficit for the hosts at half time, Derby winning the period by a 21-7 margin.

Upset with their own level of effort to end the first half, Stockport emerged from the changing room with an improved intensity, looking to restore their lead. All the hosts scoring would come from inside or the freethrow line, as they endeavoured to get quality shots, but Derby would shade the period by three to lead by 7 going into the final quarter.

With the game on the line, the hosts would rediscover their identity, using an aggressive defence to fuel the offence. Guards Paul Cantwell and Josh Houghton found the bottom of net with some timely three point shots, and Stockport were able to get to the line with greater frequency to turn the scoreboard on its head. Derby failed with a number of crucial freethrows of their own in crunch time, allowing their hosts to control the game clock.

As Stockport ultimately collected the 75-68 victory, a memorable moment was witnessed as the entire Ball Hall would rise to welcome life long Falcons player Neil Wilson into the game for his first action in a year after knee surgery. Josh Houghton again led the Falcons in scoring, complimented by a double-double effort from Daniel Pilkington, with Paul Cantwell recovering from a pedestrian first half to make a major contribution.

Southern Conference

Barking Abbey saw themselves drop to third place in the Division 3 South league table, after suffering a 104-62 defeat at the hands of Canary Wharf London Lituanica on Saturday, at Barking Abbey Leisure Centre.

The older and experienced Lituanica side proved too strong for BA, as they shot 61.5% from the field and 55% from three (11/20), never allowing BA to get within striking distance.

“Today has been a good teaching lesson for us, to refocus our priorities in practice for during the week,” said Head Coach Lloyd Gardner after the game, who saw his team record fall to 4-2 on the season.

“We got beaten by a good team, who shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter, and we just have to make sure we play for a full 40 minutes of intensity, without letting the scoreboard affect us at points during the game.”

There were wins elsewhere for the newly promoted Bracknell Cobras as they defeated the Cardiff Met Archers 89-98, and the London Greenhouse Pioneers defeated the Solent kestrels 68-79.

Last year’s playoff champions Plymouth Marjon made hard work of Oxford Hoops before picking up the 77-81 victory, while the London Phoenicians picked up a solid home win over Team Solent, with all of the starting five hitting double digits.

EBL Division 4

Northern Conference

There was a huge upset this weekend in the North as the Hull Wasps lost 101-105 to the Newcastle Eagles II.

The Eagles soared ahead in the first two minutes, scoring a quick and easy 6 points before the Wasps kicked in with Matt Macart nailing a three-pointer and Manuel Guzman following up with three points of his own. A number of fouls on the Eagles’ part allowed the Wasps to inch ahead with some three-throw points, and the quarter finished at a promising 25-20 to the Hull Wasps.

The second quarter was again evenly played as Slasor and Tipper of the Newcastle Eagles and John Stewart and Jack Daley of the Wasps dominated their respective sides.  However, the Eagles managed to fight back with some strong offensive play to grasp a 2-point lead in the last few seconds of the quarter. 48-50

The Wasps again fought back in the opening minutes of the third quarter, briefly gaining a 10-point lead before the Eagles took advantage of a weakened defense and clawed their way back into the game, with Coach Craige and Hannam driving their team forward to 75-79 lead.

The final 10 minutes were nerve-wracking and tense for the fans as the Wasps gained the upper hand once again. However as the minutes ticked by the Wasps lost their grip on the lead and relinquished control of the quarter. The last two minutes saw a frantic attempt on each side to grasp the win, with the Wasps’ valiant efforts at strategic play gaining them valuable points into the last few seconds. However, a number of fouls awarded the Newcastle Eagles some much-needed free-throw shots and allowed them to snatch a four point victory over a bitterly disappointed Wasps team.

Coach Matt Fawcett commented, “Obviously we didnt have the best weekend, to say we underachieved would be an understatement. However I believe that there are lessons to be learnt and things to improve. Credit to Newcastle they played extremley well.

“We now have to make sure we take wins from the next 3 games and head into christmas with a 6-3 record. It is still too early to hit the panic button and I know our best basketball is ahead of us. We will keep working and take it one game at a time.”

The Durham Wildcats II picked up the 72-52 win against Leeds Allerton High Carnegie before the Mersey Tigers inflicted a horrific defeat on the Teeside Lions with Raheem May Thompson scoring 43 points in the 121-54 demolition job victory. Pontes scored 36 out of the Lions 54 points.

Midlands Conference
Joshua Dos Santos scored 31 points to help the NULC Knights defeat the Shropshire Warriors 97-50 to go top of the conference with a 5-0 record, while the Leicester Warriors II defeated the Loughborough Student Riders II 77-48. A win for the Bromsgrove Bears 54-68 over the Sporting Club Albion sees them sit second with a 4-0 record.

South Eastern Conference
BC Medelynas London continued their dominance of the league with a 77-94 win over the Brentwood Fire on Saturday before defeating the Greenwich Titans the next day by 80-92 with Ignas Juknevicius scoring 31 points to take their record to 6-0 for the season, while the Greenwich titans recorded a 51-57 away victory over the College of West Anglia Fury the previous day.

The Ware Rebels are challenging at the top with a 6-1 record after defeating the Medway Park Crusaders II by 57-50 and the Cambridge Cats grabbed a dominant 98-50 victory over the Maidstone Warriors.

The other wins in the conference came for the Peckham Pride and the London Westside II.

Midlands South West Conference
Oxford Brookes are making their intentions very clear so far this season, now holding a 7-0 record after the 78-62 win over the Southampton Uni Sharks, while chasing close behind are the Milton Keynes Mustangs who picked up the 70-85 away win at the Swindon Shock.

Woking Blackhawk Flyers find themselves wallowing at the bottom of the conference following a 61-89 defeat to the Bristol Academy Flyers II, and the Hertfordshire Warriors grabbed the 67-86 win over the Bristol Storm, while Cardiff City secured a 75-69 victory over Middlesex LTBC.

National Shield 3rd Round

Barking Abbey 59-60 Oxford Brookes

Birmingham Mets 79-81 NULC Knights

Birmingham Mets II 63-79 Milton Keynes Mustangs

Gateshead Phoenix 57-79 Stockport Falcons

Bracknell Cobras 73-71 London Greenhouse Pioneers

Team Solent 85-97 Canary Wharf London Lituanica

Plymouth Majon 73-60 Bristol Academy Flyers II

Hull Wasps 98-100 Rossendale Raptors

Thoughts? Did you get to any games?

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