- National Teams
This weekend the EBL regular season took a back seat to the EBL Cup Finals, however, the teams still in action gave us some of the games of the season, with some incredible individual performances.
Manchester Magic pushed themselves back up toward the top spots in Division 1 with a hard-fought away win over the Bristol Academy Flyers.
Bristol were buoyed by their back to back wins last weekend which moved them clear of the bottom teams. However, with the Magic starting strong, their domination led to a half-time score of 25-48.
The second half was a complete role reversal as Bristol held their opponents to just 22 points all half as the fightback was on. Their efforts were, however, so close yet so far as the Magic held on to secure the 67-70 win to go 8-5 for the season.
Hosting the league leaders Hemel Storm on Saturday, the team were itching to get back on court after all the back and forth of the last month or so.
Medway fought hard throughout the game and led by 5 in the third quarter, however, a late surge by Hemel saw them finish the game six points ahead and snatch their 12th win of the season.
Bode Adeluola continued his dominating season with 24 points in the win.
Medway have some catching up to do and the next day travelled North to face the title-challenging Bradford Dragons.
The Dragons went on a 17-6 run to start the game, however led by England u18 international Josh Steel, the Crusaders began to fight their way back into the game.
Down the stretch Dan Foley remained a force for Bradford and some crucial baskets led them to the 78-65 win with Foley having 21 points on the day.
Medway find themselves fourth from bottom in Division 1, but have as many as five games in hand on the teams around them.
The Essex Leopards were lifted by the addition of former BBL-forward Shaun Durant going into Saturday’s visit to the Westminster Warriors.
With Head Coach Robert Youngblood serving a suspension it was the turn of England’s most capped player Ronnie Baker to take over the Leopards reigns for this game.
A strong run in the first half saw the Leopards lead 26-40 at the halfway stage, a lead they would fail to relinquish as they ran out eventual 61-72 winners.
Durant led the Leopards with a 15 points, 10 rebound double-double off the bench in his first appearance.
The two bottom teams faced off in an intense clash with both teams desperately needing wins to move them away from the bottom of Division 1.
With the game going all the way to overtime it was the team propping up the league that came out on top as the Leicester Warriors held off the challenge of Team Northumbria to pull off the 88-83 victory.
Sherrad Prezzie-Blue again led the Warriors with 27 points in the win as they still sit bottom but are now just one win off the three teams above them.
In the National Trophy Quarter-Final between Leeds and Worthing, it was an incredibly dominating performance by the away side that saw the game finish 58-89 to the Worthing Thunder as they will now host the Manchester Magic in the Semi-Finals.
Both teams struggle to find their offensive form early on as the game started in a scrappy fashion with numerous unforced turnovers by both teams. The Thunder did however manage to open up a 10-13 lead at the end of the first period. This spurred them on to a more impressive second quarter performance where the South Coast club were able to open the gap out to 8 points before the half time break.
Carnegie continued to have difficulties onto both ends of the court in the third quarter whilst Worthing’s offensive went from strength to strength. With only ten minutes left in the game Worthing had extended their lead out to 14 points. Leeds looked to rally in final quarter but was unable to stop the impressive offensive display from Worthing as they ran out 58-89 winners.
Carnegie’s scoring was jointly led by 11 points from both Jack Stannard and Russell Permenter. Tom Ward led all scorers for Worthing with 22 points.
This weekend, Killimarsh Sports Centre was the scene for possibly the game of the season as the Killimarsh Derbyshire Arrows hosted Ipswich Basketball Club.
After trailing by 9 in the first quarter, the home side seemed to jump into action in front of a raucous home crowd and began to hit shots from what could be described as ‘in the gym’ range. For Killamarsh it was the combination of Australian import Darren Best and Akin Lisk-Carew, both amongst the league’s leading scorers doing damage as well as Lithuanian Masevic, who seemed to be able to score from anywhere.
For Ipswich, it was the usual combination of Leigh Greenan and Josh Johnson doing much of the damage, but with captain Tom Sadler experiencing a rare bad shooting day, Aaron Moseley stepped up to pick up some of the slack.
With ten seconds to play in regulation the madness began…
With Ipswich up by three, and the Arrows with possession as the shot clock wound down, the hosts Lithuanian scorer threw up an off balance three pointer over two Ipswich defenders, which somehow dropped. Ten seconds to go, Nick Drane called time out….. Josh Johnson gets a good look at the game winner but it rattles in and out… Overtime.
The teams went back and forth, but because of the extended time, for both teams the fouls started to add up.
For Ipswich Colin Dockrell, who had made another major contribution, fouled out early in the period, then later Greenan picked up his fifth, as Tom Sadler was left on the floor playing with four.
Ipswich were up by two with eight on the clock with Lisk-Carew at the foul line, who made both. Ipswich time out. Again Drane goes to Johnson to win the game, and the team executed and other shot they wanted but again the ball rattles in and out… Double Overtime.
In this period an all-out assault began on both baskets as the fatigue began to show with both teams desperately trying to grab the win.
With three seconds on the clock, guard James Kelly made two free throws to put the home side up three. Down by three and with the whole Arrows defence expecting Johnson or Sadler to take the shot, Aaron Moseley found himself wide open in the corner and sank the triple on the buzzer… Triple Overtime.
As Tom Sadler picked up his last foul early in the period, Ipswich looked to 7foot 2 Center Tendai Simbai to be the rock on defence as his presence created all sorts of problems for the Arrows, with the huge African grabbing four rebounds, three blocks and six points to close out the game for Ipswich who ran out eventual 135-143 winners in an incredible game.
For the home side Best had 38 personal points with Masevic and Lisk-Carew scoring 34 and 27 respectively.
The victors Ipswich were led by an incredible 44 points from Josh Johnson, while hero Aaron Moseley scored 34 and big man Leigh Greenan had 25 before fouling out early.
Ipswich are now just one win off the second place teams after this win.
Elsewhere, league leaders Derby secured a dominating away win over London Westside with their top three scorers (Dorr, Allaway, Watts) combining for 69 of their 90 points as they picked up the 24 point win to move to a 10-3 record for the season.
Third placed side Brixton Topcats travelled to the Worcester Wolves II hoping to keep up the pressure on leaders Derby and a 62-75 win keeps them within 2 wins of the top side, while the Eastside Eagles continued their recent good form with a 74-50 win over London Westside.
36 points from American import Robert Clyburn wasn’t enough as the Mansfield Giants went down 98-83 to London United to leave them bottom of the table with a 1-10 record.
25 points from new signing Josh Houghton led the Rossendale Raptors to a 91-59 win over the then league leaders Birmingham Mets as the Raptors moved into the top spot with an 11-2 record. The Raptors found themselves in the same position last season before a late-season melt down saw them fail to make the playoffs at all.
The Birmingham A’s picked up a much needed 52-67 win over the Nottingham Hoods, while Oli Hylands scored an incredible 44 points for Leeds Carnegie II as they downed Sefton by 93-84.
The London Greenhouse Pioneers maintained their top spot with a blowout 108-52 win over Barking Abbey, while another huge 31 point performance from Karolis Stepanavicius gave London Lituanica the 81-86 win over the Hackney White Heat to go second in the table, just one win off the top spot.
In the Bracknell Cobras 86-79 win over the Solent Kestrels, it was Mclemore’s 34 points that led them to their 6th win of the season, while third place Plymouth Marjon secured an 84-57 win over the Cardiff Met Archers.
The London Phoenicians picked up an important 87-96 win over the Oxford Hoops for their 5th win of the season to move them clear of the bottom teams.
On Saturday, the Hull Wasps desperately needed a win to put themselves back into any sort of contention for the league title as they faced off against local rivals Kingston Panthers.
The D4 new boys have been making some serious noise and find themselves challenging for the top spot with leaders Liverpool.
In a packed out arena the Hull-derby proved to be an intense and incredibly entertaining affair with the Panthers gaining revenge for the reverse fixture defeat with a 77-74 win over the Hull Wasps.
Grigalunas had 26 points in the win as the Panthers moved to 9-2 for the season.
The Leeds Tigers moved themselves into contention with an outstanding 114-50 win over the Durham Wildcats II, while Leeds Allerton High Carnegie picked up their first win of the season with a 65-58 victory over the Sefton Stars II.
The Bromsgrove Bears moved into the joint top spot with 9-1 record after an impressive 78-59 win over the Loughborough Student Riders II, while the Sporting Club Albion picked up the 57-71 win over the Shropshire Warriors.
Ashley Ugo scored 27 points for the Leicester Warriors II in their eventual loss to the Derby Trailblazers III. Both teams now have a 4-6 record for the season.
South Eastern Conference
Algirdas Matusaitas scored 25 points as BC Medelynas London beat Medway Park Crusaders II by 65-90 to continue their impressive form at the top of the conference, while second place Cambridge Cats kept up the pressure with a 56-65 win over the Greenwich Titans.
The Brentwood Fire are beginning to make a charge toward the top of the table with several impressive recent performances including a huge 33-122 win over the struggling Maidstone Warriors this weekend as they move into third place.
37 points from Jerome Thompson weren’t enough to secure the win for the Ware Rebels as they went down 83-80 to the Peckham Pride, while the COWA Fury survived a scare to beat the Southend Scorpions with Squires scoring 25 personal points.
Midlands South West Conference
Monticello scored 37 points as league leaders Oxford Brookes beat the Swindon Shock 86-61 on Saturday before beating the Woking Blackhawk Flyers 62-89 on Sunday to put themselves two wins clear at the top. Woking suffered another loss the previous day to the Hertfordshire Warriors, 71-55 and find themselves second bottom with just 4 wins all season.
Oaklands College Wolves were victorious as they faced bottom plcae Southampton Uni Sharks, while Cardiff City defeated the Bristol Academy Flyers II. The Reading Rockets II picked up their 4th win of the season over the Bristol Storm with a 75-62 scoreline.