- National Teams
This weekend we discovered who the real challengers are for each Divisional crown as we enter the business end of the EBL regular season.
Division 1 leaders Hemel Storm suffered just their fourth loss of the season at the hands of play-off chasers, the Tees Valley Mohawks.
27 points from Bode Adeluola kept up his impressive form this season to keep the home side competitive throughout, although the scoring duo of Jorge Ebanks and Alex Greven (combined 40 points) secured the win for the travelling Mohawks team, 79-89.
Hemel lead with a 14-4 record while the Mohawks have moved themselves into the play-off spots with an 8-7 record.
The Mohawks couldn’t make it back to back wins from their trip down south, however, as they came up short the following day against a title chasing Essex Leopards team.
The combination of Crawford, Durant and Clark proved too much to handle as they each recorded 22 points for the Leopards to gain the advantage and put up a 93-81 win.
Essex had carried on their good form from the previous day as they also beat the Worthing Thunder, 72-89, on Saturday. Following the weekend’s action, the Leopards now boast a 12-4 record having played two games less than leaders Hemel.
Elsewhere in the title race, current champions the Reading Rockets slipped up on Saturday against sixth place NASSA.
In a close game, it needed overtime to decide the winner as Badmus led NASSA with 25 points to secure the 94-93 victory.
There were huge efforts in the loss from Josh Wilcher who scored 28 points and Diaz-Morera with 26.
Diaz-Morera will be pleased that his efforts the next day were not in vain as the Rockets hosted the Bradford Dragons as he scored another 25 points for the home side to sink Bradford, 82-62.
Richard Sulcs was impressive with 26 points for the visitors.
Bradford’s other game saw them suffer a shock drubbing at the hands of the Bristol Academy Flyers with the eventual scoreline running out to 60-93 to the visiting side to move them to within one win of the play-off spots.
Bottom side Leicester still can’t buy a win as Karl Brown’s side suffered two close defeats this weekend, first to fellow strugglers Medway Park, 65-60, then to the Manchester Magic, 85-83.
Sherrad Prezzie-Blue continued his good form throughout with 25 points against Manchester.
The Huddersfield Heat closed the gap on leaders Derby, following the previous weekend’s thrashing defeat when the two faced off in the league.
On Saturday they hosted an Ipswich team that knew they had to win in order to have any chance of remaining in the title race.
A 6 hour journey north following heavy traffic meant that the visitors only arrived 20 minutes prior to an already delayed tip. This would cause most teams to start slow, however Ipswich came out from the beginning as the stronger team with Leigh Greenan exerting his dominance down low.
After trailing early the home side clawed their way back into the game and narrowly led at the half-time break.
As the second half began, Huddersfield began to tear away before a late surge from Ipswich saw the game all tied up with just one minute to play.
Clutch play from the Heat secured the perhaps flattering 8-point victory.
Huddersfield’s Spanish trio of Molina(26), Camin(22) and Mendez(22) combined for 70 of their 99 points, while Tom Sadler led Ipswich with 26 points.
Former Real Madrid man Molina continued to dominate the following day as the Heat hosted bottom side Mansfield.
In a battle between Molina and Mansfield’s powerful new import Robert Clyburn, it was Molina’s 30 points that led the Heat to the 86-77 victory, while Clyburn put up 35 for the Giants.
As things stand Huddersfield must win all their remaining games in order to snatch the Division 2 title from leaders Derby.
Dan Watts was keen to maintain Derby’s lead at the top as he led the Trailblazers with a 24 point game to add to a string of impressive performances this season.
The Trailblazers thrashed the Eastside Eagles, 53-83, to maintain improve to a 12-3 record.
London United suffered back to back losses this weekend as they were defeated by London Westside, 68-62, and the Loughborough Student Riders, 73-74, with Maynard scoring 25 points in the win for Loughborough.
Darren Best put in a galiant effort to score 38 points in the Killimarsh Derbyshire Arrows loss to the Worcester Wolves II. The 87-70 win moves the Arrows just clear of the relegation spots above London United and the Mansfield Giants.
The Birmingham Mets regained their lead at the top of the conference table, following a 77-74 win over Leeds Carnegie II. The Mets have just two games remaining and their title claim depends on them winning both their final games and hoping that the chasing teams suffer defeats.
Leeds Carnegie picked up a win the following day, 84-62, against the Birmingham A’s with veteran guard Jason Swaine scoring 22 points following on from an injury hampered recent month to help his team move into the play-off spots.
Second place Rossendale Raptors defeated the Sheffield Saints to move to within just one win of the leaders. Despite 21 points from EBL veteran Garnet Gayle, it was Steven Gayle who top scored with 24 points, aided by 22 from Josh Houghton, to secure the 78-96 win.
Elsewhere there were wins for the Tees Valley Mohawks II and the Sheffield Sabres.
London Lituanica now top the conference with an outstanding 15-0 record after picking up two wins this weekend.
Karolis Stepanavicius led the team in both games with 21 points against the Solent Kestrels in a 102-117 win and 33 points in a 95-82 overtime win against the Plymouth Marjon, while Marjon’s Gordon racked up 40 points in the loss.
Marjon did pick up a win the previous day over Barking Abbey to move safely into the play-off places with an 11-4 record.
Anthony Mofitt scored 26 points in Team Solent’s thrashing 63-110 win over the Oxford Hoops
Martelle Mclemore led the Bracknell Cobras to two wins this weekend with two 30+ point games, first against the London Phoenicians and then against Barking Abbey.
Liverpool now hold an 11-0 record in first position and will secure the conference championship with one more win following on from their 84-75 win over the Leeds Tigers, while the Hull Wasps moved into joint second place following a 91-69 win over the Sefton Stars.
Gateshead picked up a win over Leeds Allerton High Carnegie, 87-41 to move 2 wins clear of the bottom.
With just two games played in the conference, the Bromsgrove Bears still hold the top spot following a 64-71 win over the Birmingham Mets II and need just two more wins to be crowned conference champions.
Sporting Club Albion picked up an 89-81 win over the Derby Trailblazers III to move into third place.
South East Conference
Two more wins will secure the conference championship for BC Medelynas London after defeating their main rivals, the Cambridge Cats 56-95, while the COWA Fury and Brentwood Fire both maintained their charge for the play-offs with wins against Medway Park and the Southend Scorpions respectively.
London Westside II also picked up resounding a 109-45 win over the Peckham Pride.
Midlands South West Conference
Oxford Brookes picked up two wins to move further ahead in the title race, while Middlesex and Milton Keynes both won to maintain their challenge on the lead with just a few games remaining.
Elsewhere there were wins for Southampton Uni Sharks, Cardiff City and the Swindon Shock.