With Champions crowned up and down the EBL and some rather controversial news in the Division 4 promotion race, it was a very exciting weekend of EBL action
The Reading Rockets finally claimed the top spot in the division with back to back wins this weekend.
On Saturday the Rockets defeated the Manchester Magic, whom they recently beat in the National Trophy Final, by 66-79, with Josh Wilcher dominating and scoring 34 points while also having 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 steals.
The Rockets travelled further north for Sunday’s encounter with second-bottom Team Northumbria and came through successful again as Josh Wilcher’s form continued with 21 points to lead the Rockets to a 63-86 win.
The Rockets now sit top of the table with a 16-3 record having played three less games than second place Hemel Storm (16-6).
The Hemel saw themselves slip to second following an 83-89 loss to the Essex Leopards. Despie 29 points from the ever impressive Bode Adeluola, Hemel couldn’t get it done against Coach Robert Youngbloods’s team.
That win sends Essex into third place just one win behind Hemel, having played two less games.
The Bristol Academy Flyers moved into the play-off spots following two wins this weekend against Westminster and Leicester, while Medway Park moved clear of the relegation zone winning one out of two this weekend.
32 points from Jorge Ebanks led the Tees Valley Mohawks to a 76-83 win over Medway for that loss which puts Tees valley within two wins of the playoffs.
As Leeds Carnegie entered the weekend looking to cement their playoff position for the post season, Leicester were looking to secure only their third win of the season as they attempt to avoid relegation to Division Two.
Carnegie stretched out to a 31 point lead at one point and finished them game victorious with a 95-57 win.
Recently acquired American Forward Russell Permenter top scored with 35 points for Leeds.
“This win was integral in our run in to the close of the regular season. “ Said Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Matt Newby.
“We showed some form today that suggests we are making progress. Leicester although 14th in the league had been running teams from the leading pack very close. We now have 3 wins in a row but need to recognise that we have four of the five teams currently ahead of us still to play”
The Derby Trailblazers secured the Championship with two wins this weekend against London United and the Brixton Topcats.
John Gould top scored against United with 29 points and was ecstatic about his side’s promotion to EBL Division 1, saying:
“It was nice to prove a lot of people wrong. A lot has been said about other teams and their ability whereas we seemed to go under the radar a bit. This seems strange as in my opinion we have a team easily capable of playing in D1.”
“People writing us off helped to motivate us through the season and our form post-Christmas has been really strong. As the season has gone on each member of our team has contributed in different ways to our success and it has been a privilege to play with these lads and coaches.”
Team Captain Sam O’Shea echoed Gould’s sentiments:
“We’ve worked really hard all year for this and it’s great to see those efforts paying off. To become champions with a game to spare is a really nice achievement.”
Derby secured the title due to a Huddersfield loss on Saturday against the Worcester Wolves II, who, led by Dave Eden who scored 38 points, picked up the 78-87 win.
“We’ve always concentrated on ourselves and making sure we keep improving as a team”, said Worcester Head Coach Chris Lowe when asked how it felt to end Huddersfield’s title challenge.
“We have a clear target now and that is to secure our place in the Playoffs so we can continue into the post-season with a chance of winning some silverware.”
“Commiserations to Huddersfield and I wish them all the best for the future.”
Huddersfield can secure promotion to EBL Division 1 with just one more win.
Robert Clyburn has taken Division 2 by storm in the latter stages of the season since signing for Mansfield and scored 70 combined points over the weekend although his side lost both games to Ipswich and Huddersfield.
Ipswich Basketball find themselves in third place following back to back wins this weekend, led by Leigh Greenan who had a combined total of 46 points and 40 rebounds over the two games.
The other result in D2 came as Killimarsh Derbyshire Arrows beat Brixton on Saturday by 75-73, with Darren Best scoring 26 points for the Arrows.
After Garnett Gayle’s last weekend of National league action at almost 50 years old he is retiring (allegedly).
The former BBL star has continued to light up the league this season putting up some incredible numbers and proving he’s still got it.
His final win came on Saturday as the Sheffield Saints 71-87 win over local rivals Sheffield Sabres to secure a 6th place finish in Division 3 this season.
The Northants Thunder had the chance to take control of the promotion race with a win over Sefton, however fell victim to a dominant performance from ex-BBL guard Phil Brandreth who dropped 25 points on the way to a 98-97 win for the Sefton Stars.
That win sees Sefton qualify for the playoffs in the same manner they did last season… On the very last day.
Rob Donaldson scored 34 points for the Tees Valley Mohawks II as they defeated the Birmingham A’s, while there was a win for the league champions Rossendale Raptors, 113-72 over Leeds Carnegie II.
The Nottingham Hoods have avoided relegation to Division 4 following a 58-60 win over the Derby Trailblazers II, who themselves finished last following that result.
London Lituanica secured an unbeaten season and an incredible 20-0 record with a pair of wins this weekend over Plymouth Marjon and the London Phoenicians, while the London Greenhouse Pioneers win over the Oxford Hoops saw them secure a 2nd place finish in the league.
Elsewhere, the Solent kestrels secured their third place finish with a win over the Cardiff Met Archers and Martelle Mclemore scored 37 points for the Bracknell Cobras as they Defeated Team Solent 92-86 in overtime.
Raheem May Thompson led Liverpool to a 64-101 win over Newcastle Eagles II with 27 points as the D4 North Champions finished the regular season with a 14-0 record and secured promotion to EBL Division 3 for next season.
Elsewhere, wins for the Kingston Panthers and Hull Wasps see them finish 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The NULC Knights confirmed their place as Conference Champions this weekend with a 69-87 win over Loughborough Student Riders II, finishing the regular season with a 13-1 record.
Bromsgrove finished runners-up this season and qualified for the playoffs with an 83-74 victory over the Shropshire Warriors, while Leicester Warriors II defeated the Birmingham Mets II by 107-96.
There was controversy in the South East this weekend as BC Medelynas won the Conference Championship by way of a forfeit.
With the Cambridge Cats beating COWA Fury by a point they were ahead by one win, and Medelynas needed to win their game against London Uts- Harefield Academy to go top via the head to head ruling.
However, United handed Medelynas the title without even playing them and thus left Cambridge in second place unable to qualify to promotion.
There were wins elsewhere for the Southend Scorpions and Brentwood Fire, while Leslie Addo dropped 34 points for London Westside II in their 97-43 win over the Maidstone Warriors.
Conference Champions Oxford Brookes took down the Hertfordshire Wariors 64-83, while the Milton Keynes Mustangs secured their playoff spot with a hard fought 73-76 win over the Reading Rockets II, with Rickwood and Santamaria both scoring 33 points each in the win.
Other wins came from Cardiff City, Oaklands College Wolves and Bristol Stormm while the Middlesex LTBC’s win over the Southampton Uni Sharks means that the Shakrs will finish bottom of the conference with a 3-17 record.
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