- National Teams
As the EBL regular season winds to a close we review league standings and potential playoff qualifiers.
League MVP candidate Josh Wilcher scored 52 points across Reading’s two wins this week against Leeds, 94-85 and Westminster 70-91.
The Rockets’ consistent good form this season sees them sitting top of the Division 1 league table with an 18-3 record, two wins clear of their nearest chasers the Essex Leopards.
That loss also eliminates Westminster from playoff contention this season.
Another player to have a stellar weekend was Jorge Ebanks of the Tees Valley Moahawks as he put up 56 combined points as the Mohawks went down to the Bristol Academy Flyers on Saturday, before putting things right on Sunday with a 79-71 win over NASSA.
The Hemel Storm’s title hopes took another hit on Saturday as they went down 82-65 to the Manchester Magic, a loss that puts them joint second with Essex and Bradford with three games left to play.
“We weren’t good in the first half and nothing dropped for us, but if we’d have made half of the lay-ups we missed we would have gone in up at half-time, not down,” said Magic coach Paul Middleton after the game.
“In the second half I thought defensively we were so much better, and offensively we stopped missing easy shots.”
Manchester are three wins back from 2nd place having played three less games and will look to take advantage as the regular season draws to a close.
Essex’s 76-70 win over the Worthing thunder puts them in a commanding position in 2nd place, just two wins behind leaders Reading with five games to play.
Also fighting for 2nd place, tied with Essex are the Bradford Dragons who defeated NASSA 65-75 at the weekend.
League Champions the Derby Trailblazers picked up a dominant win over the Killimarsh Derbyshire Arrows on Saturday with probable league MVP Alex Dorr scoring 37 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to lead his sid.
Darren Best continued his impressive form by scoring 27 points in the loss and the Arrows need just one win to avoid relegation to EBL Division 3.
Robert Clyburn hasn’t scored less than 30 points in any game this season since joining the Mansfield Giants and is one of the biggest scoring threats in the league.
He scored 35 of Mansfield’s 62 points on Saturday in a loss to the Eastside Eagles.
Mansfield’s relegation has not been in much doubt for a while now and their 1-18 record shows it has been a tough season for the club.
Huddersfield Heat secured promotion to EBL Division 1 on Saturday with a 109-94 win over London United on Saturday with lethal scorer Miguel Molina scoring 41 points, before Julio Sosa stole the show on Sunday with 26 points in the 81-71 win over London Westside.
It was heartbreak for the Northants Thunder as although they defeated the Birmingham A’s by 83-78 this weekend to secure a joint second place finish in the league, it did not secure back to back promotions for the club.
The Birmingham Mets hold the head to head advantage over the Thunder and therefore will take promotion instead as both clubs finished the season with 15-5 records.
Plymouth Marjon and the Hackney White Heat faced off this weekend with the winner gaining the 4th and final playoff spot from the South.
In the end it was the Hackney outfit who came out 58-83 winners to ensure that last year’s playoff champions would not be making a return to the tournament to defend their crown.
In a crazy turn of events, the Kingston Panther’s late season meltdown has seen them miss out on promotion altogether.
A defeat by the Gateshead Phoenix 76-75 put the final nail in the coffin as the Panthers handed the final promotion spot to the Hull Wasps due to them holding the head to head advantage.
The only game played in the conference saw Sporting Club Albion lose to the Leicester Warriors II by a score of 66-70.
The London United Harefield Academy picked up one of two wins this weekend as they went down first to the Brentwood Fire, 49-90, before defeating the Maidstone Warriors 77-50.
The only games played this weekend saw wins for the Hertfordshire Warriors and Southampton Uni Sharks.