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Our recaps of the NBL are back as we rejoin the fray with a look at everything that happened across all four divisions this past season.
Defending champions Reading Rockets will face Worthing Thunder in the semi-finals of the National Cup while Manchester Magic will take on D2 side London Lituanica, with both games set to take place on December 7th.
All four quarter-finals occurred on Sunday with Reading the first team to secure their last four berth after a strong 3rd quarter (29-15) helped them on their way to an 84-80 success in Leicester. The Warriors were not in league action this weekend and came in fresher than the Rockets, but were narrowly edged out.
Manchester defeated D1 leaders Derby Trailblazers 83-67 as Ellis Cooper starred with an all-round display while London Lituanica beat Eastside Eagles 82-66 away from home and Bradford were beaten 92-83 at home to Worthing.
Derby (5-1) maintained their advantage at the top of Division One with a narrow 86-84 home win against Northumbria (2-3). Last season’s D1 Final Fours MVP Lewis Champion led the visitors with 22 points, but it was 23 points and 9 rebounds from Alex Dorr that helped Derby avenge their only league defeat so far – having lost in the North-East earlier this month.
Manchester (4-1) made second place their own with a comfortable 95-61 victory at home to Westminster, led by Jack Minister’s 22 points as they outscored their opponents in each quarter. Essex Leopards (2-0) kept the only remaining 100% record in tact with an 82-80 win on the road at Tees Valley Mohawks as Luke Winegarner and Will Ashby added 17 points apiece in the win (full game here).
Reading (1-3) finished their game against NASSA (1-3) with just three players on the court – one being a 13-year-old debutant – and they would fall to a 73-67 defeat having been crippled with injuries. The home side took advantage of their short-handed opponents, taking the final quarter 30-22 to register their first league win – Anthony Okereafor had a game-high 20 points.
Kent Crusaders (2-1) recorded an impressive 102-100 win at Worthing (1-3) despite Milton Chavis (38p) and Hank Rivers (31p) combining for 69 points as Thunder let an 8-point lead slip heading into the fourth – Crusaders’ Dau Jok went 7/7 from beyond the arc.
“It was a fantastic win for us and showed great character,” said Kent Head Coach Lloyd Gardner.
“We trailed for a lot of game but stuck around despite problems defensively. I was pleased with our effort down the stretch and I thought we really showed great character.”
Meanwhile, Bradford (1-3) fell to a 74-71 loss at home to Hemel Storm (3-2) as former BBL guard/forward Walid Mumuni top scored with 23 points.
In a top of the table clash, Lancashire Spinners (4-0) maintained their own unbeaten start whilst inflicting a first loss on Ipswich (4-1) with an 87-83 road win. Steve Gayle led four other scorers in double figures with 19 points whilst dishing out 9 assists. The home side were led by 18 points apiece from Aaron Moseley and Luke Mascall-Wright in the absence of captain Tom Sadler.
“Lancashire are a great team and well run club with an excellent floor general in Steve Gayle,” said Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane. “I make no excuses – we didn’t lose that game because we were missing guys, we lost because were out-rebounded and we missed 19 free throws.”
London Greenhouse Pioneers (3-1) cruised to a 94-60 win away at Worcester Wolves II (0-5) having raced out to a 28-6 start. Miodrag Vidakovic top scored with 17 points while England u18 international Jules Dang Akodo weighed in with 14 points. Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows (3-2) edged out Loughborough Student Riders (3-2) 71-70 behind 23 points from American Corey Standerfer while London Westside (1-4) picked up their first win after beating Birmingham Mets (2-3) 67-55 led by import recruit Geoff Simpson, who had 25.
Hull Wasps pulled off their first win, and the biggest win in D3 North this weekend, after ending the unbeaten start by Nottingham Hoods (6-1) with a 74-65 victory. Chris Bigley’s 30 points helped Liverpool (7-0) remain top in a crushing 101-68 win against Leeds Allerton High Force (2-4) while Derby Trailblazers II (6-1) kept up the pressure with a 92-88 win at home to the City of Sheffield Saints (2-5).
Tees Valley Mohawks II (0-7) fell to two further defeats after losing 88-75 to Mansfield Giants (2-4) before being emphatically beaten 92-52 at home to Team Birmingham (4-3). The Midlands club had bounced back from suffering a 78-73 loss against Newcastle Knights (5-2) the previous day. Finally, Sefton Stars (3-3) improved to .500 with a comfortable 85-57 success on the road at Sheffield Sabres (1-5) with Scott Summersgill scoring 36 points.
In the South, the top three all picked up wins as Solent Kestrels (5-0) maintained their perfect start with a 78-73 win away at Northants Thunder (4-2). Thames Valley Cavaliers (5-1) were also victorious away from home, beating Oxford 94-87 despite losing the final quarter 36-22 while Plymouth Raiders II eased to an 81-51 win against Barking Abbey (1-5). Team Solent (4-3) collected their fourth league win with an 83-62 win over Hackney White Heat (2-4) and there was a 75-63 road win for BC Medelynas London (3-2) at Middlesex LTBC (1-4).
Barking and Dagenham Thunder (6-0) enjoyed a double-winning weekend to stay top of the East Midlands while Northants Tauras (4-1) and College of West Anglia Fury (3-1) also picked up wins, beating Hertfordshire Warriors (0-5) and Oaklands College Wolves (1-5) respectively.
In the Midlands, City of Birmingham (4-3) defeated Sheffield Hallam Sharks (2-4) 72-60, Derby Trailblazers III (3-2) beat Birmingham Mets II (3-3) 77-73 and Nottingham Hoods II (2-4) picked up a road 74-58 victory against Sporting Club Albion (2-3).
Myerscough College Giants (6-0) remain top of the North after a dominant 109-50 victory against Sunderland City Predators (2-4) while Tameside (6-1) kept up the pressure with a 68-54 success at home to Lancashire Spinners II (2-4). Elsewhere, Leeds Tigers (3-3) won 81-52 on the road at Liverpool II (0-5) and Gateshead Phoenix (4-3) beat Kendal Warriors (1-5) 96-62.
In the South East, Crawley United (6-1) defeated London Westside II (1-4) to extend their lead at the top while Sussex Bears (4-1) beat Folkestone Saints (3-4) and Twickenham Tigers (1-4) claimed their first win, 78-73 over Greenwich Titans (3-2).
Led by 76 points from two players, Oxford Brookes University (6-0) crushed the winless Southampton University (0-6) 101-70 on the road. Swindon Shock (5-1) were also victorious on their travels, beating Reading Rockets II (2-4) 65-59. To complete the South West action, there were two more road wins with Bristol Storm (2-3) edging inner-city rivals Bristol Academy Flyers II (4-2) and Woking Blackhawk Flyers (3-3) beating Oxford Stealers (1-5) 112-77.
Get to any games? Anything worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments!
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