Around the NBL - Week 26 -

Around the NBL – Week 26

It was the final weekend of the regular season across three divisions in the NBL, while the playoffs began in D4.

Division One

With the title and relegation wrapped up on the penultimate week, the final weekend of the regular season was all about sorting the seedings for the playoffs.

Second spot was on the line as Manchester Magic (21-5) hosted Reading Rockets (20-6) and it was the defending champions who claimed it with a 75-71 victory behind Simon Anumba’s 21 points.

Team Northumbria (23-3) wrapped up the league title on the penultimate weekend and closed out the regular season in style with an 82-71 success against Solent Kestrels (15-10) as Blayne Freckleton top scored with 22 points.

Also victorious on the final day were Loughborough Student Riders (15-11) as Josh Ward-Hibbert scored 23 points against his former side as they recorded a 73-84 win away at Derby Trailblazers (16-10), and the two teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs.

Loughborough had also beaten Westminster Warriors (2-24) 84-56 on Saturday with the visitors already resigned to dropping into D2 alongside Essex Leopards (6-20) who bowed out on a high as they defeated Worthing Thunder (7-19) 110-113 in an overtime thriller.

Dougie Bennett netted a team-high 33 points with AJ Roberts adding 21 points in a triple-double effort, while Lyonell Gaines had 43 points for the beaten hosts as they narrowly finish ahead of the Leopards.

Also on Saturday, Bradford Dragons (14-12) beat London Lituanica (11-15) 90-86, while Hemel Storm (13-13) defeated Derby 88-72 and Lancashire Spinners (7-18) were edged out 93-95 in double overtime by Leicester Warriors (11-15) with 23 points for Rob Sanders.

Standings: Northumbria 23-3; Manchester 21-5; Reading 20-6; Derby 16-10; Loughborough 15-11; Solent 15-10-1; Bradford 14-12; Hemel 13-13; Leicester 11-15; Lituanica 11-15; Lancashire 7-18-1; Worthing 7-19; Essex 6-20; Westminster 2-24

Playoffs Quarter-Finals
Team Northumbria v Hemel Storm
Manchester Magic v Bradford Dragons
Reading Rockets v Solent Kestrels
Derby Trailblazers v Loughborough Student Riders

Division Two

Kent Crusaders (19-3) secured the D2 title on the final day of the regular season after beating Team Newcastle University (19-3) 67-71 on the road to finish top due to a superior head-to-head record.

The Crusaders set up the title decider with a 62-78 win away at London Westside (11-11) as Amin Adamu top scored with 23 points.

In a relegation battle, London Greenhouse Pioneers (8-14) survived following a 67-79 triumph over Doncaster Danum Eagles (6-16) in Scunthorpe as the hosts drop to D3.

The visitors pulled clear in the second with a 13-27 period en route to victory with Dean Prosenica netting 18 points.

Standings: Kent 19-3; Newcastle 19-3; Thames Valley 18-4; Ipswich 12-10; London Westside 11-11; Nottingham 10-12; Tees Valley 9-13; Derbyshire 8-14; LG Pioneers 8-14; Liverpool 7-15; Doncaster 6-16; Newham 5-17

Playoffs Quarter-Finals:
Kent Crusaders v Derbyshire Arrows
Team Newcastle University v Tees Valley Mohawks
Thames Valley Cavaliers v Nottingham Hoods
Ipswich v London Westside

Division Three

The final two games of the regular season in D3 North took place as Sefton Stars (0-19) suffered two more defeats at the weekend.

Coventry Tornadoes (7-13) recorded a 79-99 victory with 21 points from Lionel Antoni, while Worcester Wolves II (9-11) finished with a comfortable 91-53 success.

Standings: Birmingham Elite 17-3; Chester 16-4; Charnwood 16-4; Stoke 14-5; Birmingham Mets 11-9; Myerscough 9-11; Worcester II 9-11; Sheffield 8-12; Coventry 7-13; Mansfield 2-18; Sefton 0-19

In D3 South, Sussex Bears (13-5) secured second spot with a 64-102 win away at Thames Valley Cavaliers II (1-17) with three players scoring 20+ points for the visitors.

Meanwhile, Oxford Brookes University (5-13) were beaten 86-90 at home to Team Solent Kestrels II (12-5) with Southwark Pride (9-8) claiming a 20-0 win over Sussex on the Sunday.

Standings: Middlesex 15-3; Sussex 13-5; Solent II 12-5; Brunel 11-7; Cardiff 10-8; Southwark 9-8; Greenwich 8-10; Oxford 5-13; Northants 5-13; Thames Valley II 1-17

Playoffs Quarter-Finals:
Team Birmingham Elite v Brunel University Ducks
University of Chester v Team Solent Kestrels II
Sussex Bears v Charnwood Riders
Middlesex LTBC v Stoke-on-Trent Knights

Division Four

Playoffs First Round

Manchester Giants II lost just one regular season game and advanced to the D4 Quarter-Finals with an 88-55 victory over Bristol Storm with Josh Houghton netting 25 points in the win.

D4 South runners-up Middlesex Saxons await in the next round after they recorded a 116-78 success over RCT Gladiators, while Essex Blades saw off Tameside with Wes Flaherty scoring 24 points in the 85-69 triumph.

Swindon Shock edged past Barking Abbey Crusaders 61-55 behind 25 points from Spencer Wells with Northants Taurus beating Warwickshire Hawks 87-81, despite Ashley Dickson’s 37-point haul.

Elsewhere, Cardiff City moved into the last eight with a 59-52 win against Shropshire Warriors and there was a 78-65 victory for Team Wolverhampton with D Mason scoring 32 points to lead his side past London Lewisham-Thunder.

Playoffs Quarter Finals:
Manchester Giants II v Middlesex Saxons
Northants Taurus v Cardiff City
Essex Blades v Leeds Force Academy
Swindon Shock v Team Wolverhampton

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