- National Teams
An action packed weekend in the NBL saw all the semi-finals taking place to set up our respective playoff finals at Manchester’s NBPC the weekend after next.
Manchester Magic  v Solent Kestrels 
The defending playoff champions made a return to the final with an 89-73 victory over Solent on Saturday.
Magic made a strong start to open up a double-digit advantage by half-time and Duane Morgan finished with a game-high of 27 points.
The visiting Kestrels were aiming to reach a second final having been beaten by Northumbria in the National Cup back in January. Marquis Mathis top scored with 16 points in the defeat.
Team Northumbria  v Loughborough Student Riders 
The league and cup champions bowed out of the playoffs as Loughborough Student Riders claimed a 57-75 win on the road.
The visitors led by 10 at the half before a 12-21 third period pushed them clear of Northumbria before completing the victory.
Levi Noel top scored for Loughborough with 18 points, while Alex Roberts added 13 points to help their side set up a final showdown with Manchester Magic.
Northumbria were paced by Lewis Champion’s 18 points with Tayo Oyefusi adding 14 points as their quest for a treble came to an end.
Kent Crusaders  v Ipswich 
The D2 league champions moved a step closer to a season double with an 89-82 victory over Ipswich. The Crusaders poured in 30 points in the opening period and never trailed en route to the win.
Amin Adamu top scored with 22 points, while John Shodipo weighed in with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists with RJ Eytle-Rock adding 16 points.
Ipswich battled back in the second half and were paced by Caleb Fuller’s 24 points, but they fell short of the showpiece final with Leigh Greenan putting up a further 21 points.
Team Newcastle University  v Thames Valley Cavaliers 
Thames Valley Cavaliers outlasted Team Newcastle University to claim an 84-89 win on the road in overtime to reach the D2 final.
Martelle McLemore netted 27 points in the win whilst adding nine rebounds and eight assists in a 45-minute effort with Phil Perre adding 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
The Cavaliers had a 17-26 advantage after 10 minutes with their lead peaking at 10 points before the home side battled back and a frantic finish ensued.
McLemore fired TVC ahead with a three to make it 73-75 before Irving Eggleston netted four free throws on the same possession only for Robert Banks Jr to answer with his basket forcing overtime.
A 10-3 start to the extra period saw the visitors take control and they held on for the victory and set a showdown with Kent, despite 28 points, six rebounds, six assists and six steals from Romonn Nelson.
Team Birmingham Elite (1N) v Sussex Bears (2S)
Former GB U20 international Sedale Hanson-Young scored a team-high 23 points to lead his side to a 79-71 triumph over Sussex Bears.
Birmingham edged the opening two periods, both by a single points, before extending their advantage in the third with Sussex unable to overturn a six-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
Meris Mazalovic added 15 points for the hosts with Sussex led by Hank Rivers’ 23-point haul as they were unable to repeat their National Shield victory over Birmingham earlier in the season.
Middlesex LTBC (1S) v Solent Kestrels II (3S)
The D3 South winners held off a late fightback from Solent Kestrels II to book their place in the playoff final.
Middlesex raced into a 31-18 lead in the opening period and had a commanding 19-point advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
The visitors battled back with a 15-27 fourth quarter effort with Patrick Jones top scoring with 25 points in the loss.
Northants Taurus (1M) v Leeds Force Academy (3N)
Northants Taurus advanced to the D4 final after defeating Leeds Force Academy 102-92 in a high-scoring encounter.
Micah Savery-Richards led the visitors’ resistance with 27 points, while Josh Gill added 21 points as they were left to rue a 21-10 third period.
The home side found themselves 48-50 behind at the half before their third quarter blitz and would edge the final period 33-32 to secure the win.
Five players recorded double figures for Northants, led by Arnas Maziliauskas’ 17 points.
Manchester Giants II (1N) v Swindon Shock (1SW)
The top sides in the North and South West divisions met on Sunday as Swindon Shock recorded a 72-79 road victory at Manchester Giants II.
Swindon were led by Antonio Wilburn’s 35 points as they came back from a narrow half-time deficit with a strong final quarter display.
The home side had gone 17-1 through the regular season, but their campaign ends a game short. Josh Houghton top scored with 17 points with Daniel Pilkington and Sam Lane adding 16 points apiece.
D1 – Manchester Magic v Loughborough Student Riders, April 23, 3:30pm
D2 – Kent Crusaders v Thames Valley Cavaliers, April 23, 11am
D3 – Team Birmingham Elite v Middlesex LTBC, April 22, 4:30pm
D4 – Northants Taurus v Swindon Shock, April 22, 12pm