Kestrels, Trailblazers Stay Perfect - NBL Round Up, Week 8 -

Kestrels, Trailblazers Stay Perfect – NBL Round Up, Week 8

Nick Lewis Solent Kestrels

Week 8 of NBL action took place this weekend, with three teams remaining with perfect records across NBL Division 1 and 2.

Here is a round up of everything that happened:

NBL Division 1

Team Solent Kestrels 89-49 Manchester Magic
Team Solent Kestrels stayed perfect with an 89-49 drubbing of Manchester Magic on Saturday at home.


Boosted by the signing of former GB U20 Nick Lewis from Worthing Thunder – who had 31 points in his debut – Solent jumped out to an 11-0 lead to open the game and never looked back, using another 11-0 start to the second period to take a commanding lead, as Manchester were never in the game.

“Tonight was a clinical performance from our guys at both ends of the floor,” Solent Head Coach Matt Guymon said.

“It was great that everyone got to contribute, which really shows our depth this season. Our defensive energy and execution was excellent in large part and that really fuelled us.”

Jon Averkamp added 19 points for the home side, whilst Josh Brown had 12 rebounds and 5 assists, and 2003 born Jeremy Sochan had 9 points.

Manchester were led by 16 points from Andre Gayle as the only player in double figures, as Jonathan Barnes hauled in 14 rebounds to go with his 9 points. Magic dropped to 0-4 at the bottom of the table.

Box score.

Team Newcastle 83-80 Hemel Storm
Team Newcastle stole one, using late free throws for an 83-80 victory over Hemel Storm on Saturday in Newcastle, improving to 2-3.


Newcastle took their first lead of the game with just three minutes remaining, and then sank five consecutive free throws in the final 60 seconds to steal victory.

“It was great to pick up our first NBL win this year,” Newcastle Head Coach Ian Hewitt said. “We really performed on the defensive end keeping Freckleton to 11 and limiting Adeluola’s penetration, both very talented and dangerous players. We had some standout performances offensively, in particular Tosan Evbuomwan.”

GB Under-18 Evbuomwan was impressive on his way to 28 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks, Eric Stafford had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, with David Hanson having 14 points and 8 assists.

Hemel, now 1-3, were led by 18 points-a-piece from Tom Adorian and Levi Noel, the former adding 11 rebounds and the latter 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

A disappointed Hemel Head Coach Robert Youngblood said: “We didn’t play with a sense of urgency. We were sluggish throughout the game and our decision-making at times was just not at a high enough level.

“Even though we turned the ball over on the last play when we had the chance to win it we really shouldn’t have been in that position. All credit to Newcastle, they took advantage of their size down the stretch and also nailed some big perimeter shots. On balance they deserved to win.

“We’re still trying to find a comfortable rhythm to our game but are not yet consistent at both ends of the floor for 40 minutes. But we’ll learn from this loss and move on.”

Box score.

Bradford Dragons 75-89 Worthing Thunder
Worthing Thunder moved to 4-0 on Saturday with a 75-89 road victory over Bradford Dragons.

Full first half below, second half here.

Worthing pulled away at the start of the second quarter, and were up 20 at halftime having had a 50-point first half. The game looked done, but Bradford had other ideas, chipping away at the lead in the second half before pulling to within three, 72-75, with two and a half minutes remaining.

That is as close as they would get the rest of the way, as Worthing finished the game with a flurry of baskets for the final deficit.

Zaire Taylor had 29 points to lead Worthing, and Alex Owumi had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the visitors. Bradford were led by 24 from Ricky Fetske and 12 from Rafael Saipe, as they were dealt a blow with the loss of Drexler Clark to a dislocated shoulder and is facing a month out.

Box score.

Leicester Warriors 82-96 Reading Rockets
Reading Rockets bounced back from their National Cup exit last weekend with an 82-96 road win over Leicester Warriors.


Reading took control early before holding off a second half comeback from Leicester that saw them pull within three at the end of the third, steadying the ship in the fourth to pull out the win.

AJ Carr fell just short of an impressive triple double with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 8 assists, Sydney Donaldson had 20 points, and Danny Carter finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists whilst missing just one shot.

Leicester were led by 21 points from Pak Chingombe, with Brian Orr having 17.

“Three players out with injuries before the game,” Leicester Head Coach Chris Hallam said.

“We simply didn’t play well enough in the first half to win. We were not helped by losing our big man Eljhi Jabby after five minutes of quarter one to a knee injury which saw him sit the rest of the game.

“Danny Carter had 11 of his 17 points during this half. We adjusted at half time and won the second half by just 1 point. This shows we can compete but we need more consistency at this level.”

Box score.

Barking Abbey Crusaders 58-88 Loughborough Student Riders
Loughborough Students Riders prevailed 58-88 on the road over Barking Abbey, in a match-up of the league’s two youngest squads.

A 19-4 opening quarter from the visitors set the tone to pull out the win, led by 17 points-a-piece from former BA guard Reis Pinnock, and big man Hosana Kitenge, as Riders shot 65% from the floor, including 12-for-18 from three point range.


“It was a fun game,” Lougborough Head Coach Mark Jarram commented.

“Barking are relentless and obviously guys on both teams know each other well. But we were unhappy with our performance last weekend and we addressed some things that needed to be improved on.

“We were much better defensively holding a team to 58 points. We still have much more room for growth and we’ll be focused on that. Always great to have balanced contributions throughout the roster.”

Barking Abbey were led by an efficient 17 points each from Jonathan Brown and Chris Feeney, but they would receive little help.

Box score.

Essex Leopards 76-98 Derby Trailblazers
Derby Trailblazers kept Essex Leopards at bay with relative ease as they extended their winning league start to four games, with a 76-98 win on the road.


Derby led for the majority of the game, as Essex struggled to recover from 26 turnovers, continuing to look for their first league win at 0-4.

Malcolm Smith continued his dominance in D1 with 35 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, but it was Tre Wilford who really lit up the stat sheet, with a stand-out performance of 24 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals.

“I’d say the key to my performance was being aggressive and not just settling for jump shots,” Wilford said.

“Fortunately, they never made any adjustments to stop me from getting to the basket so, I continued to stay aggressive. As for the rebounds and steals, I’m just a very high motor player so when I see the ball, I want it and I try not to let anyone out work me.”

Kayne King added 12 assists, and Benson Arogbo had 14 rebounds.

The 7’0″ Lee Hodges was unstoppable on the glass for Essex, hauling in 22 rebounds to go with his 13 points, 4 assists and 3 blocks, leading five players into double figures for Leopards.

Box score.

Thames Valley Cavaliers 85-81 Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods
The return of Tintin Watts would not be enough for Nottingham, as they fell 85-81 to Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods, in a battle of the two newly-promoted teams.


Thames Valley jumped out to a double digit lead after the first quarter, before Watts led the comeback to see Nottingham tie the game up at 35 at halftime. The second half would be the Cavaliers’, despite back to back threes seeing Hoods pull to within 80-75 with two minutes remaining, the home side would knock down their free throws to pull out the win.

Elliott Defreitas’ 25 points led Thames Valley, Aiden Saunders had 16, and Abdoulaye Sylla 14 as their front line dominated.

“We are pleased to come away with a win,” Cavaliers Head Coach Bob Banks commented.

“We know that the Hoods are always very well prepared, a talented team that comes to battle for 40 minutes. As a group, our team is starting to understand what it takes to compete and win at this level. Our greatest challenge as a team is finding consistency and keeping our pace and intensity for 40 minutes.

“This weekend we took a very small step, we hope to continue to work hard, find some consistency and continue to improve as we move forward.

Watts went 7-for-11 from three point range for 27 points in his return, and Andrej Slavik had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Box score.

Team Newcastle 93-65 Leicester Warriors
Team Newcastle made it a double-winning weekend with a 93-65 win over Leicester Warriors, who fell to 1-4.

Tosan Evbuomwan would have another dominant performance with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 assists, Eric Stafford had 24 points himself, whilst David Hanson added 18. Newcastle dominated the glass 60-32, and registered 31 assists, as they overcame a short-handed Leicester side who had just six players.

“Leicester are always tough so we knew we had to put in a performance against them if we were going to win back to back games,” Newcastle Head Coach Ian Hewitt said.

“We shared the ball better than we had all season and our half court defence was smart for 40 minutes so I’m happy with the performance and how we can build on this.”

Josh Pollock led the Warriors with 16 points, Brian Orr had 15, and Alex Wilson had 13.

“Sunday saw us make the 3 1/2 hour journey to Newcastle with just 6 remaining fit players,” Leicester Head Coach Chris Hallam said. “So it was always going to be an uphill battle.

“The Newcastle team are a solid unit, and whilst we were down but in contention 61 – 51 with two mins left in the third quarter, we ran out of steam and into foul trouble, ending up the wrong side of a 28 point scoreline. We are hoping the injuries will be short lived, we have a tough game at Thames Valley this coming weekend.”

Box score.

Team Solent Kestrels 77-67 Worthing Thunder
Team Solent Kestrels secured 77-67 win over Worthing Thunder, moving to 6-0, handing them their first loss and it being made all the sweeter with the absence of Nick Lewis, which was enforced as part of the transfer between the clubs.


With the official transfer for Lewis to Solent having gone through on Friday, Worthing had added a clause that would not allow him to suit up in games against them, one they did not think would be allowed or enforced by Basketball England (it was).

Without Lewis, and Jon Averkamp, who sat out following Solent revealing another American signing prior to the game (taking their tally to 3), the new addition Travis Charles finished with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in his debut. Herm Senor picked up the slack at the guard spot with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, whilst Louie Kirkman when 9-for-14 for his 19 points.

Solent took the early lead before Worthing dominated the second to take a lead into the halftime break. The second half, saw Solent respond with an 11-0 run in the third, and then a 12-1 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to create enough of a cushion to hold on.

Matt Guymon, Kestrels Head Coach was pleased with the win:

“This was a resilient performance from our guys. After starting well, we got ourselves into a hole in the 2nd quarter as our pace slowed and we struggled to attack their match-up zone. The second half we were focused defensively and guarded their key personnel well, this allowed us to play at a faster tempo and ultimately control the game.”

Kestrels held Zaire Taylor to 9 points on 3-for-10 shooting, as he played the full 40 minutes, with Brendan Okoronkwo leading the visitors with 15 points, and Alex Owumi finishing with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double.

“Playing 2 teams that provide some of the toughest competition in the league is always going to be an interesting weekend of fixtures,” Worthing Coach Josh Goddard commented.

“Having to travel to Bradford and play a very physical style of basketball and then travel back and play a top of the table clash game within 8 hours of returning is difficult, however, I feel that the win in Bradford showed the professionalism of the players considering we had only played them the weekend before and that the 10 point loss to Solent on Sunday is partially down to tiredness.

“I also see the loss as turning point for the team as it will allow the guys to re-focus, which will allow us to step up our intensity so that we are where we need to be when it comes to crunch time further into the season.”

Box score.

Bradford Dragons 89-95 Reading Rockets
Reading Rockets handed Bradford Dragons their second loss of the weekend, with an 89-95 victory on the road, improving to 3-2 in fifth place in the table.


Trailing by seven heading into the final period, Reading dominated the fourth, 25-12, to register a come-from-behind victory.

AJ Carr’s 26 points led Reading, with Trae Pemberton adding 19, and Sydney Donaldson and Danny Carter adding 16 each.

Bradford were led by 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists from Richard Sulcs, and Andreas Lycoudis’ 22 points, as he went 5-for-11 from three. They dropped to 3-3 after starting the season with their best ever opening.

Dragons coach, Chris Mellor reflected on the weekend: “I was pleased with our effort level in both games but we had to come back from a big hole against Worthing and a poor last period was our undoing against Reading.”

Box score.

Barking Abbey Crusaders 67-80 Derby Trailblazers
Derby Trailblazers moved to 5-0 in second place in the table with a 67-80 victory over Barking Abbey in East London.


It was all Derby in the opening period, using a 21-5 run to take a commanding lead, but BA refused to let the game go. A 19-6 run in the third saw BA to pull within six, but Matt Ward-Hibbert immediately responded and BA wouldn’t be able to get closer then 8 the rest of the way.

Malcolm Smith was once again dominant, going 12-for-14 at the line for his 26 points, whilst Ward-Hibbert finished with 22 and Tre Wilford 15 points and 8 rebounds.

Head Coach Matt Shaw was also happy with the performance against a team which refused to give up the chase:

“It felt like we controlled both games pretty well. Credit to Barking though, because they battled hard and in the couple of times where it looked like we might pull away, they kept fighting back.

“They have some good young players. We knew we would have to match their energy and that would be hard coming so soon after the Leopards game, but I thought we did so for the most part.”

Tautvydas Meliaskas led BA with 12, whilst Jonathan Brown had 12 for BA, who fell to 1-4 in eleventh place in the table.

Manchester Magic 55-82 Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods
Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods bounced back from Saturday’s defeat with a 55-82 win over Manchester Magic.

Nottingham jumped out to an early lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way, as Hoods worked the glass and won every period on their way to victory.

Luke Mitchell, Cole Well and Tintin Watts led Nottingham with 16 each, whilst Josh Houghton’s 17 points led Manchester, with Jonathan Barnes adding a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Nottingham Head Coach Ryan Westley reflected on the weekend and commented: “Mixed emotions coming out of the weekend. Gutted about the Thames Valley loss, but delighted how the gents responded on Sunday.

“Luke Mitchell really stepped up as a leader and I was delighted with Cole (Welle) performance on Sunday. I’m looking forward to gaining some momentum in the coming weeks with some local derbies and home fixtures.”

NBL Division 2

Ipswich 77-103 Liverpool
Liverpool stayed undefeated at 4-0 atop of Division 2 with a 77-103 rout of Ipswich.

After Ipswich held an early lead, Liverpool fought their way back into the game before taking over in the second half.


David Ulph went off for 32 points, along with 14 rebounds, as Tyme Regent-Bascombe added 17 points, Jack Hudson had 16 to go with 15 assists, and Kenny Ogunneye added 14.

Ipswich were paced by rising big man Ethan Price’s 17-point, 10-rebound double-double, with Veron Eze adding 16.

“This was always going to be a tough game against a disciplined and very talented side, but we made things harder for ourselves by not taking care of the ball,” admitted Ipswich Head Coach John Ellis.

“I felt that we were still in the game after three quarters, but they showed their talent late on and they’re undefeated for a reason.”

Box score.

Sussex Bears 71-63 Myerscough College
Sussex Bears handed Myerscough their first loss of the season, with a 71-63 victory.

22 points-a-piece from Cordaris Townes and Bud Johnston saw Sussex improve to 2-2, as they held off a late rally from Myerscough that saw them regain the lead. Myerscough, however, would commit five turnovers and miss their final three shot attempts, allowing Sussex to close on a 14-3 run.


“It’s not a bad time in the year to maybe take a loss,” said Myerscough Head Coach Neal Hopkins. “It makes us remember what we’re doing and highlights some mistakes we need to fix. It’s tough in a way, but we can live and learn by it.”

Sanmi Fajana had 18 points to lead Myerscough, with Lewis McGlasson adding 14, as the visitors were without young star Mate Okros who was in the US on college visits.

Box score.

Westminster Warriors 88-63 London Westside
Westminster Warriors improved to 2-1 with an 88-63 win over London Westside.

The Warriors led by 19 at halftime and would cruise the rest of the way as Westside fell to 1-3 at the bottom of the table.

Justin Hitchman led Westminster with 16 points, with Arif Sempala adding 13 points and 5 steals, and Juan Manning 13 points. Player-Coach Jon J Johnson stuffed the stat-sheet with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.

London Westisde were led by 16 points from Levi Edwards and 12 from Tyrell Isaacs.

London Greenhouse Pioneers 87-75 Greenwich Titans
London Greenhouse Pioneers picked up their first win of the season with an 87-75 win over Greenwich Titans.

Holding a slim one point lead at halftime, Pioneers clamped down in the second half to hold off Greenwich.

Max Hufschlag once again led Pioneers with 22 points, supported by 19 points-a-piece from Kyle Diaz and Teni Mango.

Greenwich Titans were led by Arturo Noha-Pascual’s 23 points, whilst Ray Akpofure had 13 and Brandon Moncrieffe-Meade chipped in 12 points.

Box score.

NBL Division 3

Stoke on Trent Knights 90-58 Calderdale Explorers
University of Chester 101-63 Sheffield Sabres
Oxford Brookes University 69-77 Cardiff Met Archers
Team Solent Kestrels II 71-56 Barking Abbey
WLV Albion 53-62 Charnwood College Riders
Derby Trailblazers II 83-82 Team Sunderland
Cardiff City 88-96 Swindon Shock

NBL Division 4

Nottingham Trent Hoods 66-70 Coventry Flames
Warwickshire Hawks 80-65 Birmingham Mets II
University of Nottingham 83-76 Northants Thunder
Stockport Falcons 87-75 Tameside
Myerscough College II 102-90 Cheshire Wire
Doncaster Danum Eagles 81-57 Liverpool Stars
Canterbury Christ Church Saints 57-53 London Thunder Lewisham
Canterbury Academy Crusaders 92-81 Richmond Knights
Oxford Stealers 67-65 Gloucester Saxons
Dorset Storm 86-76 Surrey Rams
Barrow Thorns 58-94 Newcastle Eagles U23
Westminster Dragons 41-59 Southwark Pride
London United II 75-95 Chelmsford Lions

National Shield

Birmingham Mets 93-55 Oxford Stealers

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