Leopards Climb to Fifth with Double Win - NBL Round Up, Week 20 - Hoopsfix.com

Leopards Climb to Fifth with Double Win – NBL Round Up, Week 20

Asante Sandiford

It was a quieter weekend around the NBL with Senior Finals on Sunday, where Worthing Thunder took the National Trophy title, Westminster Warriors defended the Patrons Cup, and University of Chester picked up the National Shield.

In league play, Essex Leopards continued their recent run of good form, picking up back-to-back wins to climb to fifth in the table.

Here’s a round up of all the action:

NBL Division 1

Leicester Warriors 91-90 Hemel Storm
Leicester Warriors thwarted Hemel’s attempts of a three game winning streak using late free throws to seal a 91-90 victory over Hemel Storm.

With the score tied, Warriors’ American guard Taylor Johnson was fouled as he drove to the basket, sinking his first attempt but missing the second to seal a one point victory.

Hemel trailed 68 – 73 going into the final period but their free-flowing offence helped
them fight back and send the game into its dramatic climax. A Bode Adeluola lay-up with less than a minute remaining gave the visitors an 89 – 87 edge, he converted again at the line to increase their lead to 3, before a Johnson triple tied it up to set up the finish.

Johnson finished with 31 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists, whilst Raphell Thomas-Edwards had 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead Leicester, and Martyn Gayle added 15.

Hemel were led by 25 points from TrayVonn Wright, 22 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists from Bode Adeluola, 16, 8 and 7 from Levi Noel and Blayne Freckleton having 12.

Hemel Head Coach Robert Youngblood: “We have the potential to be a much better defensive team than we’re showing and that will be our focus from here on in.

“Right now we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves at the offensive end and although we’re very capable of scoring well, it’s a tough way for us to win because our defensive lapses are constantly giving opponents the chance to stay with us.

“We’ve just got to lock down on defence in our remaining games and do all of those little things that make such a big difference to winning and losing.”

Box score.

Bradford Dragons 90-104 Derby Trailblazers
Derby Trailblazers won their fourth straight with a 90-104 road win over Bradford Dragons, as they continue their downward spiral with a sixth straight defeat.

It was an all-round team performance from the Blazers, who were without Head Coach Matt Shaw due to illness and four bench players who were away with the division three squad, as Trailblazers climb to fourth in the table.

Malcolm Smith finished with 19 points, while Tre Wilford missed only one shot on his way to 19 points, and 5 steals.

However, the stand out performer Kayne King, who led the backcourt to finish with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists. Matt Ward-Hibbert added 16 points, Isa Brandon had 15 and Oli Stanley 13.

“That was one of the best games I have ever seen Kayne play,” enthused Derby’s Performance Analyst, Jake Brown.

“He played selflessly and was a key part to the success of our offences, getting the ball in people’s hand at the right times.

“Our fast paced game tired them out quickly and kept the Bradford side on the back foot, due to their six man key rotation.”

After Bradford’s Jermayne Laing got ejected following a double tech in the third quarter, it sparked a 13-5 run, to take a 17 point lead into the fourth, leading by as many as 24.

Bradford were led by 26 points and 11 rebounds from Rihards Sulcs, 19 points and 6 assists from Rafael Saipe, and 15 and 13 rebounds from Ricky Fetske, but giving up 25 points off 23 turnovers was always going to be hard to recover from.

Bradford Head Coach Chris Mellor reflected on his team’s performance, stating:

“They (Derby) created a lot of easy opportunities with their defence, and we did a poor job of taking care of the ball. Some parts of our game were positive but we need to put four good quarters together.”

Box score.

Barking Abbey Crusaders 71-75 Nottingham McDonalds Hoods
Nottingham McDonalds Hoods escaped with a 75-71 victory over Barking Abbey to improve to 8-9 in eighth place.

Following a blistering start from Nottingham, where they poured in 29 points in the first quarter, BA fought back, sparked by Robin Bedford. The third quarter was a back and forth affair, until Nottingham gained a five point cushion with 22 seconds remaining.

Kyle Carey hit a huge three on the next possession to make it a two point game with 12 seconds left, but Nottingham were able to ice it at the line with free throws from Delaney Powell.

Cole Welle had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead Nottingham, and Delaney Powell was the only other player in double figures with 17.

“It’s good to get back to winning ways against a talented BA squad,” Nottingham head Coach Ryan Westley commented.

“It’s been a tough few weeks; guys executed when we needed to today.”

Barking Abbey were led by 23 points from Robin Bedford, Jonathan Brown had 15 points and Kyle Carey had 13.

Box score.

Manchester Magic 63-87 Essex Leopards
Essex Leopards took control in the second half and registered an 87-63 win over Manchster Magic.

After winning each of the first two quarters by three points, a strong show in the second second half, particularly in the fourth, where a 13-2 run in the final five minutes ended any chance of a comeback from the young Magic side.

It was Essex captain Sam Newman who led the way with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 13 assists and 4 steals. Asante Sandiford also finished with 19 points, adding 6 rebounds and 5 assists, while Lee Hodges finished with a 14 point, 12 rebound double-double.

Darrell Bethune marked his first game in a Leopards’ kit with 12 points and a couple of steals in 20 minutes off the bench.

Manchester were led by 15 and 12 rebounds from Jonathan Barnes, whilst Ryan Lewis had 12 and Richard Bell 11 points and 10 rebounds, but they fall to 1-17 in bottom place.

Box score.

Barking Abbey Crusaders 76-77 Thames Valley Cavaliers
Walid Mumuni converted a three point play with 1.2 seconds remaining to give Thames Valley a 76-77 victory over Barking Abbey.

After Ade Adebayo had hit a tough fall away in the lane at the other end to put BA up by two with 26 seconds remaining, Mumuni received the ball in the corner and pulled up for a long two whilst Adebayo caught him for a foul.

Mumuni converted the free throw to give Cavaliers the win, improving to 11-4 in third place in their debut season in NBL Division 1.

Abdoulaye Sylla had 30 points and 13 rebounds to lead Thames Valley, whilst Martelle McLemore had 12.

Barking Abbey were led by 18 points and 10 rebounds from Jonathan Brown, 13 from Robin Bedford and 11 from Ade Adebayo, as Nathaniel Powell added 13 rebounds.

BA fell to 6-12 in 10th place.

Box score.

Essex Leopards 93-78 Reading Rockets
Essex Leopards made it two wins from two this weekend cruising to a 93-78 win over Reading Rockets.

Leopards blew the game open in a strong second period, outscoring the visitors 25-14 to take control, and they never looked back as they wrapped up their tenth league win of the campaign.

Asante Sandiford just missed out on a triple double with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists, Sam Newman dished out another 8 assists to go with his 16 points, while Lee Hodges and Findlay Wood each had 8 rebounds to go with 15 and 10 points, respectively.

“In the middle of November, with the team sitting bottom of the league after losing our first five games I did wonder if we’d done the right thing by accepting a late promotion to Division One” Essex General Manager Dave Ryan commented.

“But the way Tom [Baker], Roger and the team have turned things has been fantastic to watch. Even with additional signings, they’ve still coped with adversity and the loss of a couple of players, but ten wins in the last 13 games is title chasing form for half a season and instead of worrying about relegation, we’re now looking at a place in the play-offs.

“This weekend showed the progress we’ve made because, after a long trip to Manchester on Saturday, we could easily have been sluggish with an early tip-off against Reading, but we gave another great 40-minute performance and thoroughly deserved the win.”

Reading were led by 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists from Sydney Donaldson, AJ Carr had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists and Trae Pemberton had 11, but they fall to 9-7 in seventh place.

“Sunday’s loss to Essex was a disappointing result and outcome for us but there were moments of really positive play,” Reading Head Coach Alan Keane commented.

“We will take those moments and try to build on them and move forward accordingly. The key thing for us is everyone needs to be accountable to defence and that’s starts with on ball defence and defending the ball together.

“This is our urgent focus this week and we will look to make steps with this ahead of the visit of a good Bradford team this weekend.”

Box score.

NBL Division 2

London Westside 82-86 Liverpool
Liverpool improved to 13-0 with a four point escape, 82-86, over London Westside.

Westside had trailed by as many as 22 before a furious fourth quarter rally that ultimately fell short.

David Ulph led Liverpool with 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting, Mark Rangeley had 16 and Kaphell Ulett-Waul had 14.

London Westside were led by 16 points apiece from Mansour Mbye and Donald Morris, but they fell to 2-11 at the bottom of the table.

Box score.

Greenwich Titans 94-64 London Greenhouse Pioneers
Greenwich Titans picked up a 94-64 upset rout of London Greenhouse Pioneers, for their third win of the season.

Jake Murphy led Greenwich with 22 points, with 14 points from Arturo Noha-Pascual.

Greenhouse were led by 15 points apiece from Lisandro Lussenhoff and Mbombo Yegba.

Myerscough College 70-67 Sussex Bears
Myerscough College won their third consecutive with a 70-67 victory over Sussex Bears.

Callan Low came up big down the stretch on his way to 10 points, with 17 from Amari Williams and 11 from David Walsh, as Myerscough improved to 7-6 in fifth place.

Callan Low’s hot shooting down the stretch saw him lead the Myerscough effort with 18 points, supported by 17 points from Amari Williams and 11 points from David Walsh.

Cordaris Townes had 18 points to lead the Bears, while Tomas Seduikis chipped in 13 points and Bradley Bennett finished with 12 points, as Sussex fell to 7-6.

London United 83-74 East London All Stars
London United moved back to .500 (6-6) with a 83-74 win over East London All Stars.

Modestas Krasauskas led United with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, Marius Talijunas had a double-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, while Daniel Szatkowski added 14 points.

East London were led by 24 points from Aaron Badibo, while Kyle Gouveia added 18 points.

Box score.

NBL Division 3

Team Derby Spartans 115-78 Sheffield Hallam Sharks
Team Sunderland 86-80 Derby Trailblazers II
Calderdale Explorers 95-79 Stoke-on-Trent Knights
Swindon Shock 91-67 Cardiff City
Barking Abbey 46-87 Team Solent Kestrels II
Cardiff Met Archers 91-76 Oxford Brookes University

NBL Division 4

Northants Thunder 62-67 University of Nottingham
Stockport Falcons 75-72 Liverpool Stars
Newcastle Eagles U23 84-63 Myerscough College II
London Thunder Lewisham 68-49 Anglia Ruskin University
Canterbury Academy Crusaders 112-39 Westminster Dragons
Canterbury Christ Church Saints 53-84 Richmond Knights
Surrey Rams 67-90 Dorset Storm
Oxford Stealers 96-65 RCT Gladiators
Coventry Flames 69-75 Nottingham Trent Hoods
Tameside 55-59 Kingston Panthers
London United II 73-64 Hemel Storm II

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