- National Teams
A gap is starting to appear at the top of the BBL Championship, while the two teams at the bottom of the league are into the semi-finals of the Trophy.
Further league losses to Newcastle and London see the advantage in the hands of Leicester in the race for the title, while Cheshire went back-to-back-to-back in a big week for Ben Thomas’ side.
Latest results: BBL Championship: Phoenix 77-68 Wolves, Riders 83-75 Eagles, Phoenix 87-80 Lions, Wolves 78-98 Giants, Eagles 77-89 Sharks, Sharks 57-67 Phoenix, Giants 77-91 Riders – BBL Trophy: Scorchers 82-73 Kestrels, Lions 101-85 Eagles
From what looked like an intriguing three-horse race for the league title not long ago, is now becoming a commanding advantage for the Riders, who continue to quietly go about their business, though Geno Crandall is starting to turn the weekly Top 10 into a one-man highlight reel.
Crandall had 18-7-8 in an important eight-point win over Newcastle on Wednesday with Darien Nelson-Henry top scoring with 20 points. Rob Paternostro’s side then claimed a 14-point win away at Manchester as Corey Johnson poured in 24 points, and Crandall added a 20-8-8 line as they moved to 13-1 at the top.
Next game: v Worcester Wolves (H) – CH – 26th February
The good news: the Lions are marching on in the Trophy having knocked out both Newcastle AND Leicester already. The bad news: another league defeat has seen them lose ground in the league title race, although there’s still a long way to go.
London made a bright start to lead Cheshire by seven in the first, but the game swung in favour of the hosts and despite 24 points from Justin Robinson, his side dropped their second league game in their last three. The Lions bounced back in style on Monday as they finished strong to overcome the Eagles with 47 points coming from DeAndre Liggins and Orlando Parker. Now, a response is needed in the league this evening.
Next game: v Surrey Scorchers (A) – CH – 24th February
Things are starting to go awry for the Eagles. Albeit in amongst a tough schedule, three defeats in the space of five days saw their Trophy campaign end as well as further dents to their Championship hopes with Justin Gordon currently on the sidelines.
After an eight-point loss away at Leicester, Newcastle then suffered a second loss at home to Sheffield in as many weeks, despite 22 points from Evan Maxwell. The American forward then battled an injury of his own in the Trophy as the Eagles went down to a 16-point loss at the Copper Box, in Monday evening action.
Next game: v Cheshire Phoenix (H) – CH – 26th February
A week off for the Raiders with Ashley Hamilton in Podgorica as part of GB’s historic window, while Prince Ibeh was on international duty with Rwanda. Plymouth can set up a semi-final clash with Surrey in the Trophy if they overcome Worcester on the road before a league double-header with Glasgow.
Next game: v Worcester Wolves (A) – TRO – 24th February
The Sharks enjoyed another win in the North-East this month, but were then held to just 57 points in a double-digit loss to Cheshire to halt their momentum, and prevent a rise in our rankings after a strong run.
All five starters were in double figures for scoring against Newcastle with a game-high of 24 points from Jeremy Hemsley, while Jordan Ratinho put up 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Their lack of depth showed at home to the Phoenix with a 34% shooting night seeing both teams share an 8-7 league record.
Next game: v Manchester Giants (H) – CH – 26th February
Well, Well, Well. Three wins in the week for the Phoenix, including against two of the top four has seen them shoot up the league standings having taken their winning run to five games to move above .500 from a 3-7 start.
Cheshire started with a nine-point win over Worcester in mid-week before stunning London as MBA impressed against his former side, combining for 37 points off the bench alongside Mike McCall. The perfect week was complete with a 10-point success on the road against Sheffield as they dominated the final period 9-22 to overcome the hosts. A trip to the ECA awaits on Friday against a wounded Eagles side.
“ ’ .”
— Cheshire Phoenix (@CheshireNix) February 21, 2021
Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (A) – CH – 26th February
Lyle Hexom gone, and Breaon Brady has followed. But their departures were not felt as much when new arrival Jordan Satchell made an instant impact with 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists on debut in a 20-point – and much needed – victory on the road against Worcester.
Manchester then suffered a 14-point loss at home to the league-leading Riders with 20 points from Alex Ouandie. The Giants’ league form has left them looking over their shoulder having been dragged into the playoffs battle with a trip to Sheffield coming next on Friday night.
Next game: v Sheffield Sharks (A) – CH – 26th February
Having looked like they were about to start making a serious move following the long-awaited arrival of their American contingent, injuries have struck for the Wolves as they were left with just six senior players this past week on the road.
Jordan Williams had 19-9-4 having played all 40 minutes of their nine-point loss to Cheshire in mid-week before enduring another heavy load that saw late respite as Worcester were on the wrong end of a 20-point loss at home to Manchester as they now occupy the eighth and final playoffs spot.
Next game: v Plymouth Raiders (H) – TRO – 24th February
Surrey have been inconsistent at best this season, and were without Connor Cashaw and Tony Hicks as they hosted D1 side Solent Kestrels as the bookies underdogs in the Trophy. However, Creon Raftopoulos’ side stepped up to advance to the final four with a nine-point win at Surrey Sports Park.
Ryan Richards contributed 15 of 41 bench points for the Scorchers with Cameron Hildreth adding 14 points as a 19-10 second period allowed them to take control of the contest. Back in league action this week with trips to Bristol and Cheshire at the weekend after hosting London tonight.
Did someone say semi-finalists?
— Surrey Scorchers (@surreyscorchers) February 19, 2021
Next game: v London Lions (H) – CH – 24th February
A successful international window for Flyers trio Andreas Kapoulas, Teddy Okereafor and Ben Mockford as they helped GB qualify for EuroBasket 2022. Bristol host Surrey on Saturday in a big clash between two sides currently outside of the playoff positions.
Next game: v Surrey Scorchers (H) – CH – 26th February
No action this past week for the Rocks with player-coach Gareth Murray back on GB debut and returns to the BBL sidelines this weekend in a double-header against one of his former sides, Plymouth.
Next game: v Plymouth Raiders (A) – CH – 26th February
* Bristol Flyers 0-20 Surrey Scorchers – BBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
* Surrey Scorchers 20-0 Bristol Flyers – BBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
* Manchester Giants 0-20 London Lions – BBL Cup SF (COVID-19 regulations)
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