Division 1 Men playoff round-up
The Division 1 Men Final Four teams are confirmed after the playoff quarter finals were completed this weekend.
A dominating performance at Basildon Sporting Village saw BA London Leopards defeat Medway Park Crusaders 93-75
thanks to an impressive two triple-doubles recorded.
David Buchberger (22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) and Vernon Teel (16 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists) both achieved the milestone and for Teel it's becoming commonplace with Sunday's being his tenth of the season.
The Leopards' win (their 20th consecutive) was relatively straightforward having led from tip to buzzer.
Leopards' coach Dejan Mihevc was understandably delighted to see his team keep their hopes of a treble alive:
"We expected that Medway would try to play defence like they did so we were ready and our guys responded really well," he said.
"Our players did a very good job by playing hard and keeping it simple [and that's] what really mattered in this game.
"I know that Medway is probably disappointed like we would be if we [lost], but I want to congratulate them anyway for a good season and especially to coach James Vear who a very good job and I respect him a lot," said Mihevc.
Photos courtesy essexsportsagency.com
A big fourth quarter helped Bristol Academy Flyers through to the Final Fours after they defeated seventh seeded Reading Rockets 71-52
Roy Owen's deuce at the end of the third gave Flyers a five point lead (49-44) and from that point they held Rockets to a single bucket for nearly eight minutes. When Reading's Robbie Parker hit a three with just over two minutes left, the score was 67-49 to Bristol and the game was over.
Reading were hurt by their fouls, committing 23 to Bristol's 13, and they paid it for it as Flyers hit 23 of their 34 free throws.
Greg Streete led all scorers with 22 points, helped by his 10 of 12 shooting from the free throw line. Ryan Lohfink had 20 for Rockets in a losing cause.
Bradford Dragons had no answer for Rishi Kakad on Saturday as he poured in 40 points in the 83-72
quarter final win.
Like the Flyers-Rockets game, it was decided with a big fourth quarter and again it was the home club that came through. With the game tied at 54 at the end of three periods, Blazers scored 29 points in the fourth to Dragons' 18 and booked their place in the Final Fours.
Kakad, who is normally scorching from outside the arc, was only 2 of 8 on Saturday but his free throw shooting was excellent (10/11) and he shot 58% from the floor.
Bradford, who only had seven players for the game, were led by Vance Silcott (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Chris McGrew (18 points, 9 rebounds) and their coach Chris Mellor said after the game:
"I thought we played a good game for three quarters but our defence just wasn't good enough in the last ten minutes and we struggled to make shots.
"Kakad was outstanding for them and Gayle made a couple of dagger triples at the end.
"My guys have been outstanding this season and apart from a couple of games have shown up to play every night, given everything they have and that’s all you can ask."
Photo courtesy Alan Mousley
A close game in the south of England saw the only Division 1 Men quarter final game that didn't go with the formbook as visitors Leicester Warriors defeated fourth-place Worthing Thunder 86-79
Thunder were punished by Leicester in the turnover department, committing 25 to Warriors' 10, and as a result the visitors recorded 16 steals leading to several easy baskets.
Eugene Pettway's 27 was tops amongst five Warriors to reach double figures in the quarter final while Hank Rivers had another monster double-double for Worthing with 25 points and 17 rebounds.
"Leicester were all over us and we at times felt under pressure," Thunder coach Gary Smith said. "They ran us off the court, no excuses, we didn't show up. There were times where we played great basketball, but they never let us settle, they were physical and just wanted it more, nothing else to say about it to be honest."
"I don't care about the double-double," said Hank Rivers. "We are a team and we wanted to go to the semi-finals then all the way. We had a team that were capable of winning it all and it's sad that it had to end this way.
"There were times this season where you wish you could have done better, this is definitely one of them, but there is nothing we can do about it now. Just got to work harder during the summer months and learn from your mistakes."