REVIEW - Loughborough do the double as the National Cup final match-ups are set!

NBL Division One

 Derby Trailblazers 72 v 83 Thames Valley Cavaliers 

Saturday 8 December 2018 - 2.30pm

Live Stats

Despite breaking their losing streak last week against the Manchester Magic, the Derby Trailblazers suffered a loss at home this weekend to the visiting Thames Valley Cavaliers. The Cavaliers now improve to 6-3 to break into the top four for the first time this season. The winning Cavaliers established an early lead with the Blazers fighting hard throughout the game to keep it close. Despite closing the gap to just 4 points in the final quarter, it was not enough for Coach Matt Shaw’s side who struggled to keep the Cavaliers from scoring inside the paint.

"The loss is obviously frustrating, but we showed real fighting spirit, cutting the lead to single figures several times in the final quarter, but just couldn’t seem to get our noses in front," admitted Blazers assistant coach Paul Bowen.

"The key things to learn from that game are we have to find a way to do a better job on the glass and also improve our perimeter shooting. That said, we are looking forward to the trip to Worthing this weekend and hope to close the year out with a win against what a side which will be very tough opposition."

The Cavaliers' victory was lead by reigning NBL Division Two MVP Martelle McLemore, who dropped 28 points and dished out 6 assists whilst shooting 54% from the field. His efforts were matched by Cavaliers big man Elliott Defreitas who had a monster performance inside adding 22 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks. Abdoulaye Sylla’s double-double was also a strong contributing factor to the team's win, as he finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. In the Blazers’ loss, Malcolm Smith led the way with an impressive double-double scoring a game-high 32 points and snatching 10 rebounds. Teammate Tre-Shawn Wilford also contributed with 11 points and 8 rebounds, whilst Kayne King had a good effort across the board with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists.


 Barking Abbey Crusaders 76 v 80 Leicester Warriors 

Saturday 8 December 2018 - 6.00pm

Live Stats

Coming off a strong performance last weekend with 19 points, new signing Raphel Thomas-Edwards helped to bolster the Leicester line-up on Saturday, giving the Warriors a much-needed win against Barking Abbey. The talented small forward dropped a massive double-double, leading everyone on the floor in points and rebounds with 31 and 14, whilst Jamal Lewis assisted his new teammate with a respectable near double-double of  12 points and 9 rebounds. Alex Wilson also had 10 points off the bench to add to coach Karl Brown’s victory.

The East Midlands side had suffered some narrow loses in recent weeks, so a narrow victory was a sigh of relief after Saturdays game. The Warriors established a commanding double-digit lead in the first half thanks to the efforts of new signing Raphel Thomas-Edwards. The Crusaders attempted a comeback in the third quarter sparked by another strong performance by Ade Adebayo scoring 18 points and dropping 8 assists whilst shooting 61% from the field. Teammates Jonathan Brown and Chris Feeney also contributed double figures with 15 and 16 points, as well as a solid performance off the bench for Nathaniel Powell who scored 9 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Coach Lloyd Gardner's side kept the game close until the final minutes but ultimately finished with another narrow loss. 


Manchester Magic 81 v 94 Worthing Thunder 

Saturday 8 December 2018 - 6.30pm

Live Stats

Coach Simon Fisher made his coaching debut this weekend for the Manchester Magic following the departure of Head Coach Aurimas (Ollie) Verbukas. The North-West side faced a tough match up against the 8-2 visiting Worthing Thunder who were placed second in the standings and looking to maintain their position near the top of the table. The Thunder had a long journey up North but that didn’t seem to stop them from establishing a confident 10-point lead in the first half thanks to the impressive scoring efforts of Alex Owumi. The Magic then trailed as much as 16 in the third quarter before Coach Fisher’s side made an impressive comeback, cutting the lead to just 4 points heading into the fourth. However it wasn’t enough, as the Thunder pulled away in the fourth quarter with the help of Zaire Taylor’s 8 points in just 8 minutes.

Alex Owumi led all scorers with an impressive 34 points and 12 rebounds, whilst teammates Jorge Ebanks and Tom Ward both added double figures with 19 and 16, respectively. Ebanks also completed his double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds. The Magic were lead by starting guard Josh Houghton who had an equally impressive 30 points. Forward Richard Bell also made a strong contribution towards Magic’s comeback efforts with a double-double off the bench scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, whilst Andre Gayle and Loick Pouale both added double figures with 14 points each. 

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 Nottingham McDonald's Hoods 71 v 76 Reading Rockets 

Saturday 8 December 2018 - 7.30pm

Live Stats

In the final game of the quiet NBL Division One weekend, the Reading Rockets sealed the deal on the road against the Nottingham McDonald's Hoods. After a victory over Barking Abbey last weekend, Coach Alan Keane’s squad made it two wins in a row in a close battle down to the wire with neither team managing to hold a lead for very long. The Rockets established a lead half way through the third that the Hoods couldn’t quite get back. The game remained close right up until the final buzzer until captain Danny Carter sealed the deal at the free throw line to put the Rockets up 5 for the final result.

Cole Welle led all scorers with 21 points and shot 60% from the field, whilst Delaney Powell added 19 for the Hoods and Aaron Maher added 12 points off the bench. Sydney Donaldson led the way for the Rockets with 19, whilst teammates Trae Pemberton and AJ Carr both had double figures with 18 and 14 points, respectively.


Men's National Cup

 Essex Leopards 70 v 81 Team Solent Kestrels 

Sunday 9 December 2018 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

In the first of the two Men's National Cup semi-finals this weekend, Team Solent Kestrels grabbed the win over Essex Leopards back at their former full-time home at the Brentwood Centre. Both teams battled for wining position but the Leopards 27 turnovers came back to haunt them in the fourth when the South Coast team went on a 12-0 run to start the period, putting them up as much as 18 points which proved too much for the Leopards to crawl back from.

Leopards’ coach Thomas Baker had mixed emotions after the game, "Overall I am proud we got to a semi-final in our first season together, having said that once we got there I am gutted for us that we couldn’t get to the final" he said.

"We showed we can go toe-to-toe with the best team in this division which gives me pride and excitement as to what we can achieve this year, however the result serves as harsh reminder that we must play our style for 40 minutes if we are to beat the best teams this league has to offer."

"Credit to Coach Guymon and Solent, they punished us when we turned the over ball and it cost us in key moments. We will regroup and improve this week as we look to close out this first half of the season with good performances against two tough teams in Thames Valley and Reading Rockets."

Sam Newman, Leopards' captain, couldn’t hide his disappointment after the defeat, "This wasn’t the performance or score we were looking today" he admitted.

"Credit to Solent, who showed why they’ve had success early on in this season. We went away from what had made us successful in our recent games so we’ll be looking to put in some good performances in our double header next week."

The Kestrels were led by Travis Charles’ impressive double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds, whilst teammates Elliott Dadds added 14 points and Herm Senor II finished with a near triple double with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. For the Leopards, Luke Mascall-Wright had a team-high 21 points shooting 61% from the field, whilst fellow teammate Asante Sandiford added a near double-double scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. The Kestrels advance to the final where they will play Loughborough Riders on Sunday 20 January at the Essex Sport Arena. 


Loughborough Riders 90 v 89 Hemel Storm 

Sunday 9 December 2018 - 4.30pm

Live Stats

The home side Loughborough Riders ultimately clinched the victory this Saturday in a nail-biting finish that gives them their sixth straight win and advances them into the Men's National Cup final against Team Solent Kestrels on Sunday 20 January. The Riders spent most of the game playing catch up to the Storm who led by double digits on several occasions. The Storm seemed to surge ahead every time the Riders came close to closing the gap, however their persistence payed off after an impressive fourth quarter comeback from being down 13 points with just over 5 minutes to play. A huge 3 pointer from Lucien Cristofis and a made lay-up by Niall Harris cut the lead to 1 point with just over one-minute left to play. Alex Roberts then sealed the deal with a game winning lay-up that gave Riders their 1 point victory with 13 seconds left in the game.

Riders’ victory can also be attributed to a solid team effort resulting in five of their players scoring in double figures, with Niall Harris leading the team with 19 points off the bench. Reis Pinnock also added a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds whilst Alex Roberts had 13 points and dropped 9 assists. Blayne Freckleton and Leome Francis led the way for Hemel Storm with Freckleton leading all scorers with 25 points and a big double-double from Francis who had 24 points and 11 rebounds. Bode Adeluola also contributed a respectable 11 points off the bench.


WNBL Division One

 Southwark Pride 67 v 59 Ipswich

Sunday 9 December 2018 - 2.20pm

Live Stats

In the battle of the two mid-table teams this weekend in Central London, the Southwark Pride grabbed the win over Ipswich, solidifying their place directly above them in the league table. Despite the game starting off close, the Pride pulled away with a convincing lead in the third quarter that coach Nick Drane and his Suffolk-based side couldn’t recover from.

Megan Haines dominated the floor dropping 30 points for the Pride and leading all scorers, whist her teammate Jade Guidolin Duncan, who led the way last weekend against Sevenoaks, contributed a solid 10 points to help her side seal the victory for coach Jackson Gibbons. For the visiting Ipswich side, scoring was shared amongst Danielle Cazey who dropped 16 points, Charlotte Redhead with 17 points and last weeks top scorer Harriet Welham who could only add 15 on the night as she struggled from the three point line.


Women's National Cup

Anglia Ruskin University 54 v 58 Reading Rockets 

Sunday 9 December 2018 - 3.30pm

Live Stats

The first match of the Women's National Cup semi-final stage this weekend saw the second-placed reigning WNBL Division One playoff champions Anglia Ruskin University play host to Reading Rockets, with the visiting squad ultimately clinching the victory. The game was close throughout with both teams exchanging the lead all the way through to the end of the third quarter. The game changer came from Rockets’ Monica Herranz de Antonio who hit a 3 pointer to give her side the lead with just over 5 minutes left in the game, a deficit that the home side struggled to recover from.

Herranz de Antonio led all scorers with 18 points for the Rockets whilst her teammate Candela Hermida Nunez added a respectable 13 points. For the Rhinos, the regular performers did their job for coach Matt Harber with Nadege Talva dropping 12 points and Katrin Hulme contributing a solid 9 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Najha Treadwell and Katarzyna Neininger also added 9 points each respectably.


 Team Solent Kestrels 58 v 60 Loughborough Riders 

Sunday 9 December 2018 - 5.30pm

Live Stats

The other side of the draw in the Women's National Cup semi-finals saw the third-placed Team Solent Kestrels fall short to fourth-placed Loughborough Riders this weekend, in a close battle on the south coast. Almost exactly like their men’s team who played Hemel Storm in the National Cup semi-final this same weekend, Loughborough found themselves trailing by double digits in the third quarter before cutting the lead to 10-points going into the fourth. The Riders fought back consistently throughout the final period and forced some important turnovers to cut the lead to 1 with just over 30 seconds left. An important block from Megan Jones then ignited Hannah Dawson on the offensive end who put Loughborough up 1 point at the free throw line. The Kestrels kept things tense with a pair of made free throws from Geena Gomez but it wasn’t enough, as Riders sealed the victory for coach Krumesh Patel.

The Riders were led in scoring by Imogen Cook with 12 points and Niamh Kelshaw with 10 points. Kristztina Velkey led all scorers for Team Solent with a game-high 15 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, whilst Geena Gomez, Kristina Karpova and Andrea Kurkowski each added double digits respectably in their close defeat.


NBL Division Two

Greenwich Titans 90 v 108 Liverpool

Saturday 8 December 2018 - 3.00pm

Live Stats

Liverpool continued their dominance that has been evident throughout this NBL Division Two campaign, as the North West side improved to 9-0 with a commanding road win over Greenwich Titans. The Titans head into the Christmas break with a 1-6 record, not the start that Coach Ashley Thomas will have been looking for following the Londoners promotion into the second tier. The game started off close with the two sides trading leads throughout the first half. The Merseyside squad made their mark towards the end of the third quarter when they pulled away for a double digit that would not be relinquished. 

Kaphel Ulett-Waul had his best game for Liverpool since his mid-season move back from the Manchester Magic, shooting 62% from the field as he poured in 32 points to lead all scorers. Tyme Regent-Bascombe added 21 points and 2 rebounds, while Mark Rangeley matched his teammate's output as he chipped in 21 points of his own. James Lench and Reiss Haggith rounded out the double figure scorers for coach Delme Herriman, as they contributed 15 and 11, respectively. Liverpool grabbed the win without notable starters David Ulph, Jack Hudson and Kenny Ogunneye. Arturo Noah-Pascual led the Titans' effort with 23 points and 4 rebounds, while Ray Akpofure followed up his scoring explosion from last weekend with a 21 point and 2 rebound outing. Carl Williams chipped in 17 points and Jake Murphy contributed 10 points off the bench.


 London Westside 73 v 101 Sussex Bears

Saturday 8 December 2018 - 6.15pm

Live Stats

The Sussex Bears picked up their third win of the season and snapped a two-game losing streak with a confident victory over London Westside on Saturday evening. The hosts would have their share of the lead early on, before the visitors from the south coast put together punishing runs to start and end the second period, leading by 15 points at the half. Coach Gary Smith's side saw the game out in the latter stages with a solid defensive effort in the second half, pulling away at the end for a blow-out win. Westside drop to 2-6 on the season and will need to pick up a couple of results before they see themselves join Greenwich at the foot of the standings. 

The Sussex win was led by an impressive effort from Cordaris Townes who shot 16-27 from the field to pace his squad with 39 points, while also grabbing 11 rebounds. Luke Moore came off the bench to 18 points and 5 rebounds, while Bradley Bennett had a double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds, adding 4 assists for the game. Captain Dominic Baker was also a key factor as he finished with 16 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Leading the way in the Westside loss was Levi Edwards who finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals, while Stefan Campbell contributed 21 points and 3 rebounds. 


 London Greenhouse Pioneers 89 v 60 East London All Stars

Sunday 9 December 2018 - 1.30pm

Live Stats

After their recent success in an undefeated November, the London Greenhouse Pioneers did the double as Predrag Krneta and Max Hufschlag picked up Coach and Player of the Month, respectively. The Pioneers kept up their winning streak with a victory in this one that saw their visitors never really threaten, especially after a second quarter that saw the hosts outscore the All Stars 24-9 as they built a 16 points half-time lead. The Pioneers now sit tied for second place with Westminster Warriors, while East London fall to seventh place with a 3-5 record. 

Kyle Diaz led the way for Coach Krneta with 22 points, while Player of the Month Hufschlag kept up his impressive play with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Adam Raji and Francesco Rinaldi both pulled down 9 rebounds, with Raji adding 13 points and Rinaldi finishing with 10 points and 5 assists. Jonathan James had a team-high 18 points and 6 rebounds to lead Coach Dave Greenaway's squad, while Seun Bashua-Olaofe chipped in 13 points and 6 rebounds. 


Derbyshire Arrows 88 v 71 Myerscough College 

Sunday 9 December 2018 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

Heading into this one a little short-handed due to a clash with an important Under 18 Men's National Cup tie down in Haringey, Myerscough College came up a little short in their efforts to grab a Sunday afternoon win in Derbyshire. A tense start to the game would be blown wide open by the Arrows as they went on a dominant run to end the first period. Holding a double-digit lead that they would never relinquish, the East Midlands side entered the second stanza high on confidence as they only built on their lead as the game progressed. A sharp run to start the fourth quarter showed signs of life from the visitors, but it was too little, too late as the Arrows held on to improve to 3-5 as Myerscough now drop out of the top four with a 4-6 record. 

Leading the Arrows on the day was none other than Joseph Baugh who continues his impressive form with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Matt Wilson and George Brownell added 18 apiece for Coach Jonny Kelly, while Callum McKenzie chipped in 12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in an all round effort. Myerscough sharp-shooter David Walsh struggled from behind the arc, but led the North West side's charge with 21 points and 4 rebounds. Sam Keita added 18 points and 9 rebounds for a near double-double, while Rayon Brown rounded out the double figure scorers for Coach Neal Hopkins with 11 points and 5 rebounds.


For full Scores & Schedules from this weekend's action, click the link below: