PLAYOFF REVIEW - Top seeds safely through, while Myerscough grab an upset win in NBL Division Two!

NBL Division One

 (1) Team Solent Kestrels 100 v 71 (8) Leicester Warriors 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 8.00pm

Live Stats

The NBL Division One league champion Team Solent Kestrels safely progressed to the final four with a commanding victory over the 8th seeded Warriors, using a dominant first quarter to establish the cushion they needed to cruise into the semi-finals. A convincing performance on the defensive end saw the Kestrels limit Leicester to just 12 points in the first stanza, while the south coast hosts poured in 28 points of their own. The gap would only grow in the second as Team Solent pushed their lead out to 27 at the half, before the Warriors fought back to get the deficit to 20 points at multiple times throughout the third period. Unable to trim the lead and get themselves back into the game, the visitors saw the league champions push their lead out to as many as 30 points down the stretch, running away with a solid result.

Herm Senor II exploded for an impressive double-double of 28 points, 11 assists and five rebounds to pace Team Solent, while fellow US import Travis Charles added a dominant 21 points, 17 rebounds and two assists. The sharp-shooting Chris Scarlett came off the bench to knock down three triples en route to 13 points and three rebounds, while Elliott Dadds chipped in 12 points, four rebounds and two assists. Skipper Louie Kirkman rounded out the double figure contributors with 10 points and seven rebounds, while young Itchen star Jeremy Sochan offered seven points, four rebounds and two blocks in limited minutes. Taylor Johnson led Leicester with 21 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals, while Lamin Willan came off the bench to match his scoring output with 21 points, two rebounds and three assists. Martyn Gayle was the only other double digit scorer with 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Carl Pearson chipped in seven points, two rebounds and two assists off the bench. 


 (2) Worthing Thunder 107 v 85 (7) Essex Leopards 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 7.30pm

Live Stats

Worthing Thunder progressed to the semi-finals to face Loughborough in a repeat of the National Trophy final with a high-scoring home win over the Leopards, pulling away in the third quarter in a crowd-pleasing victory. A cagey start saw the two sides trading baskets, but the Thunder settled quicker to pull away for a double digit lead by the end of the first. The cushion would then fluctuate in the teens as the first half progressed, before a 14-3 run midway through the third stanza ended the game as a contest. With the lead out beyond 20 points, Coach Josh Goddard's side looked comfortable down the stretch as they passed the 100 barrier yet again this season - showing off their array of offensive weapons. A tougher matchup ahead sees the Riders enter the Thunderdome next weekend, with Coach Mark Jarram's side hoping to make amend for the Trophy loss back in February.

Zaire Taylor led all scorers with a near triple-double of 34 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Alex Owumi supported with 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Jorge Ebanks went scoreless from beyond the arc but still managed 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Ishmael Fontaine came off the bench for 15 points, two assists and two steals. Brendan Okoronkwo rounded out the double digit scorers with 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, as Worthing managed without Tom Ward to get the job done. Rory Winter knocked down five triples for the Big Cats to lead their scoring with 27 points and three rebounds, while Sam Newman offered 19 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in a near triple-double effort. Big man Lee Hodges finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Findlay Wood chipped in 13 points, three rebounds and six assists. 


 (3) Loughborough Riders 83 v 63 (6) Reading Rockets 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 2.00pm

Live Stats

In the early game of an exciting first day of NBL Division One playoff action, the Loughborough Riders punched their ticket to the final four with a determined comeback victory against Reading. The 6th seeded Rockets took an early advantage in this one, as Coach Alan Keane's side came out of the gates hot - opening up a double digit lead by starting on a 14-2 run. The hosts rallied to cut the lead to five to end the first, before a solid second stanza saw a Niall Harris bucket give them their first lead of the game towards the end of the period. Having led by a single point at the interval, Sydney Donaldson converted a layup to give Reading a six point cushion, but Loughborough responded with a 13-2 run over the rest of the quarter as they established an 11 point edge. The Riders' lead grew to 15 at the midpoint of the final period, but a triple from Trae Pemberton cut it to a 10 point gap with 2:06 remaining. However, Loughborough scored the next seven points of the contest unanswered from the foul line, before Reis Pinnock capped off a dominant second half performance with a dagger three-pointer that extended the lead to 20. The Riders will now head on the road to Worthing for the next round, hoping for a successful trip to the south coast in a repeat of the National Trophy final - aiming to book their spot in a third straight final this campaign. 

The Riders booked their place in semi-finals behind 15 points and four rebounds from National Cup final MVP Lucien Cristofis, while captain Jonas Dieterich supported with a massive double-double of 14 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Recent EABL Playoff final MVP Niall Harris came off the bench to add 14 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Reis Pinnock rounded out the double digit contributors with 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Danny Carter led the way for the Rockets in his final appearance for the club, as the long-time Reading man skippered the side with 19 points, five rebounds and two assists. Sydney Donaldson chipped in 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Adrian O'Sullivan offered eight points and two rebounds off the bench. Coach Mark Jarram and his squad had obviously done their homework on the explosive US import duo of AJ Carr and Trae Pemberton, as Carr was limited to just eight points and nine rebounds on 3-12 shooting, while Pemberton shot 2-17 on his way to seven points and five assists. 


 (4) Thames Valley Cavaliers 90 v 81 (5) Derby Trailblazers 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 6.00pm

Live Stats

Thames Valley Cavaliers made it four-from-four in terms of the top seeds progressing in the NBL Division One playoff first round as they outlasted a tough effort from the travelling Trailblazers down the stretch. In a game that was rarely separated by more than five points, it was the Cavs who took an early lead - getting the better of the visiting Derby side by jumping out to an early 11 point advantage. Coach Matt Shaw's squad quickly rallied and took an edge of their own before the first period came to a close, as the lead would then change hands back-and-forth until the third quarter break. With a single point lead heading into the final 10 minutes Coach Robert Banks' side pulled off an impressive final stanza on the offensive end to pour in 30 points; a scoring pace that the visitors just couldn't match as they fell behind at the crucial points down the stretch. Thames Valley have now punched their ticket to a road tie with Team Solent for a chance at a place in the playoff championship game, and will head into the game full of confidence after pinching one against the Kestrels earlier on this campaign.

Abdoulaye Sylla had a double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds to pace the Cavaliers, while Martelle McLemore added 22 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Bernard Hehetro came off the bench to offer 18 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while Aiden Saunders finished with a monster double-double of his own with 15 points, 16 rebounds and three assists. Matthew Ward-Hibbert came off the bench to lead the Blazers with 22 points, three rebounds and two assists in just 27 minutes, while Oli Stanley had a double-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. Tre-Shawn Wilford added a double-double of his own with 10 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, while Kayne King finished with eight points and six assists.


WNBL Division One

 (1) Bristol Academy Flyers 78 v 52 (8) Barking Abbey Crusaders 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

The top seeded Bristol Academy Flyers got things started in the WNBL Division One playoffs on Saturday afternoon with a confident victory over the young Barking Abbey squad. With the East Londoners having sat out the final three weeks of the regular season as results around them extended their season into April, it was clear that the early pace of this one was too much for them to handle. Coach Gareth Till's squad jumped out to an early double digit lead after an explosive 29 point first quarter, before extending their advantage to 20 points by the half to take full control. Coach Tope Alli-Balogun's visitors were not down and out just yet, trimming the lead to 13 by sparking an 11-4 run at the beginning of the third. The Flyers rallied to regain their composure behind some strong play from veteran guard Liisa Juul, heading into the final stanza leading by 20 once again. Despite competing well to start the final stanza, the wheels started to come off down the stretch for the road team when the short-handed Barking squad fell victim to a 9-1 run over the final three minutes as the game came to an end. 

Helping to earn Bristol their spot in the final four was 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals off the bench from Liisa Juul, while back-court partner Mai Zilbeti got it done on both ends with 14 points and four steals. Cristina Bigica offered 13 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while captain Fiona Fox finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists. Only shooting 1-4 on the afternoon, Flo Ward chipped in just two points, but controlled the game from the point guard position as she dished out eight assists to go with six rebounds and two steals. Jolicia Cadogan ended her season on a high with 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Barking, while Sade Orija contributed 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Yasmin Charles added seven points and six rebounds, while the visitors got five points and four assists from Ann Sheaia. 


 (2) Anglia Ruskin University 83 v 65 (7) Southwark Pride 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

The dominance of the top seeds in the WNBL playoffs continued with Anglia Ruskin cruising past Southwark to book their spot in the semi-finals, despite a competitive first quarter. Heading into this one as the underdogs, Coach Jackson Gibbons' side started strong in the early exchanges, even taking a four point lead late in the first period. The Rhinos responded with a 20-5 run that spanned the first quarter break, and never looked back as a Katarzyna Neininger layup gave the hosts their largest lead of the first half at 38-24. After a short dry spell for both teams, Khadija Conteh replied with a quick 7-0 flurry of scores for Southwark, trimming the lead to seven points at the half. A solid third period performance saw Coach Michael Hanson-Morris' side tighten up on the defensive end to edge further ahead, as an 11-2 run that spanned the final quarter break blew the game open. The young Pride squad never recovered as the Rhinos maintained their advantage down the stretch, despite strong late efforts from Maya Hyacienth and Megan Haines. 

Nadege Talva exploded for 25 points and six rebounds on 12-16 shooting to lead all scorers, while the Rhinos also got a strong 13 points, three rebounds and four assists effort from Jazmin Gyulai. Barbara Gonzalez Palacios came off the bench to chip in 12 points and three rebounds for the hosts, while captain Katrin Hulme finished with 12 rebounds to go with five points, four assists, three steals and three blocks. Megan Haines paced Southwark with 23 points and two assists, while Maya Hyacienth supported with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Khadija Conteh contributed 12 points and five rebounds off the bench for Coach Gibbons, while Jade Guidolin Duncan chipped in eight points in limited minutes. 


 (3) Team Solent Kestrels 89 v 70 (6) Ipswich 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 4.15pm

Live Stats

The third side to make the most of their home court advantage and progress to the WNBL Division One final four was the Team Solent Kestrels who used a dominant first quarter to book their place in the next round. Starting the game on a 12-2 run in the first four minutes, it was clear that the Kestrels were in a for a special offensive display, as they followed this up with another 12-4 run later in the period. Leading 31-15 as the second quarter began, the hosts were faced with a much more competitive period from Ipswich, who knuckled down to slow down the hosts' scoring, but weren't able to get the lead back to single digits at any point. After trimming the deficit to 54-43 early in the third, Ipswich saw the Kestrels go on a 10-0 run to their largest lead of the game to that point - a gap that they were unable to get back within 15 points as the game went away from them. Team Solent now head on the road to Anglia Ruskin in the second round, hoping to grab an upset to punch their ticket to Manchester.

Geena Gomez kept up her impressive scoring season by leading Team Solent with 20 points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals - having knocked down four three-pointers. Andrea Kurkowski provided key support with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Earleesha Jackson finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Krisztina Velkey added a near triple-double of 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Kristana Karpova came off the bench for 10 points and two rebounds. Harriet Welham led all scorers with 25 points and six rebounds for Ipswich, while Cameron Taylor-Willis provided 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Charlotte Redhead came off the bench for 12 points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Esther Little had eight points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. 


 (4) Loughborough Riders 63 v 58 (5) Reading Rockets 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 4.30pm

Live Stats

Following on from the Loughborough NBL Division One success against Reading, the Riders women then took to the floor to clinch a semi-final spot of their own - making it four-from-four in terms of the top seeds safely navigating the WNBL Division One playoff quarter-finals. The hosts were surprisingly able to lead from tip to buzzer in a back-and-forth game of runs, as they started the game emphatically with a 14-3 burst from the jump. Reading would tie the game up with an 11-0 run of their own, before Loughborough settled into the lead once again with a 12-3 spell. After the Rockets cut it to a five point game, the Riders sparked another 8-0 spurt to lead 35-22 - the 13 point advantage being their largest of the first half. The hosts came out of the half-time interval strong, extending their cushion to 16, before Coach David Sanchez' side rallied with an 11-0 run that cut it to five points just before the final quarter break. 

Monica Herranz De Antonio nailed a free throw with just under four minutes to play that cut the deficit to four points, but Holly Winterburn and Rebecca Morrison quickly responded with back-to-back scores to regain a nine point cushion. Maria Angeles Valdeolmillos Gomez knocked down a layup with just 49 ticks remaining that made it 60-55, but Imogen Cook, Megan Jones and Winterburn made enough of their free throws down the stretch to earn Loughborough the final four clinching victory - where the Riders will head on the road to the regular season champion Bristol Academy Flyers. 

Holly Winterburn led Loughborough with a monster effort of 19 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists and five steals, while Rebecca Morrison joined her in double digits with 10 points and three rebounds. Megan Jones offered a near double-double of nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and three blocks, while Alex Baker had a perfect game off the bench to chip in seven points. Monica Herranz De Antonio led the Rockets with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Andrea Gomez De La Vara came off the bench to knock down three triples and match her output with 13 points. Noa Sanchez Marques also came off the bench for an all-round effort of 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, while there was an impressive double-double from Anabel Latorre Ciria who finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds. 


NBL Division Two

 (1) Liverpool 103 v 72 (8) London Westside 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 5.00pm

Live Stats

Liverpool punched their ticket to the NBL Division Two final four with a convincing win to keep their hopes of a league and playoff double alive for this campaign. The dominant regular season champions came out of the gates fast in this one, pouring in 29 points in the first stanza, while limiting their visitors to just 11. The hosts' lead grew to as many as 38 points as they started the second stanza on a strong run, but Westside chipped away ahead of the interval to trail by 22 as the teams headed for the locker rooms. After getting the gap down below 20 points, the road squad faltered again midway through the third quarter as the Merseysiders added to their cushion once again - leading by 28 as the final 10 minutes rolled around. With little they could do to stop the free-scoring league champions, Westside saw Liverpool increase the lead to out past 30 points once again as they bowed out of the playoffs against a stronger side. 

Liverpool's dominant offensive outing saw all five starters starters hit double digits, led by 21 points and three steals, from Jack Hudson who went 8-11 from the field. David Ulph supported with 18 points and two rebounds, while young forward Dante Sofia also chipped in 18 points on 8-9 shooting. Mark Rangeley added 17 points having hit three triples, while Tyme Regent-Bascombe rounded out the double figure contributors with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. Donald Morris led all scorers with 21 points for Westside, while Santiago Leon offered 15 points off an efficient 7-7 from the floor. Abiodun Adedo backed up a huge game for St Charles College in the ABL playoff final to add 14 points and eight rebounds, while Mansour Mbye came off the bench to chip in eight points and three rebounds. 


 (2) Westminster Warriors 89 v 74 (7) East London All Stars 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 5.30pm

Live Stats

Westminster continues the trend of the top seeds safely making their way through into the semi-finals by coming away with a hard fought victory against cross-capital opposition. The Warriors started the game on a 10-0 run, quickly forcing a timeout from All Stars' Coach Dave Greenaway. The visitors got themselves on the board, but couldn't stem the tide of Westminster scoring - as the home side grew their lead to as many as 16 points before the first stanza came to a close. Utilising a 9-0 early in the second quarter, East London trimmed the deficit to three points, before a 10-0 run either side of the half-time interval gave the visitors their first lead of the game. A triple from Jonathan James was the source of the All Stars' first lead, followed up by Kyle Gouveia nailing two from the foul line to later make it 50-51. The Warriors responded to losing their advantage with a 16-3 run either side of the final quarter break, opening up a 74-60 lead that they would not relinquish. The lead was trimmed to single digits once again with four minutes to play, but an 8-3 run gave Westminster the breathing room they needed to take the win.

Player-coach Jon Johnson exploded for 34 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Juan Manning supported with 26 points, five rebounds and five assists. Justin Hitchman rounded out the major scorers for Westminster with 21 points and eight rebounds, as the 2nd seeded Warriors got over 91% of their points from their big three. Meanwhile, big man Kyle Gouveia came off the bench to lead East London with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Jonathan James offered 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Mark Manovan chipped in a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyler Johnson rounded out the double figure contributors with 10 points and two assists. Young guard Aaron Badibo came off the bench to add eight points and six rebounds in a crucial backup role. 


 (3) London United 95 v 60 (6) London Greenhouse Pioneers 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

A dominant victory for London United ensured they progressed from the second of the cross-capital playoff matchups, sending the Pioneers home after the first round of post-season play. Despite the uneven result, Greenhouse actually led in the early going of this one, getting the better of the opening action before their performance dwindled. Coach Daniel Szatkowski's side reacted well to an early deficit to take a 10 point lead before the quarter was over; the Pioneers got it back to single digits briefly in the second before their hosts blew the game open with a dominant run. Leading by 20 at the half, the home squad could have coasted their way into the semi-finals, but they kept going away from Greenhouse to lead by as many as 39 points before settling for their final 35 point cushion. Another trip across the city is in store for United as they enter the semi-finals with a road tie ahead against Westminster.

Kevin Szczawinski notched 18 points and two rebounds in just 17 minutes to lead a balanced United attack, while Marius Talijunas finished with a double-double of 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Daniel Szatkowski added 15 points, three rebounds and five assists, while Tomas Butrimas offered 14 points and six rebounds. Yonathan Napoleon almost had a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and two steals, while Khalil Afrasyab rounded out the six double digit scorers with 10 points and two assists. 18 points and 12 rebounds from Mbombo Yebga paced the Pioneers, while Timi Tinubu came off the bench for 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals as their other major contributor. 


 (4) Sussex Bears 50 v 77 (5) Myerscough College 

Saturday 6 April 2019 - 5.00pm

Live Stats

As the only bottom four seed to progress to the semi-finals, it was the 5th seeded Myerscough College who grabbed the result of the weekend on the road at Sussex to set up a short road trip to Liverpool in the final four. The 4th seeded hosts got the better of the early exchanges, as the Bears took advantage of a slow start by the travelling Myerscough side. However, Coach Neal Hopkins' squad were able to tie things up heading into the second stanza and even managed to hold a slender advantage when the first half came to a close. Two decisive runs came in the third period, when Myerscough first went on a 10-0 spurt to start the period, before another 12-0 burst later in the quarter gave the visitors a 20 point advantage. The travellers would hold this cushion down the stretch as Coach Gary Smith's squad couldn't cut into the deficit - giving Myerscough the single road upset of the first weekend of the NBL playoffs. 

David Walsh led Myerscough off the bench with 14 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Amari Williams finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Mate Okros added 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Callan Low contributed 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. US import forward Cordaris Townes led Sussex with 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, while Tomas Seduikis support with 17 points and four rebounds. James Felstead finished with nine points, 12 rebounds, three steals and seven blocks as the only other major contributor for the south coast side. 


Around the NBL Playoffs

Division Three Men

(N1) University of Chester 67 v 79 (S4) Essex Blades

(N2) Team Derby Spartans 89 v 83 (S3) Bristol UWE Flyers II

(S2) Team Solent Kestrels II 112 v 86 (N3) Derby Trailblazers II

(S1) London BC Medelynas 71 v 69 (N4) Team Birmingham Elite


Division Two Women

(N1) Nottingham Trent University 71 v 64 (S4) Brighton Basketball

(N2) Derby Trailblazers 69 v 63 (S3) West Herts Warriors

(S2) London 'South Bank' Thunder 75 v 76 (N3) Worcester Wolves

(S1) Thames Valley Cavaliers 72 v 52 (N4) Derbyshire Diamonds


Division Four Men

(SW1) Bristol Hurricanes 89 v 85 (SW3) RCT Gladiators

(SE4) Richmond Knights 75 v 85 (N2) Doncaster Danum Eagles

(SE1) Chelmsford Lions 85 v 67 (SW2) Huish Taunton Tigers

(M4) Nottingham Trent Hoods 67 v 83 (SE2) London Thunder Lewisham


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