2021-22 BBL Trophy starts off with a bang

The 2021-22 BBL Trophy kicked off with a bang in a night that saw cup upsets and one of the early favourites knocked out in Friday’s Trophy opener.

Bristol Flyers knocked out BBL Cup finalists Leicester Riders in an excellent performance, whilst Surrey Scorchers were stunned by Derby Trailblazers and Glasgow Rocks overcame Solent Kestrels.

In the night’s only all-BBL clash, the Flyers came up against a Leicester Riders side fresh off the bounce of securing their place in the BBL Cup final later in the month. The Riders would fall at the first hurdle in the trophy as the Flyers put in an excellent display to progress to the next round.

Bristol held the Riders to only 10 points in both the first and third quarters, with the latter period putting the Flyers in a commanding position as they pulled out to a 15-point lead with only 10 minutes remaining.

The defending league champions fought back with a vengeance to come within a score of Bristol with seconds remaining, however the Flyers held on to earn a well-deserved victory.

Raphell Thomas-Edwards led all scorers with 18 points for Bristol whilst Marcus Evans stuffed the stat line with 17 points, six rebounds and five assits.

Blazers on fire

Surrey Sports Park played host to an early Trophy shock as NBL D1 side Derby Trailblazers stunned Surrey Scorchers in an incredible offensive display.

The Trailblazers erupted for 60 first half points and were led by the mightly impressive duo of Malcolm Smith and Blake Bowman to take a commanding lead into halftime. The final period again threatened a comeback from the Scorchers however the Trailblazers held on for a famous victory.

Smith led all scorers with 36 points and 12 rebounds in a monster performance, whilst Bowman ended the ballgame with 25 points of his own.

Kestrels downed

The evening’s final game saw Glasgow Rocks overcome NBL side Solent Kestrels, in another tie that saw a D1 side more than hold their own against a BBL side.

The Rocks started the game strongly and threatened to run away with the tie after a 22-15 first period, however the Kestrels found their footing on the offensive end and outscored the Rocks in the second half as Glasgow set up a second-round tie with either fellow D1 sides Thames Valley or Hemel.

Ali Fraser led all scorers with 26 points and seven rebounds whilst Cole Gentry led the Kestrels with 17 points

Looking to build momentum ahead of their return to action in the BBL Championship with a crunch fixture against the Surrey Scorchers next week, the Plymouth City Patriots blew Basketball Wales away with a commanding performance in Round One on Sunday.

With six Patriots notching double-digit scoring totals across the 40 minutes, Plymouth bagged the bulk of their points in the first half with 70 in total after 20 minutes to the Welsh side’s 29, with the duo of Kofi Josephs and Denzel Ubiaro combining for 42 points overall for the hosts.

The visitors looked more comfortable in the second half and gave the Patriots more of a battle as Wales found their range from the perimeter, but the damage was done in the first half by Coach Paul James’ side and his Patriots saw out a comfortable win to book a place in the next round and build some vital momentum ahead of next week’s Championship showdown with Surrey.

Giants walk tall

Lloyd Gardner’s Manchester Giants continued their fine form with a 13-point win at Ponds Forge against the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks in a very entertaining clash between two of the BBL’s top sides this season.

A nip-and-tuck first half that saw both sides separated by just four points at half-time was blown wide open by the Giants in the third quarter as they held the Sharks to just 10 points and added 21 of their own to take a lead of 15 into the final period.

The visitors saw out a 13-point win behind a dominant performance inside, out-rebounding the Sharks 41-28 and winning the battle of the paint with 44 points inside compared to Sheffield’s 30. Dan Clark stole the show for Manchester behind 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists – and an electric 80% clip from three-point range – as all five starters scored in double digits for Manchester.

Ellesmere Port Sports Village was the scene for today’s final BBL Trophy clash, as the Cheshire Phoenix welcomed the Sony Centre Fury from Falkirk, and Ben Thomas’ hosts wasted no time in asserting their dominance on the fixture.

Eight of Cheshire’s 10 players in this fixture scored in double digits, and Teddy Okereafor was the second Great Britain star of the day – following his GB captain Dan Clark’s performance earlier – to have themselves a big game. The star guard bagged 20 points, seven rebounds seven assists and three steals in 23 minutes to power the Phoenix to victory.

Bantu Burroughs and Trey Whitley combined for 42 of the Fury’s 64 points on the day, but despite their spirited performance the Phoenix cantered through to the next round of the competition.