NBL Playoffs: Playoff finalists set

This season's Playoff finalists are now confirmed.

After some thrilling semi-finals this past weekend, ten hopefuls have now booked their place at Manchester's National Basketball Performance Centre for the Senior Playoff Finals on 27 and 28 April 2024.

Each is now just one win away from etching their name into the history books of the NBL and WNBL, with the finals less than a week away.

We'll recap all the action from the last few days, and there will be a full preview of each final later this week.

NBL Division One

There will be no fairytale playoff victory for departing Derby head coach Matt Shaw as the #1 seed Trailblazers were upset 87-84 by #4 Reading Rockets on Saturday.

After an even opening 15 minutes, Rockets went on a charge as their lead peaked at 20 points shortly after half time. Derby would battle back before falling just short despite 29 points from Corey Johnson.

Zack Powell (20pts) top scored for the visitors, who now head back to NBPC for the second time this season following January's National Cup appearance.

Hemel Storm will be their opponents, with the defending champions narrowly seeing off #7 seeds Bradford Dragons 80-79.

To end a thrilling contest, Darien Nelson-Henry (21pts, 9reb) put Hemel ahead from the free throw line, but Justin Williams' (15pts) triple on the buzzer wouldn't land to send Storm through to their fourth-straight playoff final.

Bradford's Jordan Whelan led all scorers in the contest, he had 28 points.

WNBL Division One

Rivals Endeavour Ipswich Basketball and CoLA Southwark Pride will lock horns in a repeat of the 2020/21 Playoff Final after both sides progressed this weekend.

Ipswich had few issues overcoming #4 Brent Bulls 75-53, leading practically from tip to buzzer behind 33 points from Harriet Welham.

Christabel Osarobo (20reb) and Louisa Gibbins (17reb) both went to work on the glass as the hosts won that battle 74-46.

Judit Fritz (21pts) top-scored for Brent.

CoLA made it four playoff finals in a row as they upset #2 seeds Thames Valley Cavaliers 79-66.

A 29-16 opening frame then restricting their opponents to just nine second-quarter points set the platform for Pride's win as Ayla Habbal (20pts, 5ast) and Felicia Jacobs (18pts, 9reb) both shone.

Chinwe Iwunze (13pts, 9reb) top scored for TVC, who shot just 29% from the floor to cap off a tough day at the office.

NBL Division Two

D2M South duo Team Solent Kestrels and Milton Keynes Breakers will take round three of their current rivalry to Manchester next week as both teams won this past weekend. 

NBL National Cup winners Milton Keynes eased past St Helens Saints 110-66 thanks to another triple-double from captain Jordan Spencer. The MK standout dropped 28 points to go with 15 assists and 14 boards to march his team forward, with the Saints powerless to resists as four other Breakers all scored 13 or more.

Solent were similarly adept at dispatching Bristol Hurricanes, winning 110-51 to end the run of the North's #1 seeds.

Russell Gariepy's 28 points were a standout as Bristol were held to just 14 second-half points, stamping the Kestrels' ticket to Manchester in the process.

WNBL Division Two

Sheffield Hatters II are returning to NBPC once again after they beat London All Stars 69-44.

Helen Naylor scored 21 points and Sarah Cooney added 14 more as the Hatters keep their title defence alive, with Samra Bouasba leading the way for the All Stars on 13 points.

It'll be a battle of Pool winners in Manchester as Cobham Cobras also came through, thwarting Worcester Wolves' come back attempt to hang on and win 59-55.

The Wolves entered the final frame trailing by 10 and buoyed by the play of Carolina Marques (25pts), the Wolves nearly pulled it off.

Amy Andrews (15pts), Sophie Khlaf (14pts) and Modiegi Mokoka (10pts) helped Cobham stay ahead, sealing their spot in the Final.

NBL Division Three

After a thrilling post-season, it'll be #1 Essex Rebels II against #2 Barnet Bulldogs in the final.

Both sides won this weekend to progress, with Essex knocking off Loughborough Riders II 77-71, whilst the Bulldogs ended the hopes of Liverpool 97-78.

Player/Coach Chuck Duru (20pts) led the way for Barnet, with Jordan Ashley sinking a weekend-high 42 points for the Rebels.

With the South and East conference winners sharing just one loss between them during the regular season, next weekend's clash should be one to look forward to.

This weekend's results:

NBL Division One

Saturday - 7pm - Hemel Storm 80-79 Bradford Dragons - LIVE STATS

Saturday - 7:30pm - Derby Trailblazers 84-87 Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS

WNBL Division One

Saturday - 1pm - Endeavour Ipswich Basketball 75-53 Brent Bulls - LIVE STATS

Sunday - 1:30pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers 66-79 CoLA Southwark Pride - LIVE STATS

NBL Division Two

Saturday - 6:30pm - Bristol Hurricanes 51-110 Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS

Sunday - 5pm - Milton Keynes Breakers 110-66 St Helens Saints - LIVE STATS

WNBL Division Two

Saturday - 2:30pm - Cobham Cobras 59-55 Worcester Wolves

Sunday - 5pm - Sheffield Hatters II 69-44 London All Stars

NBL Division Three

Saturday - 3pm - Barnet Bulldogs 97-78 Liverpool

Saturday - 4pm - Essex Rebels II 77-71 Loughborough Riders II