Liverpool took another huge step towards ensuring their D2M status for next season as they travelled to Nottingham on Saturday and grabbed 2 vital points after a 77-79 win.
The early inroads were made by the home team, moving out to a 15-8 lead early thanks to points from Delaney Powell, but James Lench and Kaphel Ulett-Waul ensured that Liverpool were still in touching distance as the 1st ended 19-18 Hoods. Neither side could really grab much of a lead in the early stretches of the 2nd, but Liverpool did eventually push in front and slowly chipped away as the quarter wore on. By the time Ullett-Waul had hit all 3 free throws from the line with a little over 3 minutes left in the half, Liverpool had pulled out to a double digit lead at 38-26. Exchanging baskets late, the score was 46-33 to the visitors after 20 minutes.
If the 2nd quarter belonged to Liverpool, the 3rd went the way of Nottingham as they worked tirelessly after the break to reduce their deficit and get back into the game. 8 points from David Watts, including 2 shots from deep saw the score evenly poised at 60-57 Liverpool as both teams headed into the 4th. With less than 5 minutes on the clock, the momentum from the 3rd was still firmly in favour of the Hoods and with the scores tied at 66, it was anyone’s game. Another 3 from Watts looked to have begun to take the game beyond Liverpool, but 7 points in the last 2 minutes from Ulett-Waul was enough to secure the win for the Merseyside team.
David Watts’ 26 points were aided by a 5-9 performance from deep as he added 11 rebounds for a double-double. Powell scored 22 but no other Hoods player topped 7 points. Kaphel Ulett-Waul led all scorers in the game with 28, Chiz Onoura added 21 in support and Uche Umekwe had 13.
Kaphel Ulett-Waul had a big game for Liverpool as they picked up a vital win over the Hoods - Liverpool
Newham used the excitement of a local derby to propel them to only their 3rd win of the season, keeping their hopes of D2M survival alive for another week. 28 points from Lukas Volskis and 16 from Lawrence Brown was enough to get the Neptunes over the line for a 76-69 win.
With Liverpool winning this weekend, a loss for NASSA would surely have meant curtains for the team at this level. But after falling behind 21-14 after the 1st quarter, the hosts closed the gap to 36-31 by the half. The 3rd quarter was where the Neptunes got a foothold in the game, with Volskis and Brown leading by example as Newham established a lead of their own at 54-53 with a quarter to go. With momentum on their side, Newham pushed on in the 4th, shutting the door on the Pioneers as they looked for a way back into the contest.
Volskis’ 28 and Brown’s 16 was added to by Dias, who had 10. For the Pioneers, Italian Luca Piccini had 14, Ian Berry 11 and Findlay Wood had 9.
Charlton Jones was kept quiet by Ipswich as they eased to a 98-77 victory over Tees Valley, enjoying 28 points of their own from forward Leigh Greenan.
Greenan was a constant thorn in the side of the visitors, dominating the glass on his way to a 28 point, 13 rebound double-double. Whilst Greenan was controlling the paint, responsibility for the ever dangerous Charlton Jones was passed to Caleb Fuller and the 17-year-old had no problems locking the American down for large periods of the game. Despite a lack of scoring from the Jones, the Mohawks did well to stay in the game and even led by 2 after 10 minutes at 25-23. The 2nd quarter was more of the same and with 19 of Greenan’s points coming in an unstoppable 1st half performance the visitors needed baskets from Ben Seipt and Josh Djanogly to keep pace in the contest. Still, with the sides tied at 48 after 20 minutes, Tees Valley could be happy with their opening efforts.
It was the 2nd half where the Mohawks came unstuck. With the hosts cranking up the pressure on defence, Ipswich soon opened up a double digit lead thanks to baskets from Tom Sadler and Edson Ferreira and whilst Tees Valley did close the gap late on, Ipswich found another gear when needed to coast to victory.
“Our second-half defence today was as good as I’ve seen us play,” said coach Nick Drane. “We stuck to our game plan, Caleb was sensational in holding the league’s leading scorer 19 points below his average, and collectively we rebounded hard and helped whenever we needed to. At the other end, we honestly played some incredible basketball in the second half. Our ball movement and finishing were top-drawer and we got contributions from all over the place.”
Caled Fuller was instrumental in keeping Tees Valley's Charlton Jones quiet this weekend - Pavel Kricka
London Westside continued their march for 4th place but needed to come from behind and win in OT in order to do so after a scare from Derbyshire Arrows.
With the hosts taking each of the 1st 3 quarters, the Arrows were sitting pretty at 61-54 with 10 minutes to go. Points down the stretch from Theo Deleligne, Joseph Walsh-Norman and Kayne Henry-McCalla swung momentum back in Westside’s favour as they slowly clawed their way back into the match to force OT. From there, that momentum was all they needed to keep their charge going. Claiming the OT period 15-6, the London side grabbed both points in this one but had to work hard to get them.
Deleligne finished on 20, Walsh-Norman had 15 and Henry-McCalla, Yebgahot and Duru all had 13. For the Arrows, Baugh and Moseley both top scored on 16, whilst Wilson added 15 more.
With Liverpool and Newham both picking up wins this weekend, a heavy loss to Thames Valley was even more damaging for Doncaster as they slumped to a 104-71 defeat.
Martelle McLemore was a cut above throughout as he finished with 28 points to lead all scorers. The Cavs established their domance early to explode for 32 points in the 1st quarter and 59 by half time. Only scoring 36 in the half meant that the Eagles had an uphill battle on their hands from there on out.
And battle they did, but it was in vain as the hosts claimed both of the remaining quarters to win at a canter. Whilst the Cavs title chances may well have been derailed recently, they’ll still be hoping for more wins like this to close the season with plenty of momentum.
McLemore finished on 28, MacCauley added 16 and Gumbs-Williams had 13. Doncaster managed 21 from Matt Martin as well as 16 from Mark Baker and 12 from Josh Metcalf.