With leaders Team Solent Kestrels in BBL Trophy action against Worthing, there was a focus on the bottom of the standings this week with some key results across the standings.
Barking took a huge step towards securing their D1M survival, jumping up to 11th in the table with a 77-71 win over Liverpool.
Despite leading 37-32 at the half, the hosts were quickly reeled in by Liverpool to lead by just one early in the 3rd. That was the wake up call that BA needed as they then build a double digit lead by the opening stages of the 4th, holding on from there for a vital win.
Barking's talented young forward Veron Eze scored 22 points to go with eight rebounds, with Louis Norton's 12 points, six rebounds and five assists providing plenty of support. Kaphel Ulett-Waul finished with 24 points for the visitors, and Uche Umweke had 20.
Defeat drops Liverpool to the foot of the table, and four points adrift of Westminster and potential safety in 12th.
With the big news that former BBLer Orlan Jackman has signed for Essex Leopards after the collapse of London City Royals, the England 2016 Commonwealth Games representative enjoyed a 13 point, 14 rebound double-double on debut to push the Leopards to an 81-77 win against Westminster. Both the signing and the result will no doubt breathe life into Essex's quest to avoid relegation, and there will no doubt be a buzz around the NBL to see what Jackman can do next.
Hemel enjoyed a comfortable 112-88 home win against Derby to move to 14-3, just two points behind leaders Solent. A strong start to the game created a 59-34 half time lead for the hosts, with the final score powered by 37 points and 10 rebounds from Mike Williams Jr.
A balanced attack from Loughborough saw four different players pass the 15 point mark in their 87-74 win over Bradford, with Reis Pinnock and Alex Roberts (15 points), Harrison Gamble (17 points) and Jonas Dieterich (20 points) all contributing well.
Liverpool completed a miserable weekend on Sunday with another loss, this time falling 96-84 on the road in Reading. New Rockets' signing Leome Francis was in stunning form on debut, with a huge 28 point, 17 rebound double-double swinging the game in Reading's favour.
Barking couldn't make it a double win weekend however as they lost at home to Derby 89-79. Veron Eze continued his good form to finish with 25 points, as Trailblazer captain Oli Stanley led all scorers with 28.
Playoff hopefuls Bradford bounced back from Saturday's defeat in Loughborough to shock 5th place Worthing 91-83. Possible a little leggy from their BBL Trophy game the night before, the Thunder were also light on the ground with just seven players seeing serious minutes. Rihards Sulcs was the pick of the bunch for the Dragons, recording a 22 point, 16 rebound double-double to go with seven assists and three steals.
2:00pm - Loughborough Riders 87 - 74 Bradford Dragons - LIVE STATS
4:00pm - Barking Abbey 77 - 71 Liverpool - LIVE STATS
5:45pm - Essex & Herts Leopards 81 - 77 Westminster Warriors - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Hemel Storm 112 - 88 Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS
There's a rare Tuesday night game this week as Barking host Reading tomorrow, with just one other D1M fixture taking place at the weekend due to the National Cup Finals.
Worthing entertain Thames Valley in a game with big playoff implications, and that game goes ahead on Saturday so that all eyes can be on the Men's Final on Sunday.
Main image credit - Essex & Herts Leopards
16 May 2022
09 May 2022