The number of unbeaten sides in D1M is now down to two, and one of the league's winless teams also picked up a victory last weekend. There were seven games across week 3, so let's have a look at what happened over the weekend of 12/13 October.
Despite leading by 5 with less than 2:30 left in the game, Derby couldn't hold on against Worthing as their unbeaten start to the season ended following an 81-77 defeat to the Thunder.
Seven points by Alex Owumi down the stretch plus a big triple by Cam Hildreth both proved too much for the Trailblazers to overcome, though the Midlands side had done well to dig themselves out of a hole following a slow start. Coach Shaw's side lost the opening quarter 21-12 but fought back admirable, highlighted by winning the 3rd quarter 24-11 to set up a thrilling finish.
Owumi's late burst helped him reach a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds as Zaire Taylor top scored with 21 points to go with 10 boards for a double-double of his own. After being limited last week by Solent, young star Cameron Hildreth found some form to finish with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Malcolm Smith top scored for Derby with 22, new signing Johde Campbell added 20 and Charlie Brown recorded 11 assists and eight rebounds in a support role worthy of note.
Leicester Warriors were victorious in this weekend's battle of the Midlands, beating Nottingham Hoods 105 - 92 thanks to 30 points from TJ Henderson. The Hoods led that game by 5 going into the last but the Warriors took the final quarter 35-17 to seal the win. Delaney Powell top scored for Nottingham with 28.
Taylor Johnson was in unstoppable form for the Cavs, pouring in 32 points as Thames Valley beat Liverpool 121 - 67. Shooting 12/16 from the floor including 5/7 from deep, Johnson added 11 rebounds and seven assists for a great afternoon's work. Liverpool were led by Jack Hudson with 19, though being held to just 28 first half points doomed the North West side early in that one.
Team Solent Kestrels stayed perfect on the year as they cruised to yet another big win, this time topping Barking Abbey 95 - 45. The London side limped to 22 points by the half break as Solent gradually increased their lead as the game wore on. Travis Charles was the main man for the Kestrels, he had 22 points to go with 10 boards.
Hemel Storm sit joint top with Solent at 3-0 after a 118 - 94 win over Westminster Warriors. Storm shot 56% from the floor, thanks in part to Lee Hodges perfect 10/10 shooting day. The talented big man also pulled down 14 rebounds and dished a trio of assists as Westminster were powerless to slow him down. Justin Hitchman top scored for the Warriors with 23.
Essex & Herts Leopards couldn't grab their first win of the new season as they lost 86 - 77 on the road to Bradford Dragons. Former Myerscough College alum David Walsh dropped 20 for the hosts as Hafeez Abdul led all scorers for Essex with 28.
In Sunday's only game this weekend, Reading Rockets beat Loughborough Riders 93 - 70. Nick Richards was on form for the Rockets in that one, scoring a game high 30 points to go with eight rebounds. A.J. Carr added 26 more as Loughborough were paced by 21 points from Reis Pinnock.
Matt Shaw, Derby Trailblazers head coach: "It was a heart breaker as we’d put ourselves in a great position to win it but then couldn’t close out the game. In fairness, they hit some big shots in the last few minutes - particularly a crucial three in the corner. I don’t think Malcolm can contest that better and he still made it."
Alan Keane, Reading Rockets head coach: “I was really pleased with many parts of the game, including our opening quarter when we really committed to what we had agreed prior to the game. But what concerned me was our performance in the second quarter which was almost the opposite to how we had started so that is something for us to look at and address. Overall, it was a good performance for us against one of the leagues most consistent performers in the last three years.”
Tom Baker, Essex & Herts Leopards head coach: “This was our best game of the year so far. We came out the blocks and really committed to our style and we reaped the rewards too. We rode their comeback and managed to enter the half still ahead. What hurt us was a lack of discipline down the stretch and we became tight in the decisions we made, they showed their experience and closed the game out."
4:00pm – Leicester Warriors 105 v 92 Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS
6:00pm – Thames Valley Cavaliers 121 v 67 Liverpool - LIVE STATS
6:00pm – Team Solent Kestrels 95 v 45 Barking Abbey - LIVE STATS
6:15pm – Bradford Dragons 86 v 77 Essex & Herts Leopards
7:00pm – Hemel Storm 118 v 94 Westminster Warriors - LIVE STATS
7:30pm – Worthing Thunder 81 v 77 Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS
5:00pm – Reading Rockets 93 v 70 Loughborough Riders - LIVE STATS
The fixtures keep coming throughout October as another seven games fill week 4 of the D1M schedule.
Hemel take their unbeaten record on the road to Derby, whilst Solent enjoy a home game against Leicester. Thames Valley and Worthing meet in Uxbridge, Barking head to the North West to play Liverpool and Essex & Herts Leopards take a trip to Westminster to face the Warriors.
Bradford Dragons will be hoping to make it two wins on the bounce as they play against Loughborough in Yorkshire, whilst Reading host Sunday's lone game as they take on the winless Nottingham Hoods.
Main image credit - Reading Rockets