It was a fantastic weekend for Team Solent Kestrels as not one but two big results went their way. To find out what else happened in week 8, let's take a look at all the games in our usual Monday recap.
Reading presented Solent with their biggest test of the season so far, but the Kestrels still came through with a 106-89 win.
A loss later in the evening by joint 2nd place Hemel also means that Coach Guymon's side now have a two game gap to the chasing pack. That may already be too large a margin for any side to overcome based on the Kestrels' form so far this season.
A 40 point outing from Elliott Sentance was a highlight for the hosts, as Travis Charles added 24 more and Ian Smith finished with a 15 point, 13 rebound double-double.
A.J. Carr top scored for the Rockets with 28 points as Nick Richards was kept quiet for the most part, finishing with 12 points on a 6/23 shooting performance.
Hemel Storm fell to an OT defeat at home to Worthing Thunder, going down 110-105 behind 30 points from former D1M Player of the Week Cam Hildreth. Zaire Taylor's late layup with 12 seconds remaining tied the teams at 96-96, with Mike Williams Jr. attempted a triple on the buzzer for the hosts that wouldn't fall. The visitors would then steal the game in the extra period, grabbing a share of 2nd place in the process.
Also in the pack at 6-2 are Thames Valley after they went to Barking Abbey and secured a 91-104 win. Martelle McLemore top scored with 27 as the Cavs burst out of the gates to score 35 in the opening period, setting themselves up for a solid win.
Loughborough kept themselves in the playoff hunt as they beat Westminster 101-84 on the road. Harrison Gamble enjoyed a strong outing in that one to finish with 28 points as the Riders led 46-31 by half time, refusing to let up from there.
Liverpool and Leicester played out a thriller as the Warriors grabbed a 93-90 win following a stunning 34-30 4th quarter shootout. Leicester scored just 4 points in the 3rd, quickly relinquishing the 16-point lead they'd established by half time. T.J. Henderson scored 12 of his eventual 29 points in that final frame, pulling his side over the finish line as he also recorded 11 rebounds, four assists and five steals.
At the base of the standings, Bradford grabbed an important victory over Nottingham Hoods,coming out on top 99-82. Rihards Sulcs dropped 25 points for the Dragons in that one as the win vaults Coach Mellor's side up to 9th.
Finally, Essex & Herts slipped to their 8th defeat on the bounce as they fell 109-86 in Derby. Hafeez Abdul enjoyed a 40 point, 10 rebound double-double for the Leopards, but it wouldn't be enough as aside from Jerelle Okoro (26 points) no other player made it to double digits for the visitors. Malcolm Smith had 25 points for the Trailblazers, with Treshawn Wilford (18 points), Blake Bowman (18 points) and Johde Campbell (16 points) all impressing.
Chris Mellor, Bradford Dragons head coach: “We jumped out to a fast start and overall it was a good performance at both ends. We defended well and shared the ball well offensively.”
Tom Baker, Essex & Herts Leopards head coach: "We are competing right until the death and we need to keep going, It will be good when have everyone back healthy as injuries are really hurting us right now.”
Matt Shaw, Derby Trailblazers head coach: "I felt we controlled the game for the most part in what was a solid performance. When we play at a decent tempo, we tend to look pretty good and the energy provided by the crowd really helps us in that respect."
4:00pm - Barking Abbey Crusaders 91-104 Thames Valley Cavaliers
5:00pm - Liverpool 90-93 Leicester Warriors - LIVE STATS
5:30pm - Westminster Warriors 84-101 Loughborough Riders - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - Team Solent Kestrels 106-89 Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS
6:30pm - Nottingham Hoods 82-99 Bradford Dragons - LIVE STATS
7:15pm - Derby Trailblazers 109-86 Essex & Herts Leopards - LIVE STATS
7:30pm - Hemel Storm 105-110 Worthing Thunder (after 1OT) - LIVE STATS
Next weekend's D1M schedule involves a Midlands' derby between Leicester and Loughborough as leaders Solent welcome Liverpool and Worthing host Westminster.
Barking Abbey and Nottingham Hoods lock horns with both sides looking to help themselves from the lower reaches of the standings, and Reading take a trip to the winless Essex & Herts Leopards.
Derby are at home to Thames Valley in what should be an exciting match up, and Bradford host Hemel Storm.
Main image credit - Alex Daniel Photography