Essex Rebels enjoyed a great weekend as they sealed the Division Two South regular season title with a win over Ipswich. We'll take a look at that game plus the nine others from week 22 in our usual Monday recap.
Essex secured top spot in D2M South following an entertaining 114-94 win over local rivals Ipswich.
A 33-27 opening frame suggested that those in attendance would be in for a real spectacle and neither side disappointed throughout the high-scoring affair.
Essex shot an impressive 57% from the floor, including 54% from range as they splashed 20 threes. A big reason for that success was Daniel Morton, who hit 7 of his 9 attempts from downtown to finish on 25 points. Michael Swain also scored 25 points for the hosts, and the ever-present Rory Winter added 22 more.
Luke Mascall-Wright (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Jake Eynon (20 points, seven assists) both played the full 40 minutes for Ipswich but were powerless to hold off the hosts as they ran away to the win.
Defeat for Ipswich now pulls the Suffolk side down into a tussle for 2nd spot, with both BC Medelynas and London Westside fancying their chances of securing the #2 seed.
It was Westside that took the early advantage in that race for 2nd spot, seeing off Medelynas 83-79 in hard fought game. Despite opening the game by winning the 1st quarter 27-17, the visitors couldn't hold on as Donald Morris' 22 points and Faustas Kulbickas 8/9 shooting performance for 18 points meant the spoils went to the home team on this occasion.
Elsewhere in the Southern Conference, East London All Stars sealed another all Capital affair as they saw off London Greenhouse Pioneers 84-76 thanks to 16 points from captain Tyler Johnson.
There were mixed fortunes for the standing's bottom sides, as both Sussex Bears and Cardiff Archers split their double-header weekends. Sussex started well on Saturday, defeating Greenwich Titans 81-69 on the road, where as Cardiff did the opposite as they fell 74-60 away to Solent. The Archers would have the last laugh though when both teams met on Sunday, coming out on top 91-86 as Panagiotis Karras scored a team high 19 points.
Moving into the Northern Conference, there was no game for top two sides Newcastle and Myerscough, allowing 3rd place Charnwood the chance to close the gap at the summit. The Riders did just that, easily handling bottom side Sheffield Hallam University 87-47.
Team Birmingham Elite strengthened their chances of making the post season as the 7th place side secured a pair of wins this weekend. Captain Daniel Penkov led the way for Birmingham on Saturday, scoring 30 points as Elite easily beat Derbyshire Spartans 92-76, before Ian Rodriguez stepped to the fore on Sunday to drop a game high 22 points in the 83-57 win over University of Chester.
It wasn't all bad news on the weekend for Chester though as they beat Bristol Academy Flyers 78-67 on Saturday afternoon to begin their weekend. Six of Chester's eight players passed into double digits scoring in that one, led by Phil Kelly-Brandreth and Reiss Faure-Daley who both had 15.
3:00pm - Greenwich Titans 69 - 81 Sussex Bears - LIVE STATS
3:30pm - Charnwood Riders 87 - 47 Sheffield Hallam University - LIVE STATS
3:30pm - London Greenhouse Pioneers 76 - 84 East London All Stars - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - University of Chester 78 - 67 Bristol Academy Flyers - - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - Team Solent Kestrels II 74 - 60 Cardiff Met Archers - LIVE STATS
6:15pm - London Westside 83 - 79 London BC Medelynas - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Team Birmingham Elite 92 - 76 Derbyshire Spartans - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Essex Rebels 114 - 94 Ipswich - LIVE STATS
Teams are working hard to complete their fixture lists, making for a busy end to the season.
Eight games fill next Saturday, with a 1st plays 2nd clash in the Northern Conference between Newcastle and Myerscough. Sheffield Hallam entertain Bristol Hurricanes, Manchester Magic make the short trip to University of Chester and Derbyshire Spartans host Charnwood.
In the South, newly crowned champs Essex travel to BC Medelynas, Ipswich are at home to London Greenhouse Pioneers, Cardiff take on in-form London Westside and Sussex welcome Team Solent II.
That leaves four fixtures for Sunday, with Bristol and Sheffield playing the 2nd game of their back to back games, Myerscough hosting Team Birmingham Elite, Derbyshire Arrows looking for the win against Team Newcastle, and a local derby between East London All Stars and Greenwich Titans.
Main image credit - Nick Winter