Four of the six NBL contests on Saturday were decided by a single basket, with narrow wins for Hemel, Derby, Newcastle and Leicester, whilst Worthing and Reading won in more comfortable fashion.
In the Trophy, Thames Valley fell to a dramatic late defeat to a Cam Hildreth-inspired Surrey, Hemel lost to Cheshire and Solent won the battle of the D1 teams against Derby.
There is a recap of all the games below, and each result is also clickable if you wish to view the live stats.
Saturday's action began in front of the NBL Live cameras as Reading Rockets beat Bradford 111-90.
Rockets' American guard O'Showen Williams was in fine form as his 30-point, six-rebound, five-assist, four-steal performance was key to Reading's win, as was a 36-18 second period that provided the visitors with a lead they would never relinquish.
In Essex, the Rebels couldn't spring another upset but they did come close, eventually losing out to league leaders Derby 93-91.
Trailing by double digits to start the fourth, the hosts had momentum on their side as they eventually tied the game at 91-91 with 65 seconds remaining.
Derby would stay cool from the line to eek out a slender lead, with a last-gasp Sam Newman shot failing to find the target for Essex.
American Jacob Conway shot 12-18 (including 3-5 from range) to finish with a game high 29 points, Jordan Gray top scored for the Rebels with 20.
Another tight finish in the North East saw Team Newcastle pip Thames Valley 88-86, handing the Cavs their first defeat of the season in the process.
With just a single point between the sides for much of the final minute of the game, neither side could find a decisive basket as Lewis Champion's final three-point effort couldn't connect.
A Newcastle win seemed unlikely as Thames Valley led by as many as 13 points with 6:40 remaining, with David Moya's team high 24 points cancelling out Hakeem Sylla's 27 point, 13 rebound double-double for the visitors.
In the second leg of our NBL Live double-header, Leicester Warriors picked up their first win of the season, beating Nottingham Hoods 79-76.
Carl Pearson's jumper with 14 ticks remaining put Leicester up by three, but Delaney Powell's basket five seconds later reduced the Hoods' deficit back to one point.
Martyn Gayle would then head to the line for the visitors, holding his nerve to hit both shots and seal the win.
Forward Mo Williams once again put the Warriors' offence on his back, finishing with a 28-point, 10-rebound double-double as Victor Olarerin's 25 points led the way for Nottingham.
BA London Lions came within a whisker of pulling off a huge fourth quarter comeback in Hemel, with the Storm narrowly staying ahead to win 84-81.
Leading 72-53 going into the fourth, Hemel came unstuck as their opponents refused to go quietly, getting the difference down to just four points with 20 seconds to go.
Hemel's veteran guard Bode Adeluola would hit two big free throws down the stretch, providing some welcome breathing room as BA's Abiodun Adedo hit a triple with three seconds to go, though that was as close as the Lions would come.
Greg Poleon continued his recent good form for the hosts with a 25 point, 12 rebound double-double, Flynn Boardman-Raffet top scored for Barking with 21 points.
Finally, Worthing started their post-Hildreth era with a straight forward 89-66 victory over Loughborough.
In a solid team display, Thunder dished 24 assists in the game and pushed four players into double digit scoring, led by 24 points from forward Howard Crawford.
Trailing tip to buzzer, Riders never really got going and fell out of contention following a 30-11 third quarter despite an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double from Victor Ndoukou.
The first round of the BBL Trophy provided plenty of excitement for our NBL sides, starting on Friday night as Surrey topped local rivals Thames Valley 101-100.
Making his BBL debut following a Thursday-night signing from Worthing, Cam Hildreth dazzled with an eye-catching 22-point, five-rebound, four-assist, three-steal performance, including the game winner that can be seen in the tweet below.
It was a tough result for the D1 side, who had led by five with less than a minute remaining before Hildreth provided six points and a steal in the last 38 seconds to pull his new team to victory.
In the North West, Hemel were doomed by a 29-13 second quarter that allowed Cheshire to build a sizable lead that they would never lose, with a final score of 77-63.
Despite trailing 48-29 at the break, the visitors did manage to win both the third and fourth quarter, though the difference never dipped below double-digits in the second half.
Greg Poleon (23pts, 17reb) and Mike Williams (22pts, 8reb) both impressed, but no other Hemel player made it past six points. For Cheshire, Jalen Hayes enjoyed a 23 point, 13 rebound double-double.
Finally, in the all D1 tie between Derby and Solent it was the Kestrels who progressed to the next round as they beat the Trailblazers 101-73.
The South coast side are now the only NBL side left in the draw, and move on thanks in part to a game high 30 points from Travis Charles.
The American forward added 10 boards for good measure, capping off a fine evening's work.
Derby's Malcolm Smith top scored with 21 points, but he couldn't stop the hosts from trailing 51-37 at the main change before losing the third quarter 33-18 to effectively end the contest with a quarter still to go.
1pm - Bradford Dragons 90-111 Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
3pm - Essex Rebels 91-93 Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
4pm - Team Newcastle University 88-86 Thames Valley Cavaliers - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
6pm - Nottingham Hoods 76-79 Leicester Warriors - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
7pm - Hemel Storm 84-81 BA London Lions - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
7pm - Worthing Thunder 89-66 Loughborough Riders - LIVE STATS/LIVESTREAM LOCATION
Main image credit - Luke Simcock
01 Mar 2021
01 Mar 2021