A deceptive score line saw Kent progress to the #FinalFours in D2M but their opponents Derbyshire were right in this contest until deep in the 3rd quarter. Amin Adamu led all scorers with 19 and John Shodipo had a 15-point 8 assist stat line as the hosts pulled away in the final period.
Trailing by double digits early, the visitors refused to go down without a fight in the one and done format and continued to chip away at the newly crowned league champions as the game progressed. 17 points from Joseph Baugh and 11 from Matt Wilson allowed the Arrows to close the gap to just 5 but that was as close as the game would get. As they have for most of the season, the Crusaders produced when needed and went on a 6-0 run before staying comfortably out in front the rest of the way.
"I thought it was a dangerous game for us," Kent Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said after the game. "We were a little beat up today, so I thought we did a good job to win the game, performing as much as we had to. At the same time, I don't think it's a performance we will be proud of and I don't think it's a performance that will get us wins against the other teams that will be left later on in this competition.”
Kent's John Shodipo had an impressive regular season campaign that he is carrying on into the playoffs - Mansoor Ahmed
2nd seeds Team Newcastle survived a real scare at the hands of local rivals Tees Valley before scraping a win on Sunday. Without Richard Austin the Knights consistently struggled from the field, shooting just 38% in an uncharacteristically disjointed performance.
An even opening quarter did little to suggest the Team Newcastle would be able to rely on their advantage in the regular season standings to best a team they’d already topped twice already this year. With the Mohawks beginning to take charge of the game towards the end of the 1st period, the hosts managed to put on the brakes as they fell 8 points behind. A 3 pointer from Romonn Nelson narrowed things up before the visitors were able to head to the break up by a single point at 31-30.
If anyone in the home crowd was hoping that Newcastle would come out and establish themselves in the 2nd half, they were unfortunately mistaken. With the Mohawks sharing the load on offence, they continued to stay with their opponents and the game was all tied up at 47 with 10 minutes to go. A triple from Frank Urli with 7 minutes to go threatened to blow the game open for the Knights but Ben Seipt hit straight back Tees Valley and the game remained a 1 basket contest from there on out. With the Mohawks sinking a shot from the line to go up 65-64 with a minute to go, the 2nd shot found the iron and came back. On the ensuing possession, Newcastle’s John Eggleston wouldn’t make the same mistake. He drained both his free throws under pressure and when Laurie Owen turned the ball over for the Mohawks on their next trip down the floor, the game was all but over bar a Mark Elderkin free throw. Ben Seipt did attempt a game tying shot on the buzzer but that also missed its mark as the visitors were left to wonder what might have been.
Luke Mascall-Wright went off for 32 points as Ipswich sealed the final matchup of the season between two sides that have been locked together all season. Mascall-Wright’s antics made sure the score line here suggested anything but parity, but Ipswich won’t mind that one bit as they march on to the #FinalFours.
In front of a packed and raucous crowd at Coplestone, Ipswich began to move ahead early and they never looked back. A 27-16 lead after 1 moved on to 50-28 by the half as things went from bad to worse for Westside. Kayne Henry-McCalla offered some resistance to finish with 11 and Marcus Anderson led the way on 16 but it was never going to be enough against a hungry Ipswich team.
The one-way traffic continued after the break as Leigh Greenan got in on the act. The big man finished with 18-points in a game where he unusually didn’t need to be the focal point of his side’s offence. The final period was the closest of all but the hosts still took that frame by 3 to seal a truly dominant win.
Luke Mascall-Wright was an absolute difference maker for Ipswich this weekend - Pavel Kricka
A full 40 minutes and 27 points from David Watts wasn’t enough as Nottingham Hoods narrowly fell in Thames Valley on Sunday. A double-double from Philip Perre and 26 points from talisman Martelle McLemore helped to get the Cavs over the line.
The Hoods could have been forgiven for fearing the worst after a disappointing 33-18 opening quarter left them with a lot of work to do. The team steadied the ship in the 2nd though and whilst the deficit wasn’t reduced, it didn’t extend either as the sides went to the locker room at 50-35.
If the start of the 1st half belonged to the Cavs, the start of the 2nd certainly went to the Hoods. With Watts and Delaney Powell both heating up for the visitors, the Nottingham duo added 10 points each for the quarter as the score narrowed to 72-66 with 10 minutes remaining. 74-70, 88-83 and 92-89 with 6 seconds to go were ultimately as close as the Hoods would get down the stretch as Thames Valley consistently found a way to keep their noses in front whenever things got a little too close for comfort. Still, the Hoods deserve a lot of credit for running a good team close on an afternoon where few would have expected such a tight game.