There are three debutantes this week, including a Great Britain Olympian and a Riders backcourt duo.
Zaire Taylor (Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders) The rookie Riders guard has been gradually growing in influence since he arrived in British Basketball back in September. During the first few months of the campaign, the likes of John Fraley, Drew Sullivan, Jay Couisnard and Pavol Lasonsky have generally taken the limelight, but Taylor has found recognition for his input by way of a debut BBL Team Of The Week appearance. It was made possible due to his efforts in a hard fought win at Manchester Giants when despite having difficulty in getting his perimeter game going, he excelled to great effect in other areas. He finished with 23 points thanks to making the most of getting to the hoop and also sinking a perfect eight of eight free-throws. Taylor also added a fabulous seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Connor Washington (Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders) Its a Riders double in our backcourt this week as Connor Washington also grabs his first BBL Team Of The Week appearance courtesy of a magnificent eye-popping, three-point shooting display against Mersey Tigers. He was on absolute fire from downtown as he found the hot-hand to make seven triples from eleven attempts which left the shell-shocked visitors trailing in Riders wake. That helped Washington to accumulate 24 points and a great night of work was underlined when he also handed out five assists, grabbed three rebounds and harvested two steals to wrap up a convincing victory for the home team and extend their lead at the top of the BBL Championship.
Colin OReilly (UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders) Not for the first time this season, Colin OReilly posted the best performance of the weekend. Although after losing to Glasgow Rocks on Saturday night, it will probably have tasted slightly bitter-sweet for the Irish forward who provided the inspiration for his team to bounce straight back with a success against London Lions on Sunday. His display was typically influential in so many facets of the game, pouring in a massive 29 points including three scores from long-range, pulling down six rebounds, dishing up five assists and coming up with a block as he secured a third appearance of the season in our line-up.
Kieron Achara (Glasgow Rocks) Yes, Great Britain forward Kieron Achara finally makes it into our a starting five although the fact he hasnt made it until now reflects his willingness and desire to play for the team which has been every bit as important and influential as any individual numbers. But, as he showed last weekend when Rocks achieved a magnificent win double on the road, he is capable of stepping up when required, and posting dominant displays. He was excellent in the win at Surrey Heat, but even better 24 hours earlier against UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders. He put his opponent to the sword with a sublime 23 points, not missing a single shot inside and dropping three triples to go with six rebounds and a block.
Alif Bland (Cheshire) The centre secures impressive consecutive BBL Team Of The Week appearances after playing his part in a quite thrilling victory in the north-west derby against Manchester Giants. Whilst Chez Marks grabbed the plaudits for his buzzer beating three-pointer which sent the Cheshire fans at Northgate into raptures, it was the rock solid contribution of Bland which laid the foundation for the win. He recorded a fine double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds, but it was four precious defensive stops in the shape of three blocked shots and a steal which really mattered in such an intense and close contest which provided an immeasurable morale boost to everyone at the club.
Off The Bench: Chez Marks (Cheshire), EJ Harrison (Glasgow Rocks), Drew Sullivan (Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders), Matt Schneck (UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders), Stefan Gill (Manchester Giants), Orlan Jackman (London Lions), Chavis Holmes (Surrey Heat)
Myles Hesson and Devon Van Oostrum Suffer Season-Ending Injuries - 17 hours ago
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Myles Hesson (198-F-90) and Devon Van Oostrum (190-G-93, agency: Octagon Europe) both face long spells on the sidelines after sustaining season-ending injuries. Both players took to social media to make their announcements which will come as a double blow to GB ahead of this summer's EuroBasket tournament. Hesson was having another strong season in France - with a Pro-A career-high 29 points last month - and averaged 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game on the season. The forward had als... [read more]
Myles Hesson (198-F-90) and Devon Van Oostrum (190-G-93, agency: Octagon Europe) both face long spells on the sidelines after sustaining season-ending injuries. Both players took to social media to make their announcements which will come as a double blow to GB ahead of this summer's EuroBasket tournament. Hesson was having another strong season in France - with a Pro-A career-high 29 points last month - and averaged 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game on the season. The forward had also impressed for Gravelines in the FIBA Europe Cup this season and revealed he has had surgery after fracturing his tibia. 'I'm sad to announce that I will miss the remainder of the season,' Hesson said on Facebook. 'I have broken my shin bone. Surgery went well so now I'm on the road to recovery. 'I'm a firm believer in the saying 'that what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger' - I will return better than ever.' According to French website, 'La Voix Du Nord', the club's physio estimates Hesson being out for around 3-4 months. Meanwhile, Van Oostrum had recently joined MZT Skopje to play in the Adriatic League alongside Daniel Clark (210-F/C-88) following a spell in Greece. The 24-year-old guard was averaging 8.7 points per game, but a torn ACL has curtailed his season. Van Oostrum and Hesson both played together on the squad that competed in GB's last EuroBasket four years ago. Courtesy of: hoopsfix.com
Manchester Magic retain National Trophy title as Team Newcastle University clasp Cup & Sussex Bears seal Shield success - 1 day ago
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Manchester Magic maintained their spell over London Lituanica for a second weekend in succession to defend their National Trophy crown with an authoritative 81-53 victory at Hertfordshire Sports Village on Sunday. Having defeated their opponents 74-61 in Division One of the National Basketball League a week ago, it was simply a case of different day, same story as Manchester achieved a swift double in league and cup over the club from the capital. A game-high 19 points and five rebounds w... [read more]
Manchester Magic maintained their spell over London Lituanica for a second weekend in succession to defend their National Trophy crown with an authoritative 81-53 victory at Hertfordshire Sports Village on Sunday. Having defeated their opponents 74-61 in Division One of the National Basketball League a week ago, it was simply a case of different day, same story as Manchester achieved a swift double in league and cup over the club from the capital. A game-high 19 points and five rebounds were more than enough for standout star Duane Morgan (198-F-93, college: Adelphi) to emerge from this one-sided outing as the MVP. Magic's Stefan Gill (173-PG-83) (16 points and eight assists), captain Jack Minister (196-G-86) (14 points and six rebounds) and Simon Anumba (11 points and eight rebounds) chalked up double digits to boot against a lacklustre Lituanica, who struggled to keep pace throughout despite the best efforts of Mantas Guzys (180-PG-93) (15 points and seven rebounds) and Mantas Adomaitis (203-F, college: Oklah.Panhandle) (10 points and seven rebounds). 'This was my first opportunity to play in a championship game and it's a really good feeling to have won it,' Morgan said. 'We knew that we had to shut them down on defence, so that was a big emphasis for us, along with our high-tempo game. 'We now want to win the league and finish up as the number one side in Division One. 'There's a great group of guys here at the Manchester Magic. They've been very welcoming and made me feel right at home. I feel like I've been playing with them for a long time. You want to play for your brothers and I feel like they are mine.' Earlier on in the day, Team Newcastle University came away with the Patron's Cup courtesy of a 77-65 success against Kent Crusaders and Sussex Bears clinched the Men's National Shield thanks to a tense and tight 58-57 triumph over Team Birmingham Elite. Kent Crusaders began the first quarter in earnest fashion, yet Team Newcastle University soon recovered from a somewhat sluggish start and never looked back thereafter. Indeed, the Knights bookmarked the game brilliantly - winning the opening stanza 24-16 and the fourth and final one 24-18 to render the narrow losses in between (18-17 and 13-12) rather redundant. Team Newcastle's Richard Austin registered 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to claim the MVP accolade. He was well supported on offence by Jack Beresford (17 points), Frank Urli (14 points and six assists) and Matt Brown (196-F) (12 points). RJ Eytle-Rock (192-SG-98) produced a game-high 23 points in the Kent Crusaders' challenge for the silverware and Mohamed Adamu and Dan Akin both scored 10 on a day when the Shodipo brothers, John (four) and Tim (one), both failed to fire. 'The Kent Crusaders have an excellent programme and they are a credit to British basketball in terms of where they're going,' said Team Newcastle University head coach Ian Hewitt. 'But, we're just as talented as them, we played outstanding basketball today and we're a little bit older and more mature. I think that showed as well. 'We fought like crazy defensively too and it was just a great win. We wanted the Cup and we stepped up massively, which was fantastic to see. 'We've held Thames Valley to 66 and Kent to 65 now. It just shows what we're doing defensively and - offensively - we simply look better and better every week, so we're excited about the rest of the season. We are going to keep getting better.' Sussex Bears meanwhile held an eight-point cushion heading into the last 10 minutes having won the second quarter (17-11) by six points and the first and third (both 13-12) by one apiece. However, they very nearly blew it as Team Birmingham Elite came storming back late on to set up a nerve-jangling finale. Steven Hansell (192-G-75, college: Illinois St., agency: Court Side)'s side just couldn't drain that crucial basket down the stretch to ensure overtime or snatch a previously unlikely W though and Sussex prevailed by the narrowest of margins. The Bears' Hank Rivers (202-F-81, college: SF Austin) produced a performance of Superman-esque proportions in keeping with his choice of socks for the day. His 25 point-haul and 14 rebounds saw him deservedly pick up the MVP award ahead of other worthy candidates like his Sussex team-mate Bud Johnson (pictured below), who provided 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists overall. Darren Mason also plucked 15 rebounds out of the air. Team Birmingham Elite had two players progress beyond single-figure tallies in Meris Masolovic (17 points and nine rebounds) and David Stevic (14 points). 'It feels good to have finally won a final as I've been in England for almost nine years now,' the amiable Rivers stated afterwards. 'It's nice to have won for the people that I know as they really are like a family to me. 'We've been together for so many years and there's a good atmosphere. We feel like we're moving up every year, so you cannot complain about that. 'It was a scrappy game. Team Birmingham Elite are young and we inherently knew that they were going to get runs, but we pulled it out in end. The main thing is that we got it done - that's all that matters.' Courtesy of: basketballengland.co.uk
Surrey Scorchers moved into the Play-Off places after a blistering display in front of the BBC Sport cameras on Friday. Creon Raftopoulos' side torched Plymouth Raiders in the second half en route to a 99-75 victory behind 25 points from Quincy Taylor(183-PG-91, college: Longwood). "It was one of those special nights and I'm glad we were able to perform," Surrey's head coach commented post-game. "I think we showed four quarters of maturity and it was great to come out quick in the thir... [read more]
Surrey Scorchers moved into the Play-Off places after a blistering display in front of the BBC Sport cameras on Friday.
Creon Raftopoulos' side torched Plymouth Raiders in the second half en route to a 99-75 victory behind 25 points from Quincy Taylor (183-PG-91, college: Longwood).
"It was one of those special nights and I'm glad we were able to perform," Surrey's head coach commented post-game.
"I think we showed four quarters of maturity and it was great to come out quick in the third.
"We took a gamble on Quincy late in the half as he had two fouls, but made a really big play and that gave us a lift going into the locker-room."
Plymouth bounced back on Sunday as they came from 12 points down in the fourth to beat Cheshire Phoenix 110-116 in double overtime.
Earl Brown had a season-high 43 points as he and Mike DiNunno combined for 74 in the loss with Cory Dixon leading the victors with 25 points as four Raiders hit 20+.
Meanwhile, Leicester Riders extended their lead at the top with back-to-back victories over Manchester Giants with a 98-73 home success followed by a 73-99 road victory.
Scott Martin exploded for 41 points to help Esh Group Eagles Newcastle keep up the pressure on the leaders with a 108-94 victory over Bristol Flyers.
Glasgow Rocks were victorious at the Emirates Arena as they saw off Cheshire Phoenix 95-82, while DBL Sharks Sheffield complete the top four after edging past rivals, Leeds Force 58-62 away from home.
Worcester Wolves were another team to overturn a double-digit deficit as they recovered from a slow start to beat London Lions 99-91 with 16 made 3-pointers helping them to the win.
"It was a good win against London," declared Danny Huffor. "The first half was back and forward, but in the second half we found our rhythm, got some stops which helped our offence.
"Our ball movement was good as it opened up driving lanes that also created open shots as well."
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