Worcester Wolves and Cheshire Phoenix completed the line-up for the BBL Trophy semi-finals with contrasting victories over the weekend.
On Friday night Paul James' Wolves shocked a sell-out crowd at Sport Central with a superb 94-88 victory against Newcastle Eagles while the following evening saw Phoenix win 106-61 at Worthing Thunder in a game they led from tip to buzzer
At Newcastle, nothing could separate the teams over the first three quarters but a 7-0 burst gave Wolves a 78-71 lead late in the fourth quarter and they held off Eagles' furious attempts of a fight-back. Newcastle pulled to within one (81-80) but a three from Alex Owumi (pictured) keyed a 9-2 run to reclaim their seven point advantage. Owumi was the main-man for the Wolves, leading all scorers with 34 points.
The following night Phoenix started the game strongly, scoring the first 11 points of the contest and never looking back. Phoenix captain Chez Marks ended the game with 23 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals. Gabe Haskins (178-G-85, college: Huston-Tillotson) scored 16 points and also had 9 assists.
Marks was pleased with his side's performance: "We treated Worthing like we do with every other team. Worthing was up for it, they're a great team and they came out and played hard. We had to bounce back from the tough loss to London Lions last night but we knew we had to come out, play hard, play together and now we are in the semi-finals and we have as good of a chance as any of making it to the final."
Phoenix will now face One Health Sharks Sheffield in the semi-finals, while Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders and Worcester Wolves will contest the other semi-final.
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders moved level with the Newcastle Eagles at the top of the BBL Championship table thanks to a convincing 72-51 victory over the One Health Sharks Sheffield at Sir David Wallace Sports Centre.
21 points from Andrew Sullivan was the leading figure for the home side in the victory, but it was Jay Couisnard's basket that sparked the game breaking 13-2 burst in the third quarter to take the score out to 52-39, and Rob Paternostro's side never looked back.
Glasgow Rocks kept up the pressure on the top four with a comfortable 97-58 victory at Mersey Tigers. Led by 20 points from Donald Robinson the Rocks outscored the home side 29-5 in the third period to pull away from the winless Tigers.
Sterling Davis and his team made it a winning weekend on Sunday thanks to a hard-fought 94-84 victory over the UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders at the Emirates Arena.
24 points from Donald Robinson was the mainstay for the Rocks in the victory, though it was Michael Ojo to lead all scorers in the contest with 30 points for the Raiders. The Rocks lead for the majority of the game, and despite the Raiders getting themselves right back in the contest trimming the gap back to five points at 81-76, but that was as close as the visitors would get as the Rocks held on for the victory.
Manchester Giants put a big dent in any title hopes Surrey Heat may have with an 83-70 victory.
A dominating second quarter opened up a ten point lead and then a 13-4 burst in the final period sealed the points. Stefan Gill was on fire with 28 points as Giants strengthened their bid for the play-offs.
London Lions won a crucial play-off positions battle as they defeated Cheshire Phoenix 94-83 in the capital. The teams were locked together in the BBL Championship table and on points up to half time before the Lions took over in the third quarter with Tayo Ogedengbe and Adrien Sturt each scoring 20 for the hosts.
The Lions couldn't make it a winning weekend, though, as they went down 89-84 at Durham Wildcats on Sunday. Keith Page led the way for the hosts and the Wildcats lead by as many as 16 points at 80-64 in the final period. But a 17-3 burst from the Lions trimmed the deficit right back to two points at 83-81 but they were not able to get themselves in front as the Wildcats held on for the win to move level with the Cheshire Phoenix and Manchester Giants in ninth position in the table
Myles Hesson and Devon Van Oostrum Suffer Season-Ending Injuries - 15 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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