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
BK Lions Jindrichuv Hradec (NBL) tabbed British center Chris Tawiah (208-F). He just graduated from Wiley (NAIA). He recorded 7.3ppg, 9.3rpg, with FGP: 42.7% on 16 games. He had also impressive FT percentage at 80.0%. He can count that season as a very successful as was selected to All-RRAC Honorable Mention. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Czech Republic [read more]
BK Lions Jindrichuv Hradec (NBL) tabbed British center Chris Tawiah (208-F). He just graduated from Wiley (NAIA). He recorded 7.3ppg, 9.3rpg, with FGP: 42.7% on 16 games. He had also impressive FT percentage at 80.0%. He can count that season as a very successful as was selected to All-RRAC Honorable Mention. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball.
Colin O'Reilly (ex UCC Demons) takes over Cheshire Phoenix - 2 days ago
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Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) agreed terms with 32-year old Irish coach Colin O'Reilly. He has coached for the last three seasons at UCC Demons in Irish Premier League. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Unit... [read more]
Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) agreed terms with 32-year old Irish coach Colin O'Reilly. He has coached for the last three seasons at UCC Demons in Irish Premier League. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year.
Ex-Plymouth Raiders Head Coach Gavin Love has landed a great opportunity in Luxembourg for the coming season having been appointed Head Coach at AB Contern. Love who coached The Raiders for three seasons in The BBL after nine years as a player is looking forward to the challenge. 'Last year I was coaching in Munich as Head Coach of the new DBA academy. It was a new project that I was helping to get off the ground and I was over there a number of times to recruit and run the camps.' 'It... [read more]
Ex-Plymouth Raiders Head Coach Gavin Love has landed a great opportunity in Luxembourg for the coming season having been appointed Head Coach at AB Contern. Love who coached The Raiders for three seasons in The BBL after nine years as a player is looking forward to the challenge.
'Last year I was coaching in Munich as Head Coach of the new DBA academy. It was a new project that I was helping to get off the ground and I was over there a number of times to recruit and run the camps.'
'It was a great place and the people were good to me but unfortunately the project had been delayed so I had to look for opportunities elsewhere. My agent contacted me and I spoke with the GM of Contern who was very professional and we had the deal completed quickly.'
Contern's Vice President, Francis Rollinger talked about what Love can bring to his Club and what they are hoping to achieve.
'We called Gavin Love to come to Luxembourg to follow our goals and to built a young strong team for the future, furthermore Gavin is responsible for the Espoir (U21) and Cadets (U18) teams to bring up as much players as possible into the men team and to make our players better every day.'
'AB Contern is one of the biggest basketball and sports club in Luxembourg, the men team won 4 championships and 3 cups, and the team is playing since 20 years in the first division, the Total League.'
'AB Contern is known for good youth players, and we looking forward to rebuilt another good team for the future. Our goals are to include young players from the club helping the men team to be again one of the best clubs in Luxembourg.'
'Contern is a small village with 1500 habitants, 450 of which who are involved in the club, coming from 15 different communes and 40 villages. Contern has the nicest gym in the country, is a very popular and traditional club, who is investing in the men and women team as well, followed by a big youth department.'
Clearly Love is going in to a situation where a lot is expected of him and the goals are high. But that will not faze a coach who's willing to take risks and has already had a successful and experience coaching in Europe with Denmark's Copenhagen Wolfpack.
' knew some players that had played in the Total League before and had good things to say about the level of the league, Contern and the country itself.'
'I will be arriving in Luxembourg early August for a six week pre-season, I have seen the facilities and they are very impressive, I believe Contern have the biggest arena in the league which holds around 2500 spectators. Contern has great support from the local community and sponsors together with having an outstanding reputation.'
Love himself has a pretty good reputation and is highly thought of as a coach. His previous GM at Copenhagen Tommy Nielsen had this to say about him.
'Gavin Love is a Players Coach, his mindset is set on winning by every means and that sets a impacts on players being poised for every game. His playing style is offensive minded and very spectator friendly.'
'He is well in communicating and appearance and goes well with sponsors and media. He fits an organization who is settle to win Championships . His flair for recruitment, quality network and roster arrangement can be used with success.'
Nice words and a good assessment of what Love hopes to bring to AB Contern and he advises that recruitment has already begun.
'A majority of the team has returned from last year which will give us a good level of continuity. We have signed Dylan Talley (196-G-89, college: Nebraska, agency: Octagon Europe) who has played in both the German BBL and Pro A. Dylan is a versatile guard who will to be a good addition to the team.'
'We also have a number of young players in the squad who will be looking to take that step to the next level. We are looking for a forward who will be the final import player to complete the roster.'
One of the obvious things that Love will do is look at the differences between The Total league and The BBL back in the UK although it's not something that he's in a position to judge just yet.
'I wouldn't be able to make any comparison to any league until the season begins. The first obvious thing that stands out is there are less import players and Bosmans than the BBL. The second is the genuine passion for developing the young talent which can only be a good thing for Luxembourg basketball.'
'My goals for the season is to enhance the team in all areas whilst maximising the potential of every player on the roster together with reaching the top six and the play-offs.'
It's going to be an interesting year for AB Contern and Gavin Love but one which should be an exciting one and an educational one for both parties. Certainly for Love it's another step forward and addition to an ever growing career CV.
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