Saturday night in the BBL Championship saw the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders open a gap at the top, while the UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders burst back into the top three and the Worcester Wolves edged closer to the top four.
The Riders used a dominant second half display to beat the Manchester Giants 84-59. It was their sixth win in a row and they remain unbeaten at home all season, capitalising on the defeat that the Newcastle Eagles suffered on Friday night. Drew Sullivan led the way with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists; supported by Pavol Losonsky's 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Only Ben Eaves made it into double figures with 15 points for the Giants, who suffered their fourth straight road defeat.
From the outset the Riders surged into a 12-5 lead with an 8-1 burst that included 4 points for Anthony Rowe, and they never trailed. A run from the Giants proved to be a spark for the Riders, as they responded with an 8-2 burst, 6 points in a row from Losonsky helping them into a double figure lead at 24-14 after the first ten minutes.
The Riders began to establish a commanding lead in the third period, using a 10-4 run to make the score 47-36 in a spell that was started by a Sullivan three and ended with four points in a row from Zaire Taylor. There was no way back for the Giants as the hosts were rampant in the fourth quarter. An 11-2 surge in the space of two minutes settled the game as Losonsky and Sullivan scored 4 each, sending the lead to twenty at 70-50. They pushed on from there as Sullivan added another three-pointer and the lead peaked at 81-52 in what became a 24-6 spell over six and a half minutes.
Elsewhere, the Raiders overcame the Surrey Heat to leapfrog their opponents into the crucial top four in the BBL Championship, prevailing through a second half comeback and a last ditch salvo attempt to win 91-89. The teams were joined on 28 league points before the game, so the Raiders have put daylight between them as they bounced back from defeat in their last outing. The Heat have lost four of their last five road games. Michael Ojo (195-G-89, college: Lehigh) led the way with 31 points and 5 assists, while Matt Schneck had a double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds.
The Raiders had established a strong first half lead after scoring 10 points in a row in the first quarter to lead 24-17. That became 47-35 by the half thanks, in large part, to their shooting from beyond the arc as Ojo and Barnett hit three-pointers, the former on 19 points already by the break. But the Heat opened with an 8-2 run after the half to set the tone what would come, as Cricelli scored 7 of those with the run becoming 15-5 to tie the game at 52. Rod Brown showed his experience to settle the Raiders with an 'and-one' play, but even he couldn't halt the Heat's momentum as they took the lead soon after behind Frank Holmes and another Cricelli score; Albert Margai added a three-pointer to help the score out to 60-66.
The Heat held their lead for much of the fourth quarter until, with four minutes to play, Barnett hit another three to make the score 81-83 and a minute later Ojo did the same to give the Raiders the lead back. But that wasn't it, despite the lead going out to 89-84 on another Barnett triple inside the final minute, as a pair of Chavis Holmes free-throws and Margai's triple with 9 seconds remaining looked as though they may send the game into overtime. But Matt Schneck was fouled by Frank Holmes, and settled the game by making 2/2 at the line, with Cricelli missing the three-pointer that could have won the game on the buzzer.
Finally, the Worcester Wolves came through double overtime to beat the London Lions 98-91 to record wins in consecutive nights and make it three in a row. The defeat condemned the Lions to their seventh straight road defeat, a run that stretches back to the end of October. Stan Ocitti led the way with 21 points and a big defensive effort including 6 blocks; Alex Owumi added 18 points and 7 rebounds.
The Wolves had much the better of the first half after an early 10-2 push and they led 42-36 at half time. The Lions came back to tie the game in the third quarter but the Wolves were resolute as they responded with a 13-3 surge and, in the blink of an eye, were leading by double digits at 62-52, with Kazlauskas making two three-pointers in that run and Ocitti adding another. Quick baskets from Jordan Spencer and Mike Martin helped the Lions to narrow the gap, and it was bridgeable at 67-61 heading into the decisive last ten minutes.
And so it proved, despite the Wolves seemingly settling any nerves early in the fourth quarter with Irving and Owumi scoring the first 5 points. But it turned into a nervous and low-scoring period. The hosts went scoreless for three minutes while the Lions scored 7 in a row, another Sturt triple making it 74-70 within the last three minutes. But, after a series of free-throws, it was Perry Lawson who forced the overtime period with a buzzer-beating score that capped an 11-point swing in the last five minutes of the game.
The first overtime period was also a nervous affair, as only one point was scored in the opening two minutes: a free-throw from Owumi giving the Wolves the edge. The visitors' first score was Jackman's three-pointer that tied the game, but the Wolves looked to have won it with Ocitti and Owumi scoring for an 86-82 lead with only 30 seconds to play. Sturt made 2/2 at the line and Jackman scored to tie the game, Williams missing the chance to win it at the buzzer for the hosts. In the second overtime period the Wolves finally buried their visitors. They again held the Lions scoreless for three and a half minutes, while scoring the first five points through Irving and Ocitti, and that cushion proved enough.
A competitive pool of 22 players will battle it out to represent Great Britain at the U20 European Championship Division B in Greece this summer. There are some particularly prominent returnees from last year's U20 campaign on the initial list which could offer Head Coach, Andreas Kapoulas the benefit of continuity. They include the likes of Jules Dang Akodo, who has been playing professionally in the Slovenia Telemach League, while there is also a spot for Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye who h... [read more]
A competitive pool of 22 players will battle it out to represent Great Britain at the U20 European Championship Division B in Greece this summer.
There are some particularly prominent returnees from last year's U20 campaign on the initial list which could offer Head Coach, Andreas Kapoulas the benefit of continuity.
They include the likes of Jules Dang Akodo, who has been playing professionally in the Slovenia Telemach League, while there is also a spot for Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye who has previously worked with Coach Kapoulas at Bristol Flyers in the British Basketball League (BBL). He comes into the camp off the back of an impressive Freshman year in the States where he top scored and secured All-Team honours in his Conference at Bradley University.
Meanwhile Deane Williams was also on board last year and he recently helped his College side Augusta University reach their Tournament Final, with Pharroh Gordon also excelling and posting a great season at St Rose College.
Of those players searching for a potential GB debut at the U20 level, the exciting Kyle Carey has made people sit up and take notice with Lancashire Spinners. Elsewhere on a list packed with so many talented performers, Andre Arissol of Leicester Riders also led Charnwood College to the Elite Academy Basketball League (EABL) title and Shaquille Walters provided the main thrust behind Peckham Pride conquering the U18s National League Final Four.
The invitees will all attend a preparation camp at the University of Essex in Colchester on 27 June as Coach Kapoulas puts the candidates through their paces. He will be joined by Assistant Coach, James Vear who has fulfilled the same role in recent years - with Josh Merrington also joining the coaching line-up as an Assistant, having worked with Charnwood College and Leicester Riders last season.
Prior to heading to Greece for the FIBA U20 European Championship Division B, the team will compete in a warm-up tournament in Portugal between Friday 01 July and Monday 04 July, when they will also face Sweden and Belarus. They will then step out for further friendlies against host nation Greece and Portugal prior to the start of the U20 tournament in Chalkida.
GB have been pitched into Group C, where they will play Albania (15/07), Ireland (16/07), Kosovo (17/07), Netherlands (19/07) and Greece (20/07) during the first phase.
The 22-player candidate list is as follows:
Andre Arissol - Charnwood College / Leicester Riders (GBR) Harvey Barr - Solent Kestrels (GBR) Moses Byekwaso - Preston College Titans (GBR) Kyle Carey - Myerscough / Lancashire Spinners (GBR) Liam Carpenter - Crailsheim Merlins (GER) Jules Dang Akodo - LTH Castings Skofja Loka (SLO) Malik Eichler - MacDuffie Prep School (USA) Pharroh Gordon - College of St Rose (USA) Sedale Hanson-Young - Cheshire Phoenix (GBR) Selby Hind-Wills - Solent Kestrels (GBR) Boban Jacdonmi - Chattanooga State Community College (USA) Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye - Bradley University (USA) Callum Lawson - Western Wyoming Community College (USA) Fraser Malcolm - Black Hills State University (USA) Sam Newman - Ipswich Basketball Club (GBR) Kingsley Nwagboso - Connors State College (USA) Theo Oghide - Southwest Baptist University (USA) Earl Russell - Western Wyoming Community College (USA) Joshua Steel - University of Duquesne (USA) Shaquille Walters - Peckham Pride (GBR) Deane Williams - Augusta University (USA) Findlay Wood - University of Essex (GBR)
Reading Rockets add Marzette to their roster - May 20, 2016
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Reading Rockets (EBL D1) added to their roster American guard Alex Marzette (196-84kg, college: Robert Morris). He played last summer at Pontiac 66ers (MPBA) in the U.S.. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Marzette's college team won GLVC Tournament in 2014. He was also voted All-CCAC 1st Team in 2015. Marzette graduated from Robert Morris College in 2015 and it is his second season as a profes... [read more]
Reading Rockets (EBL D1) added to their roster American guard Alex Marzette (196-84kg, college: Robert Morris). He played last summer at Pontiac 66ers (MPBA) in the U.S.. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Marzette's college team won GLVC Tournament in 2014. He was also voted All-CCAC 1st Team in 2015. Marzette graduated from Robert Morris College in 2015 and it is his second season as a professional player.
Manchester Giants are bringing back at least four players from last season's squad. And talks are under way to increase that number. Supporters' player of the year Ingus Bankevics(195-G/F-85, agency: Players Group) will return for the second year of his two-year contract. And player-coach Yorick Williams has moved to re-sign Jerelle Okoro, Barry Webster and Reiss Haggith. Guard Okoro had a breakout year last season forcing himself into the Giants' starting line-up with some energetic,... [read more]
Manchester Giants are bringing back at least four players from last season's squad.
And talks are under way to increase that number.
Supporters' player of the year Ingus Bankevics (195-G/F-85, agency: Players Group) will return for the second year of his two-year contract.
And player-coach Yorick Williams has moved to re-sign Jerelle Okoro, Barry Webster and Reiss Haggith.
Guard Okoro had a breakout year last season forcing himself into the Giants' starting line-up with some energetic, committed displays and typifying the kind of defensive intensity Williams values.
Webster and Haggith both played bit-part roles with Giants chiefs hopeful of further development from the pair.
Williams is currently in talks with senior Giants players from last season's squad while pursuing potential new signings.
Giants CEO John Dwan said: 'We've moved quickly to re-sign these three young players.
'We believe they have the potential to do even better next season.
'Yorick is talking to the other players from last season's group and has already started identifying potential new players.'
The Giants have also been working to expand their youth set-up with recent trials for next season's National League teams drawing around 350 youngsters to Wright Robinson.
'It has been really encouraging,' added Dwan. 'We hope it will mean a bigger and better junior section in the new season.'
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