An MVP performance by Team Northumbria's Malcolm Smith was more than enough to see the North East side over the line against Team Solent Kestrels 73-56. Delighting the crowd with a stellar performance, the American showed a complete skill set from the perimeter as well as in the paint to finish with a 32 point, 15 point rebound double-double. Blayne Freckleton (188-G) added 17 in support, including 3/4 from deep, and Stewart and Champion had 8. Jorge Ebanks (185-G-86) led Solent in reply, but his 18 points were never going to be enough to keep up with Smith and Northumbria. American stand-out Marquis Mathis (200-F-89, college: W.Florida) was quiet with 11 points and was one of multiple Kestrels that struggled from the floor. All tied up at 13-13 after the 1st, Northumbria used a solid 22-7 2nd quarter to stretch out to a significant lead they would never relinquish. The advantage reached double digits before the half was out and only briefly dropped below 10 late in the 3rd. When speaking after the game, Head Coach Marc Steutel needed just 1 word to sum up his feelings 'Proud. I have such a hard-working group of people, they are just good quality people, the way they commit every single day and I'm proud and happy for them. They deserve this.' Steutel was correct in his assertion as well, after his side's exploits in the 2nd quarter they were well worth their victory. The game started evenly though with both teams feeling each other out before Jorge Ebanks started to put his stamp on proceedings. Doing well to work his way into the key, the former BBL guard took contact as he put the ball in from close before making no mistake with the and 1. It would prove to be a strong opening 10 minutes for Ebanks as he finished the quarter having scored 11 of Solent's first 13 points. Fortunately for Northumbria, a Freckleton triple and a lovely low post fade away from Jack Preston helped keep the scores tied at 13 after 1. The 2nd quarter was where the game was decided. Good work down low from Marquis Mathis gave the first 2 points of the quarter to the Kestrels but after that Northumbria took control thanks largely to Smith. Using multiple offensive rebounds to spark their scoring, Northumbria pulled off a 10-0 run including 6 from the American forward. Louie Kirkman (193-G-91) stopped the drought for Solent but Smith had an instant reply, sinking a smooth mid-range jumper to ensure that his side kept their lead exactly where it was. Collecting his 5th offensive rebound in the game before another close range finish, Smith's continued efforts saw the score move to 31-18. The rebound gave the MVP a double-double in the contest before 17 minutes had been played. With just enough time left to draw up a slick inbounds play, the North East side scored the final points of the half and went into the break up 35-20. With Smith upping his game, Ebanks had done the opposite as he was kept out of the scoring for the entire quarter. Without his input and with Mathis being tightly guarded, Solent's offence had dried up. Coming out of the break, the questions for the Kestrels revolved around how to slow down Smith, and how they could generate consistent offence. The 3rd started badly as Mathis was immediately called for an offensive charge but that didn't deter the side from making a run at getting back into the game. Going on an 8-3 streak led by point guard Caylin Raftopolous, the lead got down to 10 as both sides then began to trade buckets. Kept quiet for a bit too long, it was time once again for Smith to have his say, driving and finishing under contact once more before dispatching the foul shot. Unwilling to buckle, Solent answered right back with good low post work from Mathis to score before dropping an and-1 of his own. With the lead beginning to shrink, the vocal Kestral supporters did everything they could to get behind their side. That soon ceased though as Blayne Freckleton landed a deep 3 from the top of the arc for Northumbria before a beautiful assist by Lewis Champion left Siman Stewart all alone next to the basket to put the lead right back at 15. Unwilling to let their efforts go to waste, Louie Kirkman grabbed offensive boards from misses by Ebanks on back to back plays and after a further stop and a score the Kestrels had the lead back to single digits. That was as close as things would get though, Northumbria added 2 more to leave the score at 55-44 with 10 minutes to go. As the quarter began, Ebanks was doing everything he could to fire up his team mates but it wasn't to be. Needing to get the period off to a hot start, it was Northumbria who started the brighter of the two as Freckleton once again popped up with a deep ball. He added a further long range 2 before Smith added 2 more and a 7-0 run had seen the game put beyond doubt. After that tempers began to fray and Solent's Peter Zagarov was shown to the bench after his 5th foul. Unfazed, Smith produced a commanding block with 3:45 left in the quarter, providing a vivid representation that the game well and truly belonged to Northumbria. The new champions had just proven too much for the Kestrels on a day when little had gone right for the club across the 2 games. Courtesy of: basketballengland.co.uk
Scorchers take sixth league win in seven outings in front of a sell-out crowd in Bristol BBL Championship Bristol Flyers 74 (13,29,48) (Ali 20, Cosby 17, Edozie 12) Surrey Scorchers 85 (24,48,64) (Ogedengbe 26, Taylor 19, McCray 17) A blistering start by Surrey Scorchers paved the way for a successful south-west raid as they outpaced Bristol Flyers 74-85 in front of a full house at the WISE Arena. Having lost 24 hours earlier in the derby match-up at Plymouth Raiders on BBC Sport, Flye... [read more]
Scorchers take sixth league win in seven outings in front of a sell-out crowd in Bristol
A blistering start by Surrey Scorchers paved the way for a successful south-west raid as they outpaced Bristol Flyers 74-85 in front of a full house at the WISE Arena.
Having lost 24 hours earlier in the derby match-up at Plymouth Raiders on BBC Sport, Flyers were looking to bounce back, but were left stalling on the starting line as they failed to get in gear.
In stark contrast, Scorchers caught fire from the tip and posted the first 11 points of the game. Even when Flyers eventually came alive and threatened a renaissance, 14 points in 16 first-half minutes from Tayo Ogedengbe (198-F-87) kept the hosts at bay, as Surrey built a commanding 48-29 advantage at the interval.
Bristol tried to recover the situation when the action resumed, but it looked like the damage had already been done as Scorchers kept them at arms' length.
It was a different story during the last period, as Flyers set up a tense finale when they clicked offensively and a drive and score from Daniel Edozie briefly cut the gap to 76-72.
But, Scorchers were able to close out the win to continue their super form of late as Ogedengbe eventually finished with 26 points, while the defeat wrapped up a miserable weekend for the home side.
The history keeps on happening in the WBBL and it proved to be a landmark and dramatic Saturday as Caledonia Pride came back from a double-digit deficit to stun Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 79-78 and take a first ever home floor victory. Natalie Bastian sunk the crucial free-throws at the death and also top-scored, but it was a pair of go-ahead triples from Scottish guard Hannah Robb heading into crunch time which made the difference. There was then drama at the unveiling of the... [read more]
The history keeps on happening in the WBBL and it proved to be a landmark and dramatic Saturday as Caledonia Pride came back from a double-digit deficit to stun Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 79-78 and take a first ever home floor victory.
Natalie Bastian sunk the crucial free-throws at the death and also top-scored, but it was a pair of go-ahead triples from Scottish guard Hannah Robb heading into crunch time which made the difference.
There was then drama at the unveiling of the brand-new Archers Arena as Cardiff Met completed a memorable first outing with an absorbing 58-55 success against Team Northumbria as Judit Fritz (183-G/F-87, college: St.Francis, NY, agency: Interperformances) hit a last-gasp triple.
Finally, there was great heart and resilience shown by Manchester Mystics in the third game of the day which was also exhilarating. Great Britain guard Georgia Jones registered 24 points and 12 rebounds as the visitors took a magnificent 82-80 double overtime win at Barking Abbey Crusaders.
Caledonia Pride collected a historic first ever home success in the WBBL after coming from behind to take a famous 79-78 triumph against Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters.
Doubling their league win tally for the season, it was a huge scalp for the Scottish side, as rather fittingly, the game's top scorer Natalie Bastian calmly iced a pair of free-throws to complete a fantastic comeback.
Having trailed by 12 points with less than five minutes remaining on the game clock, it looked as if the Pride's elusive search for a first home win would continue a bit longer.
But, off the back of some very nice defence and a flurry of three-pointers, including a pair from Scottish star Hannah Robb, it put them back in contention.
As Hatters cracked down the stretch despite 22 points and 15 rebounds from the powerful Brittany Winborne, the locals celebrated a hugely exciting victory on home soil for the first time.
The first game at the impressive new Archers Arena will never be forgotten by those who were fortunate to attend after Judit Fritz nailed a dramatic late triple to hand the hosts a gripping 58-55 win against Team Northumbria.
With an eye-catching crowd on site for its first WBBL match-up, the supporters inside the Arena were rewarded for their attendance after a nail-biting but exhilarating conclusion - although it had looked like Northumbria might spoil the party.
They went into the locker rooms at the half holding a 32-24 advantage and having thrown a defensive blanket over Archers.
But after making some half-time adjustments, Cardiff got themselves back into the contest, with Sarah Wagstaff instrumental as she supported the game-winning effort of Fritz with 16-points in a dramatic final quarter.
Claudia Baraut posted a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds in defeat.
A brilliant team performance underpinned by 24 points and 12 rebounds from Great Britain guard Georgia Jones facilitated a wonderful 82-80 double overtime triumph for Manchester Mystics at a crestfallen Barking Abbey Crusaders.
The home side had been on the front foot for almost all of the game and looked like a lock to take victory, but Mystics would not go away and a late rescue mission saw them come back from 10 points behind with less than five minutes of regulation remaining.
Some great play from Rheanne Bailey including a big three-pointer put them on the path to recovery and as Amy Browne sunk two free-throws, the first period of overtime arrived at 65-65.
It again looked like Barking would finish the job but Jones had other ideas as she made an off-balance three-pointer to save her team again and force another five minutes of action.
Manchester then finally got the edge and were able to finish the job - despite the home team benefitting from double-doubles from Savannah Wilkinson and Abigail Johnson.
There were mixed fortunes for last week's BBL Trophy finalists on a dramatic Friday night in the BBL. Leicester Riders saw their club record 16-game win streak come to an end as they were beaten 93-91 by Worcester Wolves, who were led by 24 points from Danny Huffor. Meanwhile, Cory Dixon scored 32 points as Plymouth Raiders bounced back from their Final disappointment with an 85-62 success over their South-West rivals, Bristol Flyers. Esh Group Eagles Newcastle ran out convincing 96-65... [read more]
There were mixed fortunes for last week's BBL Trophy finalists on a dramatic Friday night in the BBL.
Leicester Riders saw their club record 16-game win streak come to an end as they were beaten 93-91 by Worcester Wolves, who were led by 24 points from Danny Huffor.
Meanwhile, Cory Dixon scored 32 points as Plymouth Raiders bounced back from their Final disappointment with an 85-62 success over their South-West rivals, Bristol Flyers.
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle ran out convincing 96-65 winners against Manchester Giants as Deondre Parks scored 22, while Cheshire Phoenix edged out London Lions 86-87 on the road with Mike DiNunno (180-PG-90, college: E.Kentucky, agency: Interperformances) netting the late game-winner.
Plymouth Raiders bounced back from their BBL Trophy Final disappointment with a much-needed victory as they defeated South-West rivals, Bristol Flyers, 85-62.
Cory Dixon was in inspired form and poured in 32 points to go with 11 rebounds, while Daryl Corletto netted 14 of his 16 points in a pivotal third quarter for his side.
Both teams raced out of the blocks and the game was tied at 14 at the mid-point in the first quarter before Plymouth edged ahead.
The home side went on a 13-0 run late in the second, but a deep three from Hameed Ali ended the first half with Bristol down 10.
Corletto found his range in the third with 11 points in a row as he fired in four triples in total in the quarter as the Raiders extended their advantage out to 18.
There was no let up in the fourth as Plymouth ensured there was to be no fightback from the Flyers with Dixon turning on the style for the home crowd with consecutive dunks in quick succession en route to victory.
A win for Bristol would have put the two teams level, but it's the Raiders who pull away from their rivals with the important head-to-head secured.
BBL Championship London Lions 86 (29,52,68) (Taylor/Hassan 24, Niktash 21) Cheshire Phoenix 87 (21,43,69) (Allen-Jordan 25, May-Thompson 22, Brown 14)
Cheshire Phoenix claimed an 86-87 win on the road against London Lions following late heroics from Mike DiNunno.
The American guard was 0-7 from downtown before stepping up with two huge triples in the final minute to continue the Nix's recent win streak.
Dii'jon Allen-Jordan had a game-high 25 points for the visitors with Raheem May-Thompson adding 22 points in the win.
After a delayed start, the Lions were the quickest out of the blocks and they opened up a 29-21 advantage by the end of the opening period.
Navid Niktash raced to 19 points with a string of triples to ensure the Lions remained in command at the break. However, Cheshire hit back in the third and took the lead on the back of a 14-2 burst.
The Lions restored their advantage, but it would be the visitors ahead going into the final 10 minutes by the narrowest of margins.
London went on an 8-0 run to lead 76-71 but the game went right down to the wire with DiNunno tying the game with a three in the final minute.
Taylor held his nerve with two free throws to edge Lions ahead before DiNunno struck again from downtown for the win.
BBL Championship Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 96 (20,54,72) (Parks 22, Fletcher 17, Martin 16) Manchester Giants 65 (19,33,47) (Okoro 14, Toluwase 11, Jones 10)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle returned to winning ways in dominant fashion as they recorded a 96-65 victory over Manchester Giants.
Fab Flournoy's side had lost ground in the title race with recent defeats, but powered their way to a 20th league win of the season.
Deondre Parks put up 22 points in the win in a balanced scoring attack from the Eagles, who were still without Darius Defoe.
The visitors made a bright start and were down by one at the end of the opening 10 minutes before Newcastle broke clear.
34 points were poured in by the home side in the second as they stormed into a 21-point lead at the interval with Rahmon Fletcher and Parks combining for 32 at the half - one short of Manchester's total tally.
The lead continued to grow in the third with Orlan Jackman scoring five straight to move his career BBL tally to 1000 points and he would finish with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Joe Hart started the fourth with back-to-back triples as the Eagles led by as many as 36 as they completed a comprehensive win.
Jerelle Okoro led the Giants with 14 points, while Callum Jones posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds in his 200th BBL Championship appearance.
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