The plot thickens in the 2011-12 edition of the British Basketball League … BallinEurope’s man in the UK, Sam Chadwick, summarizes last weekend’s action while making us wonder if anyone in the BBL can beat Newcastle…
The first weekend of December saw some great basketball in the BBL including a thrilling Cup second leg between the Newcastle Eagles and Leicester Riders as well as three games decided by five points or less.
The second leg of the BBL Cup Semi-Final took place on Friday with the Eagles booking a place in the final with a 71-63 win over the Leicester Riders. The Eagles were led by a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double by Andrew Thomson; 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists by Charles Smith helped while Joe Chapman added 13 points to go with three rebounds and one assist. Cameron Rundles, Andrew Sullivan and Ayron Hardy combined for 42 of the Riders’ 63 points: Cameron finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists; Sullivan had 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists; and Hardy contributed 12 points and six rebounds to offset five turnovers.
Friday also saw the Mersey Tigers take the Cheshire Jets to overtime after regular time ended at 93 apiece. In the additional time, Mersey were able to complete a comeback and grab a 102-97 win despite being down by as many as 21 points earlier in the game. The bench played a huge part in this game, with Jets substitutes contributed zero points compared to the 22 points provided by that of the Tigers. Myles Hesson led the way for the eventual winners with 12 points, 14 rebounds, one assist and two blocks. David Aliu continued his good form with 23 points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Devan Bailey had an impressive 18 points and nine assists to go with three rebounds and two steals. For the Jets, Bill Cole did all he could but to no avail, finishing with a ‘Line of the night’ of 34 points, 15 rebounds, one assist and three blocks. Colin O’Reilly had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists and three steals while Adam Brown had a solid 15 points, four rebounds and a couple of assists.
The Sharks dominated the Durham Wildcats with a 93-77 victory on Saturday night behind 20 points and 11 rebounds from Justin Dobbins; the centre did commit six turnovers, however. Mike Tuck also added 20 points to go with nine rebounds and three assists; Jimmy Langhurst nearly became the third players to reach 20 by finishing with 19 to go with seven rebounds and three assists of his own. For the Wildcats, Free Hinnenkamp top scored with 19 points while contributing four rebounds. Mario Flaherty chipped in 13 points, six rebounds and four assists while Mario Capocci finished with 17 points, six boards and three assists.
The Wildcats played again Sunday, going down by three to the Cheshire Jets in what was a busy weekend for the two sides. Cole again led the Jets with 22 points, five rebounds, one assist, three blocks and a steal, while Adam Brown and O’Reilly both finished with 21 points. Brown added five rebounds and seven assists with four steals, while O’Reilly also contributed 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block. For the Wildcats, Mike Capocci finished as the high scorer with 22 points alongside nine rebounds and five assists. Ralph Bucci added 20 points of his own to go with 12 rebounds in a double-double effort, and Paul Elderkin also impressed with 15 points and three rebounds.
The Guildford Heat stay winless despite a close game with the Worcester Wolves, losing at home, 98-93. Drew Lasker finished as the high scorer with 22 points, adding four rebounds and four assists. Mike Copeland managed 13 points on seven rebounds (four offensive) while Martelle McLemore finished with 18 points, four rebounds and six assists. For the victors, Sherrad Prezzie-Blue top scored with 24 points but he also added six rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Tommy Freeman, who finished with 28 points on Friday, poured in another 23 to go with four rebounds and two assists while centre Richie Gordon added 23 points, five rebounds and a couple of assists.
The Riders lost for the second time in one weekend, going down 84-62 to the Plymouth Raiders after a 31-16 fourth quarter score line by the home side. The Riders got 20 points, five rebounds and two assists by Rundles and Ayron Hardy added 17 points, six rebounds and three assists while no one else on the Riders squad scored over seven points – including Sullivan, who had a quiet three points, four rebounds and two assists. The Riders shot 0-of-16 from long range in the game! For the Raiders, it was Paul Williams leading with a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double. Anthony Rowe added 16 points and seven rebounds while Lehmon Colbert finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
The final game of the weekend saw the Glasgow Rocks take a narrow four-point home loss to the still undefeated Newcastle Eagles by a score of 89-85. The Rocks were again led by guard Mychal Green, who finished on 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists to go with four turnovers. Andrew Wedemire had a double-double of 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists but, again, six turnovers. Danny Huffor and Deandre Cranson both finished on 15 points and eight rebounds, but Cranson was a much more efficient 67% from the field compared with Huffor’s 35% on 6-of-17 shooting. For the Eagles, Joe Chapman had 27 points and five rebounds while Charles Smith finished with 15 points, three rebounds and four assists. Last up is Paul Gause, who added 13 points, five assists and three rebounds.
That wraps up the weekend’s BBL games here in the UK. Check back soon for more English Basketball news.
Sam Chadwick is the co-head coach of the Solent Kestrels U14 basketball team, along with dividing the remainder of his time among an assistant quantity surveyor job, university studies and sportswriting. Chadwick is now a contributor at BBLfans.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at @chadwick9.