It was a busy weekend in British basketball and BallinEurope’s guy over there, Sam Chadwick, rounds up the action for us this morning. Read on for all things BBL!
The British Basketball League (BBL) Championship continued this weekend while the final group games of the BBL Trophy also took place; the weekend saw three Championship games and two Trophy games.
On Friday, the Guildford Heat continued their losing streak, going down 82-75 to the Worcester Wolves behind Tommy Freeman’s 22 points. Freeman was solid throughout getting to the rack, drawing 10 fouls, converting on 10-of-10 free throws, and adding four rebounds. Also contributing well for the Wolves was Richie Gordon, who had a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds; Sherrad Prezzie-Blue added a solid all-around game with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. For the Heat, it was Mike Martin playing well with 22 points and seven rebounds; he also hit 3-of-3 from deep. Brandon Shingles had a double-double to answer Gordon’s, with 10 points and 15 rebounds; Shingle also added three assists for good measure.
One Health Sheffield Sharks lost for the second time to the Newcastle Eagles, 85-80. Joe Chapman had another good weekend for the Eagles with 18 points and five assists, but it was Andrew Thomson who led the way with 25 points and 16 rebounds. Player-coach Fabulous Flournoy had 11 points, five rebounds, and five assists, while Darius Defoe was the second Eagle to earn a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. For the losing Sharks, Justin Dobbins maintained his double-double average with 12 points and 16 rebounds but he shot a disappointing 29% from the free-throw line. Mike Tuck also contributed a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Team Britain point guard Nate Rainking had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. This game came down to just a five-point gap, and five is the same number of rebounds the Eagles had over the Sharks (47-42), proving that if you can control the glass you can control the game.
Glasgow Rocks dominated the Mersey Tigers, forcing 18 turnovers on route to a 92-62 win. For the Rocks, it was Andrew Wedemire leading the way with 20 points but not much else on the stat sheet. E.J. Harrison also added 17 points. In the first quarter, Gareth Murray put the Rocks in the lead with 17 first-half points, finishing with 19, including 5-of-6 shooting from three-point territory. For the young Tigers, Myles Hesson had 19 points and eight rebounds on 70% from the field. Kris Douse had 15 points and seven rebounds, while Devan Bailey did well on the boards, collecting 12 rebounds while putting up nine points and six assists.
The Durham Wildcats lost out in the BBL Cup, going down 88-74 to the Plymouth Raiders. Plymouth got 19 points and nine rebounds from Paul Williams, while last season’s BBL MVP Jeremy Lamb made his club debut with 17 points, seven assists and three rebounds. For the Raiders, Anthony Rowe also collected a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds but he also had six turnovers. For the Wildcats, despite a solid team effort lead by Fred Heinnenkamp (29 points including 6-of-9 on threes), Mike Capocci (14 points and five rebounds), Mario Flaherty (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Ralph Bucci (10 points, 11 rebounds), the team shot a miserable 38% from the field, compared with the Raiders’ 51%.
The Leicester Riders also managed a BBL Cup win this weekend by thrashing the MK Lions 102-67 in a brilliant team effort: Four players finished with 20-plus points, led by Cameron Rundles’ 23 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. Andrew Sullivan continued his solid play with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while my other choice for player of the year, Ayron Hardy, finished with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Daniel Northern had 13 points and 13 rebounds in the loss, while Demarius Bolds had 15 points and three rebounds. This game was a tale of assists: The Riders finished with 22 assists compared with the Lions’ five and the Lions also had 14 team turnovers.
In the ‘Cup, the Worcester Wolves moved onto the next round with a win over the Guildford Heat, who played for the second time this weekend, by a final score of 88-77. Prezzie-Blue led the way for the winners with 20 points and five assists, while Arnas Kazlauskas had 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Tommy Freeman had another solid performance with 18 points, four rebounds and five assists. For the Heat, Mike Martin again carried the majority of the load with 16 points and six rebounds, but Julius Joseph top-scored with 27 points including 88% from three-point land. As has been the case in many Heat games, turnovers were again a problem: Guildford had 16 turnovers compared with the Wolves’ five, while the Heat also committed 24 personal fouls.
After a loss to the Riders in the BBL Cup, the Milton Keynes Lions came out strong against the London Leopards, advancing to the next round with a 93-65 win. Unfortunately, stats are currently unavailable on the BBL’s official website.
In a battle for Scottish pride and what could become a bitter rivalry, the Glasgow Rocks defeated the Edinburgh Kings, 78-60, in BBL Cup play. The Rocks used their 50-31 advantage on the boards to grab the win while getting some good stats from the likes of E.J. Harrison (22 points, nine rebounds, five assists), Mychal Green (19 points, nine rebounds, three assists) and lastly Andrew Wedemire, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds. For the Kings, it was Edgars Rekis leading the way with 17 points and five rebounds, while Mike Kirkpatrick also contributed 16 points and eight rebounds.
The final game of the weekend saw the Guildford Heat lose for the third time in three days, going down 90-84 to the Cheshire Jets. For the Heat, Tayo Ogendengbe put up 27 points, six rebounds and three assists. Martelle McLemore had 17 points and eight rebounds, while the ever-consistent Mike Martin added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. The Jets got some very good contributions from all over, with Adam Brown totaling 27 points and eight assists; Colin O’Reilly hitting 3-of-3 from deep on his way to 19 points, five rebounds and six steals; Matt Schneck putting in a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds; and Bill Cole adding a double-double of his own with 15 points, 13 rebounds to go with three assists.
That wraps up the weekend’s BBL games here in the UK; check back soon for more British 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. You can follow him on Twitter at @chadwick9.