Back from the disabled list is BallinEurope’s man in the UK, Sam Chadwick. To celebrate his recovery, Sam contributes his again-soon-to-be regular wrap of recent events in British basketball…
First off, I would like to explain my absence for all you die-hard BBL wrap-up readers. I have been unable to submit articles this past few weeks but have now regained use of my hand and am happy to write to my heart’s content; I am back and weekly reports will likely return to normal. This past weekend of March 2-4 saw a total of eight BBL Championship games take place over the weekend starting with the league-leading Newcastle Eagles taking on title-contending Plymouth Raiders.
The Newcastle Eagles suffered just their second defeat of the season when they lost out 85-78 vs. the Plymouth Raiders. The Raiders dominated the glass 56-38 to grab the win behind an amazing performance from Paul Williams, who finished with 19 points, 19 rebounds and two steals; he did, however, commit seven turnovers – line-of-the-night potential, but we’ll have more on that later. Lehmon Colbert also finished with 19 points while grabbing nine boards, three assists, two steals and one block. Jeremy Bell finished with an all-around solid game hitting 12 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out eight assists. For the Eagles, Joe Chapman had 20 points, three rebounds and five assists but also turned the ball over 10 times! Paul Gause finished with 19, four rebounds, four assists and three TOs while Charles Smith contributed 15 points, three rebounds, one assist and three steals, but he also had four turnovers! These two teams shot 23% and 21% from the land of three – pretty disappointing.
Guildford Heat got another important win in their playoff race, jumping ahead of MK Lions by defeating them in a close game. The Heat took a 62-40 lead into halftime, only to see the Lions reduce it to 95-90 but unable to make the final comeback. For the Heat, Drew Asker finished with 22 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals but had five turnovers; Martelle Mclemore finished with 21, five assists and four steals to go with a pair of rebounds; while Tayo Ogedengbe added 15 points, two rebounds, two steals and two assists. For the Lions, Justin Dobbins finished with a double-double grabbing 10 rebounds, 16 points, one assist and a steal; Daniel Northern had 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks; while Demarius Bolds had 15 points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals; he also committed 10 turnovers! Much like the Eagles-Raiders games, these two shot 19% and 20% from behind the arc – is there something wrong with shooting threes in the BBL? [Not to mention with turning the ball over –Ed.]
The final game on Friday saw the Mersey Tigers get an important win in their hunt to move into playoff position with a 79-71 win over the Sheffield Sharks. Myles Hesson helped the Tigers with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double while Marlin Capers drained 22 points to go with nine rebounds and an assist. Antonio Bustamante (the new best name in the BBL?) [No way. It will be Sherrad Prezzie-Blue until he leaves the league –Ed.] went off for 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. The Sharks got solid as usual numbers from Mike Tuck as he finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and two assists, Jimmy Langhurst added 19 points, one rebound, six assists and two steals, while Ryan Patton finished with 14 points, five rebounds and a steal. The Sharks shot a relatively impressive 40% (8-of-20) from three but gave up 48 rebounds to their 31.
The first game on Saturday saw the Leicester Riders play the Sheffield Sharks, the latter’s second game in as many days. Ayron Hardy finished with the co-line-of-the-night going for a triple-double of 20 points, 15 rebounds, 13 assists, four blocks and two steals – Daaaaaaaamn! Cameron Rundles finished with 26 points, one rebound, two assists and a steal, while Bradd Weirzbicki finished with 18 points, three rebounds and four assists. It probably helped Ayron’s numbers that his teammates shot 60% from within the three-point line and 31% from beyond. The Sharks’ Mike Tuck continued his impressive run with 21 points and 11 rebounds and also dished out four assists; Ryan Patton finished with 23 points, four rebounds and seven assists; while Olu Babalola contributed 16, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. The Sharks were pretty decent from beyond the three-point line again on this night, hitting 50% (6-of-14) but their 61% from the charity stripe let them down.
After giving the league leaders just their second loss of the season, the Plymouth Raiders were on a high note going into their home game against the Durham Wildcats – and they didn’t miss a beat going for a 92-70 victory over the BBL newbies. Paul Williams was the other guy in that co-line-of-the-night going for 20 points and grabbing 20 boards while dishing an assist and making a block. James Jones finished with 19 points, one rebounds, four assists and Jeremy Bell chipped in 19 points, one rebound, four assists while grabbing two steals. It was a disappointing game for the Wildcats: 12 players all got court time but only Paul Elderkin (22 points, three rebounds, three assists) and Mario Flaherty (13 points, seven rebounds, six assists) actually posted stat lines worth mentioning. The Raiders dominated the glass grabbing 51 rebounds to Durham’s 26, while Durham struggled getting to the line, hitting 50% on just 10 attempts.
The Worcester Wolves are holding onto second place after a 95-79 home victory over the Cheshire Jets. Richie Gordon was solid as always, finishing with 23 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and four blocks while Arnas Kaslauskas finished with 22, four rebounds and three assists; Tommy Freeman dropped 15 points, four rebounds and dished out two assists. The Wolves shot 48% from deep range. The Jets’ Bill Cole had an impressive game contributing 18 points, seven rebounds, one assist and two steals. Kai Williams added 16 points and five rebounds, while Adam Brown was solid across the board scoring 13 points plus dishing nine assists and grabbing six boards.
Sunday saw the Glasgow Rocks host the Durham Wildcats, with the Rocks taking a 79-59 victory. For the Rocks, Mychal Green finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a pair of blocks; Gareth Murray scored 21 to go with three rebounds, two assists a steal and a block; and E.J. Harrison also contributed 12 points, two rebounds and six assists. The Wildcats were again unimpressive, shooting 7% (2-of-28) from behind the three-point line! Mario Flaherty’s 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals was the team’s top performance while D.J. Glavan contributed 13 points, four assists and two steals, and Paul Elderkin, who’d scored 22 the night before, went 0-of-8 from deep on route to two points and 11 rebounds.
The final game of the weekend saw Worcester Wolves dominate the Guildford Heat, 100-78, behind 19 points and eight rebounds from Richie Gordon, 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists from Arnas Kaslauskas and 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists from Sherrad Prezzie-Blue. For the Heat, Frank Holmes led the way with 24 points, nine rebounds and an assist while Mike Martin had 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and Martelle McLemore finished with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. The Heat shot 31% from deep compared with the Wolves 48%; the Heat also shot just 71% from the stripe against Worcester’s 83%.
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. Chadwick is now a contributor at BBLfans.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at @chadwick9.