There’s a new leader in the BBL after last weekend’s action, as the Worcester Wolves got to celebrate Christmas early in defeating the Newcastle Eagles. BallinEurope’s Sam Chadwick runs down his list to separate the naughty from the nice over this past weekend below…
The BBL season has finished for Christmas in what was a dramatic weekend of action. The Worcester Wolves went undefeated to enter the break atop the table, as the Newcastle Eagles lost for the first time, while the one winless team ended their losing streak with a 1-1 weekend.
The first game of the weekend saw the Guildford Heat win for the first time this season. On an away trip to the Mersey Tigers, the Heat took an 82-76 victory over the Tigers behind 22 points, six rebounds and two assists from Mike Martin. Tayo Ogedengbe contributed 18 points, eight rebounds and an assist while Martelle Mclemore finished with 18 points, five rebounds and one assist. For the Tigers, Kris Douse led the way with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double to go with one assist and four turnovers while young star Myles Hesson finished with 19 points, six rebounds and five turnovers. David Aliu was the final contributor for the Tigers, chipping in 10 points, four rebounds and two assists.
The Newcastle Eagles saw their undefeated streak ended by the Worcester Wolves, who used a 43-point final quarter to get the win after being down by nine at the half. The Eagles were led by a valiant effort from Charles Smith who finished with 37 points, seven rebounds and one assist, Andrew Thomson contributed a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists while Joe Chapman added 17 points, four rebounds and six assists against six turnovers. The Eagles shot 39% from the field and 61% from the free-throw line; by comparison, the Wolves shot 44% from the field and 70% from the line. The Wolves were led by 33 points from Tommy Freeman plus eight rebounds and two assists; centre Richie Gordon had a double-double of his own with 20 points, 12 rebounds and a couple of assists; while Sherrad Prezzie-Blue was the Wolves’ second-highest scorer finishing with 23 points, three rebounds and two assists.
The Sheffield Sharks managed to control Demarius Bolds and the Milton Keynes Lions Friday night on route to an 85-66 victory. Justin Dobbins had a solid stat line for the victors, finishing with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Jimmy Langhurst started his big weekend by contributing 28 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Mike Tuck had a near double-double of 11 points and nine rebounds. For the Lions, it was Demarius, held back from his usual scoring pace to finish with a respectable 18 points and four rebounds against six turnovers. Stefan Gill added 15 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Daniel Northern finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.
Saturday saw the Sharks play for the second consecutive night and finish with a second consecutive win, defeating the Durham Wildcats 90-71 in County Durham. Justin Dobbins again finished with a double-double: This one 22 points and 18 rebounds to go with two blocks. Jimmy Langhurst continued his great weekend with 27 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Ola Babalola added 15 points, one rebound and three assists. For the Wildcats, Mike Capocci top-scored with 18 points in addition to a couple rebounds and a couple of assists while Ralph Bucci had near triple-double numbers, finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Mario Flaherty added 14 points, six rebounds and three assists in the loss.
Worcester Wolves also played for the second time Saturday and, after their victory over first-place, Newcastle looked poised to take over the BBL Championship. An 87-65 victory at home against the Glasgow Rocks saw them grab that top spot behind an impressive double-double from Richie Gordon, who finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Tommy Freeman again helped lead the charge with 23 points, seven rebounds and an assist while back-up centre Arnas Kaslauskas finished with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. For the visitors, it seemed that after a brilliant run which includedNovember player of the month honors that Mychal Green may have slowed down: He finished with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Andrew Wedemire led the Rocks with 18 points and eight rebounds to go with an assist while player-coach Gareth Murray finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Sunday saw the Guildford Heat revert to its losing ways with an 83-73 loss at the Surrey Sports Park. Facing the Newcastle Eagles, Martelle McLemore did what he could for the home side but to no avail, finishing with 19 points, six rebounds and one assist, while Tayo Ogedengbe posted 17 points, five rebounds and one assists. Ever-consistent Mike Martin added 10 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks. For the Eagles, Charles Smith again dominated, finishing with 24 points and six rebounds; Joe Chapman added 23 points of his own to go with three rebounds and three assists, while big man Darius Defoe added 12 points and five rebounds for the winners.
The last game from the BBL before Christmas saw the Plymouth Raiders take a 94-67 victory over the Glasgow Rocks in Plymouth after a hard road trip for the Scottish side. Paul Williams gave the victors a double-double going for 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists while last year’s BBL MVP added 26 points, five rebounds, five assists and six steals; Lehmon Colbert also added a double-double, finishing with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. For the Rocks, Andrew Wedemire again led the way with 19 points and two rebounds; Danny Huffor contributed 16 points and six rebounds, while Jonny Bunyan added 12 points and five rebounds.
That wraps up the weekends BBL games here in the UK. Check back after the holiday 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.