D1: Derby book Cup semi-final tie with first ever knock out win over Magic
Derby Trailblazers 86 (25, 39, 63) }
Manchester Magic 72 (12, 35, 52) }
NBL Men’s National Cup - Quarter Final
Derby Trailblazers will face Team Northumbria at home in the semi-finals of the National Cup, after beating Manchester Magic for the first time in a knock out competition.
Aside from the briefest of ties at 49-all midway through the third quarter, Derby led from start to finish, as they recovered from the previous day’s disappointing league defeat.
“We said after Saturday night’s loss against Lituanica, it was good to have a chance to bounce back straight away and that’s exactly what we did,” said Trailblazers Head Coach Matt Shaw:
“I’m really pleased with how the team responded to our first loss. We started really well and I thought we controlled the game for large periods. Magic won all four pieces of silverware last season, so it was good to play so well against one of the top teams,” he said.
Josh Ward-Hibbert led all scorers with twenty-five points, but it was once again captain Rema Lascelles who grabbed the eye, with one of the most complete performances a Derby point-guard has produced for many years.
He finished the game with twenty-four points, eleven rebounds and eleven assists to claim his first triple-double of the season and draw significant praise from Coach Shaw:
“Rema had an excellent game. He made a lot of crucial plays and dictated the tempo of the game very well. He’s been close to a triple double several times already this season, so it’s really nice to see him clinch one in such a big game,” he said.
It was Lascelles who opened the scoring with a lightening quick response to a missed three-point attempt, grabbing the offensive rebound and slotting the ball back for two points before anyone else could react.
Stefan Gill replied with a jump shot, before Kayne King found Lascelles wide open for a shot from downtown, which he drained with ease. It was a rare start for King, but the Derby Academy graduate did a fantastic man-marking job against the prolific high scoring threat of Gill, as well as dishing off a string of assists.
Derby were 7-4 up when Ward-Hibbert stole the ball and surged down court, only to be stopped by American Duane Morgan, who was called for an unsportsmanlike foul.
With the bonus shots safely in the bag, the two sides exchanged baskets until the Trailblazers suddenly embarked on a 10-0 run, holding the visitors scoreless for over four minutes.
Brian Amabilino Perez began the charge with a three-pointer and there was also a three-point play for Chris Taylor after he was fouled while completing a spectacular offensive put back.
Derby were 25-12 up at the first break and a three-point play from Morrison stretched their lead to sixteen points at the start of the second, before Manchester began to pull back with a barrage of three-pointers.
Kayin Darbey, Gill and Jack Minister (2) all converted, as the Magic cut the gap to 33-32 and prompted a time-out from the Trailblazers with 4’05” on the clock
Ward-Hibbert and Lascelles then scored either side of a solitary free throw from Darbey before Morgan was called for a second unsportsmanlike foul, leading to his ejection from the game some fifty-five seconds before the half-time break.
Derby didn’t profit from the incident though, with Taylor missing both free-throws and Brian Amabilino Perez missing a subsequent lay-up. A score from Minister and a pair of free-throws for Lascelles were all there was time for before the break with the Blazers taking a 39-35 lead into the locker rooms.
The early part of the third quarter was tight before Lascelles and Ward-Hibbert combined for a 6-nil burst to lead 49-41. However, Minister replied with back to back three-pointers, the second of which was launched from nearer the half-way line than the arc.
Gill then tied the game at 49-all, but that was as close as the visitors would get. Derby completed the third quarter with a 14-3 run, inspired by more great offensive play from Lascelles, Ward-Hibbert, Taylor, Max Morrison and Brian Amabilino Perez.
That meant the Trailblazers took a healthy 63-52 lead into the final quarter, and although Magic briefly cut the gap to 69-62, they could get no closer, despite using their final two time-outs either side of a massive blocked shot by Brian Amabilino Perez.
Minister added another pair of back to back threes late in the game before becoming the second Manchester player to foul out. That left Derby to close out the game with a string of shots from the free-throw line, to secure an 86-72 win in front of a packed and very noisy home crowd, who left the Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre delighted by the Trailblazers performance.
Reflecting on the victory, Coach Matt Shaw felt Derby’s defensive performance was key to the win:
“Minister hit some tough shots and played really well, but a lot of his shots were contested. We did an excellent job on some of their other key players.
Ollie [Stanley] and Max [Morrison] were superb defensively. Not only did they do an awesome job on Magic’s big guys, they also protected the paint well too.
“Early on, Kayne [King] set the defensive intensity of the game which helped get us going. I thought both he and Chris [Taylor] applied excellent pressure on their guards, but it’s fair to say everyone was tuned in defensively,” he said.
The date and time for the National Cup semi-final are still to be confirmed. While Derby will host Team Northumbria, the other semi-final will see Team Solent Kestrels at home to the last remaining D2 side in the competition, that being Kent Crusaders.
Derby: Ward-Hibbert 25, Lascelles 24, B. Amabilino Perez 13, Morrison 10, Stanley 5, Taylor 5, A. Amabilino Perez 3, King 2, Elliott-Sewell DNP, Singleton DNP.
Magic: Minister 28, Gill 14, Darbey 9, M. Anumba 7, S. Anumba 6, Morgan 4, Goldsbrough 2, Onifade 2, Hickey 0, Lewis 0, Ali DNP.
Derby are back in NBL D1 action next Saturday afternoon, when they travel to Lancashire Spinners (5:45pm), before returning home to take on Worthing Thunder at the Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon (4:15pm).
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The weekend results are summarised below:
D1 Men (Cup QF): Derby Trailblazers 86 – 72 Manchester Magic
U18 Men (Cup R4): Derby Trailblazers 76 – 70 Leeds Allerton High School Force Academy
(Derby will be at home to winner of Bristol Academy Fliers v Reading Rockets Academy in the Quarter Finals)
U18 Men (Mids): Derby Trailblazers II 50 – 48 Birmingham Mets
U14 Girls (North): Hatfield Fliers 47 – 67 Derby Trailblazers