D1: Derby earn first ever win over Lancashire in Bury
Lancashire Spinners 59 (28, 45, 67)
Derby Trailblazers 82 (12, 31, 53)
NBL Men’s Division One
Derby Trailblazers had only made two previous trips to Castle Leisure Centre in Bury and both had ended in defeat. This third visit coincided with an improvement in results for Lancashire, who went into the game off the back of wins over Worthing Thunder and Manchester Magic.
So, a potential banana skin lay in waiting for the second placed Trailblazers, who were struggling with injuries to Adria Amabilino Perez and Chris Taylor. Worse still, the early signs weren’t good, as the Spinners surged to a 7-nil advantage after only three minutes.
However, Derby need not have worried, as they gradually clawed their way back into the game over the remainder of the first quarter, before a dominant 17-6 second period saw them move 28-19 ahead, as they made light work of the opposition.
Brian Amabilino Perez led all scorers with twenty points, six rebounds and zero turnovers, while Rema Lascelles had eighteen points and eleven boards, while Josh Ward-Hibbert added fifteen and six. For Lancashire, only Connor Murtagh reached double figures, with sixteen points.
“Against Spinners we started slowly (7-0 and 10-2 down) but then played some of the best defensive basketball we've played. To hold a team like them scoreless for over 7 minutes is impressive and the lads really took control of the game.
“We dominated the rebounding battle and I think that made a big difference. Plus we shot the ball well from the field. But ultimately everything stems from our defence.
“At times on defence we were relentless. We made it tough for them to get shots off and created a lot of turnovers which lead to scores.
It was Ward-Hibbert who eventually scored Derby’s first points, before a three-pointer from Murtagh made it 10-2 to the home side. However, the Trailblazers hit the next four points through Oli Stanley and Ward-Hibbert again.
Lancashire then converted another shot from downtown to lead 13-6, but Derby then held them scoreless for the remaining 5’42” of the first quarter, whilst adding a three-pointer and a pair of free throws from Lascelles to end the first period 13-11 down.
Murtagh opened the second period with a deuce for Lancashire before consecutive scores from Stanley and Ward-Hibbert tied the scores at 15-15.
Veteran centre Mike Bernard then made his only score of the night, before Derby produced arguably their best spell of the game, holding the Spinners scoreless for almost eight minutes.
The sequence began with a three-pointer from Brian Amabilino Perez and continued with a pair of jump shots from Stanley, either side of a Max Morrison lay up. Lascelles and Ward-Hibbert then added another pair of jump shots before Lancashire eventually found the hoop through Murtagh.
That left Derby leading 19-28 at the interval and looking well placed to record their eighth win of the NBL D1 league season.
Mark Rangeley began the third period with a jump shot for Lancashire, before Lascelles was sent to the line for two shots. He made the first but missed the second, only for Stanley to capture the offensive rebound. He then fed the ball to Chris Taylor who set up Ward-Hibbert for a three-point play, meaning the Blazers had claimed four points from the two free throws and now led 22-32.
Murtagh’s jump shot was then answered with a three-pointer from Taylor, before Lancashire trimmed the gap back to just five points, as Murtagh and David Walsh struck from downtown.
Derby then began to lengthen their lead once more, as Lascelles scored from open play and Brian Amabilino Perez made three free throws on consecutive visits to the line.
Murtagh then made it 32-40, before the Trailblazers hit a 7-nil burst as Brian Amabilino Perez converted a three-pointer either side jump shots from Lascelles and Ward-Hibbert.
In the remaining six minutes of the third quarter, Derby outscored the home side 16-8, with Brian Amabilino Perez scoring three of five at the line as well as scoring from both inside and outside the arc from open play. It was clearly his night.
Lascelles added two more baskets within that run and there was also a score from Ward-Hibbert, as the Trailblazers took a 40-56 lead into the last ten minutes.
Morrison began the final quarter with a spectacular dunk and it wasn’t long before Taylor stole the ball and knocked down a triple.
James Banton reduced the deficit with a three-point play before Morrison was at it again, with another huge dunk. He then added a pair of free-throws for good measure after being fouled on the way to the hoop.
The biggest lead came with 6’22” remaining, as Lascelles found Brian Amabilino Perez open for his third long range basket of the night. That made it 45-70 to the Blazers and all the Spinners could think about was damage litigation.
As for Derby, there was still time for Brian Amabilino Perez still had time to add a fourth three-pointer from six attempts, as he produced one of his best performances of the season so far.
“Brian had an excellent game on Saturday. He did a lot of his scoring in the second half but it was his contribution to the team defence that really impressed me,” said Coach Matt Shaw.
Lancashire: Murtagh 16, Rangeley 9, Walsh 8, Banton 6, Newe 6, Ulph 6, Hudson 4, Bernard 2, Nikolov 2, Tordoff 0.
Derby: B. Amabilino Perez 20, Lascelles 18, Ward-Hibbert 15, Stanley 11, Taylor 10, Morrison 8, A. Amabilino Perez 0, King 0.
The Trailblazers now take a two week break, prior to their National Cup Semi-Final at home to Team Northumbria on Sunday 11th December (4:15pm). The scheduled NBL D1 League match at home to Loughborough Student Riders has been postponed because of the Cup Semi-Final.
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Saturday’s results are summarised below:
D1 Men: Lancashire Spinners 59 – 82 Derby Trailblazers
U18 Men (PN): Leeds Allerton High School Force Academy 99 – 84 Derby Trailblazers
U18 Men (Mids): West Bromwich Albion 64 – 48 Derby Trailblazers II
U16 Boys (WM): Mansfield Giants 68 – 90 Derby Trailblazers
U14 Girls (NR): Derby Trailblazers 36 – 57 Manchester Mystics