D1: Trailblazers’ march on to National Cup Quarter Finals


Derby Trailblazers 84 (30, 53, 72) }
Westminster Warriors 76 (16, 38, 54) }
NBL Men’s National Cup - Fourth Round

Derby Trailblazers will host Manchester Magic in the quarter finals of the Men’s National Cup, after fending off a late fight back from Loughborough Student Riders. The Trailblazers let a twenty-two point lead slip, but kept their nerve to record an 84-76 home win.

Rema Lascelles led the way with 22 points and ten rebounds while Josh Ward-Hibbert added 16 and ten. Max Morrison (15) and Adria Amabilino Perez (13) were the other two Derby players in double figures.

Loughborough were led by Lucien Christofis, who scored all but three of his seventeen points in the final quarter, as he single-handedly tried to drag his team back into contention. He came off the bench to convert five out of five three-pointers and six of eight from the field overall in an impressive performance.

Fortunately, Derby had virtually done enough to seal the result before he became hot. They romped out of the starting blocks to take the first quarter 30-16, but the rest of the match proved to be much closer.

Were they guilty of easing off against a strong team too soon in the match? Head Coach Matt Shaw certainly felt so:

“Sunday was virtually the reverse of what happened on Saturday. Our first half at Solent was poor, but against Loughborough on Sunday, it was really good. We then took our foot off the pedal a little in the second half and went away from doing the things that had been working so well.

“On the whole though, it's another excellent weekend. We have to keep reminding ourselves that wins don't mean perfection and we have a lot of improving to do still,” he said.

After winning the tip, Chris Taylor found Ward-Hibbert in the far corner for an uncontested three-pointer. Ward-Hibbert then fed Taylor for a lay-up, before the pair switched roles again and Ward-Hibbert knocked down another triple to open up an 8-2 lead.

Lascelles then scored from inside and out, either side of a hook shot from Loughborough’s Sam Broughton. After a drive from Reiss Pinnock, Derby struck back with consecutive scores by Lascelles and Max Morrison.

Loughborough could only manage one of two at the line on their next possession, leaving Morrison to set up Lascelles for a triple. Moments later, Morrison was on the score sheet again and with the students staring at a 22-8 deficit, Coach Mark Jarram called time-out.

The remainder of the opening quarter was evenly contested, as Loughborough eventually found some rhythm on offence. The highlight of the four minute spell was without doubt a shot clock beating three-pointer from Adria Amabilino Perez, which took the score to 30-16 at the end of the first quarter.

The students started the second period strongly, hitting eight uncontested points and prompting a Derby time-out. Morrison ended the Blazers temporary slump and after the two sides had exchanged baskets, Derby began a 14-5 run which was capped off with a spectacular reverse lay-up from Taylor.

The Blazers were 53-38 ahead at half-time and a 9-nil burst early in the third gave them their biggest lead of the game, at 64-42. The remainder of the third was pretty even, with a dunk from Morrison and another buzzer beating triple from Adria Amabilino Perez forming the highlights.

With Derby leading 72-54 going into the final period, it should have been game over, but Christofis had clearly not read the script. The Loughborough shooting guard went into overdrive, shooting the lights out from downtown.

He had eight of the points in a 12-nil run which trimmed the gap to 77-71 and prompted the Trailblazers to take a time-out with 3’11” remaining. Lascelles steadied the ship with a lay-up and it was time for Loughborough to talk things over.

Their time-out was less successful, with Derby regaining possession Morrison getting up for another big dunk.

The Students replied through Dan Hemingway, before Lascelles sank three out of four from a pair of visits to the line in the closing seconds. And there was still time for Christofis to knock down another three-pointer, but it counted for nothing as time was on Derby’s side and they merely had to run the clock down to book their place in the quarter finals of the National Cup.

Derby: Lascelles 22, Ward-Hibbert 16, Morrison 15, A. Amabilino Perez 13, Stanley 8, Taylor 8, B. Amabilino Perez 4, King 2, Elliott-Sewell DNP, Singleton DNP.

Loughborough: Christofis 17, Richardson 13, Hemmingway 10, Noel 10, Pinnock 8, Broughton 6, Roberts 6, Dieterich 5, Chingombe 1, Langton 0, Yome 0, Forsyth DNP.

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Sunday’s results are summarised below:
Nat. Cup R4: Derby Trailblazers 84-76 Loughborough Student Riders
U18 Cup R3: Sheffield Junior Sharks 67-78 Derby Trailblazers


Game photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/derbytrailblazersbasketball/albums