D1: Trailblazers aim to complete clean sweep over Essex Leopards
Having already beaten Essex at home in NBL division one and on the road in the Quarter Final of the Men’s National Cup, Derby Trailblazers will look to complete their set of victories over the defending league champions, as they make the trip to Harlow Leisurezone on Saturday (7:30pm).
While Derby recorded back-to-back victories last weekend, Leopards suffered consecutive losses, leaving them languishing in eighth place, with a 9-8 record. Despite this, they are an experienced team, who will be looking to bounce straight back to victory, according to Derby’s Assistant Coach Steve Baxter:
“Leopards have had some mixed results this season and have lost three of their eight home league games, which I’m sure they won’t be happy about. However, none of those defeats were by more than six points, so I think we can expect a real battle.
“At home they are one of the better defensive teams in the league and rarely are their games high scoring and that is a formula that has been successful to them the last couple of years.
“Personnel wise, they have players with experience and quite a few of them played significant roles in their title winning team last season. Ladi Brown is having one of his best scoring seasons I can remember and is shooting the ball well from inside and out. Albert Margai is another who can penetrate or score from outside, both are strong defenders who know what it takes to win.
“Will Ashby and Courtney Van-Beest have both really improved in the last couple of years and compliment the team nicely. Leopards are not the tallest team in the league by any stretch but they rebound pretty well as a team and hurt us in our earlier games with their offensive rebounding. We need to defend the perimeter well also. They have numerous players who are comfortable shooting from three-point range and it is important that we don’t let anyone get into a rhythm.
“It is getting toward crunch time for teams and nobody wants to go on a poor run. A few defeats in a row can make a huge difference to league positioning. The next few weeks will start to define league positions at the end of the season but we must not get to far ahead of ourselves.
“We will continue to take things one step at a time and try to carry on doing the things that have been making us successful so far this season.
“Our recent form is good, having won six of our last seven games, showing some real character along the way. We have had different players like Chris [Taylor] and Brian [Amabilino Perez]
stepping up in games and taking some of the scoring load away from Tin-Tin [Watts], Dan [Watts] and Sydney [Donaldson], which can only be positive.
There have also been some good performances defensively both individually and collectively and that remains the blueprint to our success. Other than Reiss [Harwood] who remains a longer term injury concern, we should have a full squad available to travel to the game,” he said.
Saturday’s game is a 7:30pm tip-off at Harlow Leisurezone, CM20 3DT.
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The full schedule of games for this weekend is as follows:
D1 Men: Essex Leopards v Derby Trailblazers;
7:15pm at Harlow Leisurezone
U16 Boys (MDL): Derby Trailblazers v Ilkeston Outlaws;
2pm at Clarence Wiggins Sports Hall
U14 Boys (MDL): Shropshire Warriors v Derby Trailblazers II;
2pm at Sport TCAT
D3 Men: Derby Trailblazers II v Doncaster Danum Eagles;
2:15pm at Clarence Wiggins Sports Hall
Men’s Dvlpmt: Derby Trailblazers III v Kingston Panthers;
12:15pm at Clarence Wiggins Sports Hall
U18 Men: Team Birmingham Elite v Derby Trailblazers;
12pm at The Factory YPC
Live updates for most games can be found by following www.facebook.com/derbytrailblazersclub or @derbyblazers on Twitter. All the latest news is also online at www.derbytrailblazers.com
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