D1: Trailblazers send Students back to classroom 18/03/17


Loughborough SR 63 (15, 28, 45)
Derby Trailblazers 74 (16, 29, 52)
NBL Men’s Division One

Derby Trailblazers produced a solid performance to beat Loughborough Student Riders in what was remarkably the first league meeting of the season between the two sides. After a tight first half, Derby began to pull away after the break, with a 10-nil run in the third quarter coupled with a 12-nil burst in the fourth proving key to their success.

The Trailblazers lead peaked at 65-50 when Chris Taylor both started and capped off the latter of those runs with a pair of three-pointers, as he cruised to a game high sixteen points. He also gathered six rebounds, seven steals and dished off five assists in a superb all round performance.

The Amabilino Perez twins were also in good form, capturing seven rebounds each, while Brian added fifteen points and Adria fourteen. Max Morrison was the other Derby player in double figures, finishing with twelve points, whilst adding five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

“I was delighted how well we battled on Saturday. Being without Ollie [Stanley] and with Max [Morrison] in early foul trouble, I was pleased with how the guys dug in to get to half time in such a good shape,” said the Trailblazers Head Coach Matt Shaw.

“Defensively we stepped up and produced some great spells in the second half. The guys did a great job on the glass. We said we would need to make up for Ollie's absence with everyone getting one or two more rebounds than normal and we did just that.

“Max was excellent in the second half. He's upped his scoring in the second half of the season and has been immense on defence and we saw that yet again against Loughborough. We controlled the final few minutes really well, generally making good decisions and getting the ball where we wanted,” he said.

In addition to Stanley being absent for personal reasons, Matt Ward-Hibbert also missed out as he continues to recuperate from a recent back injury, but Derby adapted well to life without the pair.

Assistant Coach Paul Bowen suited up and produced a couple of cameo appearances to allow Morrison a breather and Academy players Callum Singleton and Omari Smith were also added to the side as cover.

While Smith only saw 28 seconds of court time, Singleton made more of an impact, netting four points, one rebound and one assist in just less than five minutes of action.

Derby started the game strongly, with the twins both on the score sheet from the Blazers first couple of possessions. After a reply from Sam Broughton, Adria added another two points before Brian produced a steal and an assist to allow Taylor to take the score to 2-8.

Broughton then added another basket for Loughborough before Jake Wesselingh struck from downtown for Derby, prompting the Students to take an early time-out.

Seemingly boosted by an angry tirade from their coach, Loughborough then closed the gap to a single point and with the two sides exchanging three-pointers thereafter it was Derby who took a 15-16 lead into the first break.

Baskets from Brian Amabilino Perez, Wesselingh and Singleton stretched that lead to seven points early in the second, before a 12-5 run from the Students tied the game at 27-all with 35” left before the break.

A basket from Brian Amabilino Perez was followed by one of two at the line from Max Richardson, to make the half time score 28-29 in favour of the Trailblazers.

When play resumed, Loughborough arguably had the upper hand for the opening three and a half minutes. They took the lead for the first time in the game with a three-pointer from Alex Roberts, only for Adria Amabilino Perez to effectively cancel his score out with a three-point play.

Five lead changes followed, before Derby began the first of those two crucial runs. Back to back scores from Morrison were followed by another three-point play, this time for Brian Amabilino Perez and then a three-pointer from his twin brother Adria.

That took the score to 38-46 with two and a half minutes of the third quarter remaining. The two sides then exchanged baskets, with a three-pointer from King the highlight for Derby, as they took a 45-52 lead into the final break.

Sesan Russell gave Riders a spark of the bench at the start of the fourth, striking from inside and out, either side of a pair of Morrison free-throws. But Derby were about to go on a 12-nil burst which would seal the outcome of the game.

Taylor scored all but three of the points within the run, with Wesselingh striking from downtown to add the other three. The sequence took the score to 50-65 with 3’34” on the clock and despite a late flourish from Russell who added another five points, there was no way back into the game for Loughborough, despite trimming the deficit to 61-70.

In the end, two pairs of free-throws from King and Singleton helped Derby close the game out with a 4-2 run which secured a 63-74 away win.

Riders: Noel 14, Russell 12, Christofis 9, Richardson 8, Broughton 6, Roberts 5, Hemmingway 4, Langton 3, Forsyth 2, Chingombe 0, Dietrich 0, Pinnock 0.

Derby: Taylor 16, B. Amabilino Perez 15, A. Amabilino Perez 14, Morrison 12, Wesselingh 8, King 5, Singleton 4, Bowen 0, Smith 0, Ward-Hibbert DNP.

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Sunday’s results are summarised below:

D1 Men: Loughborough Student Riders 63 – 74 Derby Trailblazers
U16 Girls (North): Stockport Lapwings 63 – 42 Derby Trailblazers