D4: Derby Trailblazers II go down to Shropshire Warriors despite superb first quarter

 

Derby Trailblazers end up on the losing side to the Shropshire Warriors 79-74, despite a stunning first quarter from the home side. The first quarter saw Derby go up 30-17, making five three-pointers in the process. Shropshire took the lead early in the third quarter, but despite briefly trading the lead, held on for the win.

 

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After the game, Coach Simon Fisher said: “I think if you look at the league table both teams were probably sitting tied third. We knew it was going to be a tough game coming into it; they’ve got an excellent coach a good friend of mine. He set them up correctly. We’re missing a couple of players, especially George Calvey. It's not like the others can’t step up; he’s just another big body.

“I think there’s times where we win games and times where we lose games and I think they won this game. I don’t think we threw it away necessarily; we made some bad decisions at some stretch but they won that game and they outplayed us at times.”

When asked about his side’s performance, coach Fisher said: “We did a reasonable job at times but we didn’t execute at the other end, defensively we were okay but on offense I think we got sloppy early after the fourth quarter,”

“It’s a good learning experience for our youngsters. Hopefully we’ll come back stronger but I wish I was sitting in the crowd because it was probably a good game to watch. Not a great game to coach but I think it was a good game to watch.”

Derby led 30 - 17 after the first quarter as they went 5-9 from three-point range. The Trailblazers opened with two consecutive makes from beyond the arc to take an early 6-4 lead.

A block by Kayne King led to a shot clock expiry for Shropshire, King then made two assists as the home side’s lead extended to 20-9. Another two three-point baskets from Ben Brown and Jonno Jessup completed the first quarter.

Shropshire improved in the second quarter, bringing the score back to 47-42. They made two early baskets after Connor Hersey’s emphatic block. King stopped a 6-0 run with a floater followed by a made triple.

Shropshire’s first successful three-pointer of the game late in the quarter brought the score back to 44-38, which they then followed up with another before King fired back with a three-pointer of Derby’s own, with the home side going 3-9 from three-point range in the second quarter.

A tightly contested third quarter saw Shropshire eventually take the lead for the first time, through Joshua Crutchley’s bank shot, which put them 48-47 ahead. The two sides traded the lead as well as baskets until Derby went up 54-50 up.

However, a 10-0 Shropshire run followed with the powerful Simon Hoar scoring all the points in that sequence, giving them a 64-57 lead at the end of a very tight third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, an early three-pointer was followed by two turnovers for Derby, as the game turned tense and feisty contest. Shropshire moved 67-60 ahead with 5:23 remaining. Two three-point makes and a made basket from Martin Manchev brought Derby back within three points as the game became more intense the longer it went on.

Another three pointer brought Derby back within two points with 2:54 remaining. A made free throw cut Shropshire’s lead to 77-73 with a minute remaining, before Simon Hoar of Shropshire knocked down two from the charity stripe to see out the game, with the score 79-74 in favour of Shropshire.

Derby: Jessup 19, B. Brown 14, Manchev 13, J. Wroe 12, King 10, Daykin 2, Lue 2, T. Brown 2, Essel-Jaji 0, Hersey 0, Mutemesango 0, T. Wroe 0.

Warriors: Hoar 38, Crutchley 14, Liutkus 10, Parry 9, McLean 3, Tyanase 2, O’Leary 2, Pearsall 1, Bryant 0, Guest 0, Pugh 0.

The 4-4 Derby Trailblazers II team returns to action on Sunday December 17th with a trip to Birmingham Mets II in D4 Midlands. Their scheduled trip to Nottingham Hoods next Saturday has been postponed due to Hoods involvement in the fourth round of the National Shield.