The Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods gave a good account of themselves on the road in their Division 1 debut but ultimately came up short to Bradford Dragons, 103-91
The game started well enough with Slavic winning the tip and finishing the lay-up to score the Hoods first ever Division 1 points. New signing Cole Welle, was then sent to the line where he halved his free-throws before hitting a tough layup off a great Mitchell assist. Soon after though, he was called for an offensive foul and had to sit down after just 2 minutes having already picked up two fouls. The two teams then traded baskets, included a James 3 to bring the game back to within 2, but with 3 minutes to go, poor offensive control from the Hoods lead to some easy fast-break scores for Dragons as they went on 10 point run. Slavic hit a jump-shot at the buzzer, but Dragons had built a good lead, 26-16.
In the second quarter, Hoods started to find a bit more shooting form, with Brownall hitting a 3, followed by a couple of free-throws to bring the deficit back to 7 before back to back dunks from Dragons and another 8 point run forced Coach Westley into a time-out, trailing 38-23. The tied turned back in Hoods direction slowly, but too many forced shots on the offensive end were handing too many easy baskets to the athletic Dragons team. A little run by the Hoods, culminating in a 3 for Welle bought Hoods closer but still trailing 56-42 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Hoods caught fire as Welle and Mitchell seemed to be in absolute sync trading assists and baskets with each other. Mid-way through the half, Watts hit a couple of 3s and the lead was down to 7 again. A couple of free-throws from James and a 3 by Mitchell and that deficit was soon down to just 2 points with 3.30 remaining in the third. A well times Dragons 3, stemmed the flow, but a Watts block and two more from the line for Mitchell had the deficit back to 2. A couple of turnovers though allowed Dragons to extend the lead to 80-74 at the end of the third.
A 3 to start the final 10 minutes was just what Dragons needed to put the pressure on Hoods, and further turnovers allowed easy fast break points as Dragons quickly took their lead back up to 11 points. Unfortunately for everything the Hoods were doing well, they were forcing too many shots and handing the ball back to Dragons who punished them. A good run by Maher, scoring 8 points in just 1 minute gave Hoods a sniff, at 98-91, but as Watts left the game with serious head injury, the Dragons could play out the final minute to take the win.
Watts required 5 stitches and will be a little groggy, our thanks go to the Dragons First Aid team who looked after him very well.
Coach Westley commented, “We were made to pay for some bad offence by a strong team, allowing them too many fast break points. Plenty of positives to take from the game though, Welle fitted in nicely for his first run and we showed signs of what we can do when we click. Tintin (Watts) will need a couple of days off, but hopefully he’ll be back for next week.”
Welle – 21 points – 7 rebounds – 1 assist – 1 steal
Mitchell – 20 points – 3 rebounds – 8 assists
Watts – 13 points – 3 rebounds – 1 assist – 1 steal – 1 block
Slavic – 12 points – 3 rebounds – 1 assist – 1 block
James – 10 points – 2 rebounds – 1 assist
Maher – 8 points – 2 rebounds
Brownell – 7 points – 1 rebound