McDonalds Nottingham Hoods travelled to Liverpool to face a team that has lost just one league game in the past two seasons to effectively decide the league championship. Unfortunately it was Liverpool’s experience that showed as they ran out convincing 81-60 winners.
The two teams have faced off against each other twice this season, with Hoods the only team to have beaten Liverpool when they won a tight home leg, before Liverpool beat them in Overtime in the Shield semi-final, so the travelling fans hoped they were in for another cracker.
The day did not start well, with inspirational captain Apostolis Apostolidis unavailable due to a sudden illness and Kirk Davis coming down with the illness but still playing.
The first quarter started with 3 attempts at the basket proving unsuccessful, and early foul calls on Danny Wong and Alvaro Guerra ensured the Hoods were already on the back foot. A low scoring start to the game, but determined defence from the home side saw them go ahead 9-3 after 6minues of the first quarter. The foul count was rising against the Hoods having collected 7 against Liverpool’s 4 a factor which caused Coach Phil Waghorn to have to use his bench more than he would have liked and Liverpool took full advantage running out to a 19-8 first quarter lead.
The second quarter started well for the Hoods with American Evan Carberry leading the charge with downtown 3 points shots and good contributions from Guerra, Ben Stanley and Lukasz Siczek as they closed the gap to 23-20 thanks to a 12-4 run. A timeout by Liverpool and an ankle injury to Guerra as he collided with a courtside bench stopped the run as Liverpool went on another 14-3 scoring run to lead 37-23 at halftime.
With tThe foul count mounting against the Hoods, Coach Waghorn’s playing options were becoming limited, but the Hoods would not lie down and good work from Siczek and Carberry started to inch their way into the lead, but a much larger Liverpool outfit managed the gap well thanks to numerous second chance opportunities as they controlled the offensive boards. Liverpool were in complete control and led 58-42 at the end of three.
Despite impressive shots from Kieran Wright and Davis, the Hoods were in serious foul trouble and it wasn’t long before both Wong and Davis had fouled out and effectively finished the contest. Liverpool started to relax and turn on the style. A big three from Alex Burrows, a run of threes from Wright and good inside work from Troy Thomspon gave the Hoods a glimmer of hope, but it was to be too little too late as an impressive Liverpool performance sealed the game 81-60
Hoods Scorers: Carberry 21; Siczek 12; Wright 10; Guerra 4; Wong 4; Burrows 3; Davis 2; Stanley 2; Guerra 2
It turned out to be a disappointing trip for the team and all their supporters but as befits a great squad the players immediately took to social media stating how they would come back stronger, with lessons having been learned.
Hoods Chair, Graham Blankley said, “It was a disappointment not to win but we were up against a strong Liverpool team and circumstances did not fall in our favour, what we have is a talented team and coaching staff who have achieved second in a strong league, a major achievement. The supporters this year have been exceptional and got behind the team. What all the volunteers at the club would like to see is a big attendance at our last league game of the season this coming Saturday with them making as much noise as possible. The second team have done as well as can be expected and the number of young players in that squad bodes well for the future of the club. The club as a whole is doing well at all ages and it is thanks to the coaches, players and parents that make the club such a vibrant place to be around. We are looking for volunteers to help with all aspects and for a supporters club to be set up to help put the club on the national map. Thanks to everyone involved in a great season for Nottingham Hoods’”
Elsewhere Hoods II finished their first season off in dissapointing fashion as they travelled to league leaders Doncaster Danum Eagles, where they went down 105-37.
Top Scorers: Franchi(12), Menakaya(7) and Poynton(6). There was good news for the impressive Hoods minis, as they continued their dominance with another great win.
The next home game is this Saturday, 14th March with a 6.30pm tip off against play-off chasing and local rivals Derby Trailblazers. The club is asking all Nottingham basketball supporters to show up and support the team – preferably in Robin Hood fancy dress. We are anticipating a sell-out so make sure you arrive early. Entry is just £2 Adults and £1 under 16’s and concessions.
The next home game is Saturday 14th March with a 6.30pm tip off against play-off chasing and local rivals Derby Trailblazers and the club is asking all Nottingham basketball supporters to show up and support the team – preferably in Robin Hood fancy dress. Entry is just £2 Adults and £1 under 16’s and concessions.
Nottingham Hoods are a community club with teams from under 12’s to under 18’s, they also have a women’s section. For further information check out the club Web Site www.hoodsbasketball.com
If you would like to watch a game or become a part of the Hoods family the check out www.hoodbasketball.com or follow @hoodsbasketball on Twitter