The McDonald’s Nottingham Hoods cruised to a solid victory at the weekend against a key rival for the play-off spots with a comfortable 66-80 away win against East London All Stars.
East London All Stars were sitting just behind the Hoods in the league table, but this victory cleared some daylight as the Hoods moved back into the Top 4 for the first time in 2016.
In a tough 1st Quarter, the All Stars took the early lead in a game that ebbed and flowed as both teams tried to feel out the competition. All Stars have statistically the best 3-point shooter in the league, but the Hoods kept him to just 2 successful efforts, with Kieran Wright leading the charge for the Hoods from behind the arc. With the game tied at 17, All Stars had a couple of defensive stops, which they converted into a 21-17 1st quarter lead.
By the 2nd quarter, the Hoods had found their rhythm as they went on a 6-0 run thanks to Lorenzo and Krest, before another All Stars three halted their progress and handed the hosts the lead for the last time at 24-23. The Hoods were then unstoppable for the rest of the quarter, taking in 19-9 through great work around the basket from Urbistondo and Lorenzo and pin-point shooting accuracy from Wright and Siczek. At halftime, the Hoods had a 30-36 lead.
Lorenzo didn’t let up in the third as he extended the Hoods lead, backed up by Davis and Siczek as they piled the pressure on the hosts to take a commanding 41-56 lead at the end of the third.
The 4th quarter has seen the Hoods take their eye of the game in recent weeks, and the All Stars knew this as they came out of the break straight into a full court press, forcing turnovers and rushed shots from the Hoods and bringing them back to within 9. Coach Waghorn called a time-out to calm his troops down and stop the All Stars momentum to great effect as Lorenzo and Siczek continued to score at will, with Kelly and Mitchell adding some valuable breathing space before taking the game 66-80.
Top Scorers: Lorenzo 31; Urbistondo 16; Siczek 13; Wrigth 7; Davis 5; Mitchell 4; Krest 2; Kelly 2.
Elsewhere, Hoods II continued their push for a play-off space with a crucial away win at Kingston Panthers with Poynton top scoring with 14, backed up by Parker 13 and Spencer 11. The Hoods Junior u18 and u14 games were called off by the opposition, which juts lest the Junior Hoods u16 to round off a perfect weekend for the Hoods as they won 82-55 against Ilkeston Outlaws.
The Hoods are back at home this weekend, Saturday 20th February with a 6.30pm tip against a talented Brixton Topcats team. Nothing less than a win will do as the Hoods look to solidify a home play-off spot and continue their fine run at home, where they are undefeated in league play since March 1st 2014. The Merry Men are advised to get down early as a sell-out is expected.