McDonald’s Nottingham Hoods are guaranteed a top 2 finish following a convincing 67-92 victory away to Sheffield Sabres. The Hoods travelled to Sheffield knowing that a win would guarantee them a top two finish for the season and a chance to get to the second tier of Basketball England’s National Leagues. It was not going to be an easy task as Sabres have some talented players and are very capable of beating any team on their day.
It did not start well with Hoods missing easy baskets and Sabres capitalised and went into an 8-0 lead after 3 minutes with Sabres former BBL player Locker Okorie dominating. Hoods scored their first points from in-form Spaniard Alvaro Guerra with two successful free throws. That sparked Hoods into life and with baskets starting to drop they pulled back to 10-10 and went in front with 2 points from the impressive Nottingham local Danny Wong with 3mins left in the first quarter. Hoods continued to dominate and close the quarter with further points from Wong, Guerra, Siczek, Stanley and American Evan Carberry finishing with a 20-16 lead.
The Second quarter saw another surge and Hoods went into a 10 point lead within two minutes of the restart at 26-16 with Kieran Wright and Liam Kelly getting onto the score sheet. Wong and Guerra continued to rack up the points assisted by Alex Burrows, Troy Thompson, Lukasz Siczek and Ben Stanley in a quarter that proved decisive. A great team effort and excellent coaching from Phil Waghorn saw them take the second 33-10 and go into the dressing room with a commanding 53-26 lead.
Hoods moved into their biggest lead of the game at 63-30 within two minutes of the third quarter but Sabres Pollack, Walwyn and Thickett stepped up the pace scoring 16 points between them, finishing the third on a 12-6 run. Long range three pointers from Hoods Wright and Guerra plus further points from Carberry, Siczek and Stanley held Sabres to a 16-16 third quarter leaving Hoods with a 69-42 lead going into the fourth.
Points flowed in the fourth with Troy Thompson and Alvaro Guerra hitting eight points each, along with a superb 3 point shot from downtown by Ryan Westley and a layup from Siczek saw Hoods grab 23 points. This matched and bettered by Sabres 25 points with the pick of their team being Connor and Walwyn. The game finished with a comfortable win 92-67 giving the Hoods a guaranteed top two place with 3 regular season games to go, on a 17 win, 2 loss record.
Hoods: Guerra(28), Wong(12), Thompson(10), Stanley(8), Siczek(6), Wright(6), Carberry(6), Wright(6), Westley(5),Kelly(4), Burrow(2).
Sabres: Thickett(16), Pollack(15), Connor(14), Walwyn(12), Okorie(10)
Hoods now have three games left and to win the league they need to win all three, eminently achievable given their current record.
The next home game is this Saturday 28th February with a 6.30pm tip off against a strong Team Birmingham and the club is asking all Nottingham basketball supporters to show up and support the team. Entry is just £2 Adults and £1 under 16’s and concessions. If they win that game the club is asking for supporters to make the journey to Liverpool on the 7th March in what could be a championship decider.
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