This weekend saw McDonald’s Nottingham Hoods II finally get the chance to start their season against a travelling Shropshire Warriors, after last week’s default result, and they did not disappoint the expectant crowd.
Both teams started fast, trading baskets early on, in particular Junior Menakaya, who was establishing himself inside. However, Warriors good ball movement and professionalism allowed them to knock down open shots, to give them a 10 point lead at the end of the first quarter.
The introduction of young guns Truzzel Spencer and Matt Parker, combining for 12 points at half time, sparked a Hoods comeback. Increased defensive intensity and some great offense rebounding cut the Hood’s deficit to just 2 points at the break.
The 2nd half saw Hoods crank it up a gear. Matt Parker caught fire, hitting tough shot after tough shot. Veterans Paul Parry and Kallum Dunn pushed the ball to allow easy fast break points, whilst Junior continued to cause trouble inside, both offensively and defensively. An and1 layup from Ian Poynton gave the hoods a slim lead going into the last period.
Some sharp shooting from the Warriors saw them continue to contend as the lead yo-yo’ed between the two closely matched teams. 4 of Jordan Mulligan’s 6 points came at a vital time, with two back-to-back baskets giving Hoods a 2 point lead heading into the last 30 seconds. Strong on the ball defence forced Warriors to take a rushed shot at the end, with Hoods securing the rebound to lead them to victory at the close.
Top Scorers: Parker 20; Menakaya 17; Mulligan/Franchi/Spencer 6
Due to extenuating circumstances, the Hoods 1st team fixture against Tees Valley Mohawks was forfeited, handing the Hoods a 20-0 victory.
Coach Lee English commented, “We were really looking forward to our first double header as a club, but send all our best wishes to the Mohawks coaching staff during this very difficult time. From a Hoods II perspective though, it was great to finally get on the court. This team has been 5 years in the making and to start with a win against a solid Warriors team was important. These guys were in Division 3 a couple of seasons ago, so know how to play. They pushed us hard, but we kept believing and I am so proud of the guys, especially the young guns and the way they stepped up to this level. Both teams now have a perfect 2&0 record, but we have a very tough weekend coming up – and another double header, so come back down and make some noise!!!”
The Hoods II take on Team Birmingham at 4pm, before the Hoods take on a tough Sheffield Saints side at 6.30pm. Both games are at the Nottingham Wildcats Arena. Entrance to the first game, gives you free entrance to the second and don’t forget, all Nottingham Trent University staff and students can come and watch for free