The Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods started their first ever season in Division 1 in dream fashion, defeating local rivals Derby Trailblazers 83-85 away from home in the first round of the National Trophy.
In a tough physical game, with both teams missing players, Hoods took an early three point lead through David Watts and Luke Mitchell, but it was Trailblazers who settled into their rhythm first, hitting some tough shots to take control of the 1st quarter, leading 28-14.
Introduction of new signing, Eddie Brownell and the returning Aaron Maher sparked a turn around, with Maher Hitting 7 quick points to bring the lead down to just 2 points. Both teams then continued to exchange baskets, before a Euan James pin and an Andre Slavik slam tied the game at half time, 43-43.
Last season’s MVP, Delaney Powell, came alive in the second half as Hoods continued to press and attack the basket, pushing the lead up to 8 at one point. Trailblazers hit straight back with a run of their own though and at the end of highly entertaining 3rd period, the scores will still tied at 68-68.
In the 4th quarter, as time started to tick away in the game and the pressure to win the first local derby of the season escalated for both teams, mistakes starting creeping in with simple turnovers keeping the scores close and ensuring an intense final few minutes. Hoods took a 4-point lead with 30 seconds remaining but a 3 by Trailblazers bought the score right back to just a 1 point game. A Mitchell steal (to add to his incredible stat line of 8 points; 9 rebounds and 7 assists) and the resulting free throw pushed the lead up to 2 with just 7 seconds remaining and solid defence by the Hoods secured the first win at this level in the first every Division 1 game for the Hoods.
Powell – 24 points – 4 rebounds – 1 steal
Watts – 20 points – 11 rebounds – 1 assist – 2 blocks
Maher – 11 points – 1 rebound – 1 assist
Ballentine – 10 points – 9 rebounds – 1 assist – 2 steals
Mitchell – 8 points – 9 rebounds – 7 assists – 1 steal
Slavic – 4 points – 3 rebounds – 1 steal – 2 blocks
James – 3 points – 3 rebounds – 4 assist – 1 steal – 1 block
Brownall – 3 points – 1 rebound – 2 assists
Wright – 2 points – 1 rebound – 1 steal