The dream of Division 1 basketball is still alive, with the odds stacked against them after a disastrous defeat in London last weekend and one of their main scorers Siczek out through injury, Hoods shot down top of the league Solent Kestrels with a great team effort.
Once again a packed out Wildcats Arena greeted the McDonald’s Nottingham Hoods as they took to the court looking to keep their incredible home streak alive. It has been more than two years since the Hoods last lost at home in the league and there would have been some nervous fans around the world as they took on the in-form and impressive Solent Kestrels team. Kestrels opened the scoring with a three, which Lorenzo answered right back with a three of his own and quick layup as both teams started exchanging baskets at a frenetic pace. Midway through the quarter, England u18 star was dishing out assists left, right and centre as Danny Wong and Alvaro Urbistondo stepped up for the Hoods to push them into 14-11 lead. Captain Keiran Wright then hit a long range 3 and two more baskets from Lorenzo saw Hoods push out to a 19-11 lead before a very good Kestrels team came back with 5 of their own. As points were traded late in the quarter Hoods went 5 up but a late shot from the Kestels saw the first quarter finish 23-18 to the Hoods.
The second quarter saw both coaches trying to get the correct match ups and a tense defensive struggle ensued resulting in a two minute spell of no score from either team, with Kestrels breaking the deadlock first and bring them back to within 2. The league leaders looked to be taking control of the game but a resilient Hoods held them with great defensive play and Wright got the crowd to their feet with another long range three pointer 4 minutes into the quarter. Kestrels were pushing hard and pulled back the game to one point before another Kestrels 3 put the visitors in front at 28-26. The Kestrels then showed why they are top of the league as they went in to a 5 point lead before an assist from Mitchell found Urbistondo wide open for a valuable response to pull it back to two. Kestrels then pushed out to a six point lead before arguably the most important baskets of the night, both downtown 3’s from Mitchell and Lorenzo pulled the game back to 35-35 at the half.
The third was a much more open affair with great work from both teams and the scoreboard working hard with leads changing regularly. The game turned on a 3 point shot from Kieran 3 minutes in to put the hoods up by 43-41, after which Nottingham pushed on hard in their best quarter of the night. With a great display from Kallum Dunn continuing to trouble the opposition the return to the side of local boy Kirk Davis boosted the side before tipoff as did the play of Liam Kelly who both got on the score sheet in the latter stages of the quarter giving the Hoods a healthy eleven point lead of 58-47 as they went into the final period. Hoods taking the third 23-12.
Hoods have lost games in the fourth quarter in recent away games so they realised the job was not done against the league leaders Kestrels and so it proved. After one and a quarter minutes Kestrels had trimmed the lead back to 5 at 58-53, before Urbistondo steadied the ship with another 3 point downtown hit. Another 3 pointer from Lorenzo and twos from Wong and Wrigth and the Hoods were again 10 points up at 65-55 just 3 minutes into the final stanza. With a little over 4 minutes to go, the outstanding Urbistondo hit his sixth three point bomb of the night for the Hoods. With the crowd chewing their nails as Hoods were trying to hold the visitors, they played really well with Crest, Dunn and the whole team working hard to ensure they were 12 up with one minute to go. A 3 from Kestrels had the nerves jangling but the Hoods held on to take a memorable win 75-66.
Outstanding performances across the team but with 9 assists England guard Luke Mitchell broke the club record to cap a good performance. Also mentioned in the non-scoring stakes were 16 rebounds from Miguel Lorenzo and seven from Danny Wong. Three point shooting won the day with six from Alavaro and 4 from Kieran
Hoods Scorers: Lorenzo(26)Urbistondo(23),Wright(14), Wong(5), Mitchell(3)Kelly & Davis 2 each.
Elsewhere Hoods II had a heart-breaking and controversial defeat to league leaders Sunderland City Predators, looking like they had won the game a late surge by the visitors brought the game back to 67-67 with just 5 seconds to go and Hoods in possession. A turnover at the half saw Sunderland score a winning lay-up when many in the Arena as well as the players felt the buzzer had already gone for full time!!!
Junior Hoods u14 had a fantastic result as they smashed Ilkeston Outlaws 118-18 to once again confirm there is a huge talent within this group of youngsters.