Hoods faced Bradford Dragons in a Home and Away double header over the weekend.
While Bradford currently sit outside of the Top Eight, they have been within ten points playing nearly all of the teams that sit above them in the table and Hoods new it would be a tough weekend.
On Saturday Hoods started strong, consecutive layups and steals by Victor Olarerin helping Hoods jump out to a 6-2 lead. Bradford would fight back behind Micah Savery-Richards 16 points in the quarter, as Bradford pushed out on the break, leading 28-19 at the end of the 1st.
Hoods would recover behind the shooting of Johde Campbell who knocked down four straight 3’s in the second, Hoods increasing their defensive intensity behind Luke Mitchell and Logan Bailey. Morakinyo Williams contributed with 3 blocks in the half, making it hard for Bradford to get to the rim. Hoods would finish the quarter on a big turnaround, going into the half up 46-39.
The third was a back and forth affair, Bradford fighting back early and neither team able to take advantage. Back to back 3’s by Kyle Jimenez, on his way to a 20 point, 10 assist outing helped stem the tide and gave Hoods the lead going into the 4th at 67-64.
The fourth looked to be a close affair until Hoods began to pull away in the last 5 minutes behind timely play and the defensive prowess of Williams as he went on the finish the game with 7 blocks, a new club record. An injury to Andrew Vickers, who had played sterling all around basketball, and foul trouble to Logan Bailey left the Hoods bench reduced, but timely rebounding by Victor Olarerin and composure by the squad as a whole would allow Hoods to take a 10 point win as Jimenez hit 8 from 8 from the free throw line to end the game, 93-83.
Johde Campbell 21 points; 3 rebounds; 2 assists; 3 steals
Kyle Jimenez 20 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals
Morakinyo Williams 14 points, 7 rebounds, 7 blocks
Andrew Vickers 13 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Sunday’s game felt like a repeat of the Saturdays. Hoods started slowly, scoring only 6 points in the first quarter, before fighting back in the second behind some timely drives from Olarerin and Bailey and shooting from Vickers to go into half time down by 2 points.
In the third Williams began to get going on offence before foul trouble forced him to sit down, but it was the American duo of Vickers and Bailey that kept Hoods in the lead, excellent cutting and passing from the pair getting behind the Dragon’s defence for easy scores.
In a physical and testing game where both teams were battered and bruised throughout, Hoods managed to hold on and keep their composure once again in the closing minutes to take the game 87 -79.
Johde Campbell 23 points
Morakinyo Williams 16 points
Logan Bailey 16 points
Coach Stanley’s thoughts on the weekend were to the point;
“Full credit to Bradford, they’re a tough team to play especially twice in two days. We hurt ourselves with poor starts and a lack of energy, especially Sunday, but we’ve shown we can battle back from a tough position and win ugly now on more than one occasion. That’s no small thing.”
EVERY. MOMENT. MATTERS
Photo Credit Evie Collier