Back-to-back victories over the Bradford Dragons last weekend pushed the Nottingham Hoods into third place in the National Basketball League Division One, and they’ll be looking to remain there this weekend when they take to the court against Newcastle University.
Against the Dragons, the Hoods would win the home clash 93-83, before a trip to Yorkshire would see them emerge victorious with an 87-79 success; the home clash seeing Johde Campbell be top performer with 21 points, alongside Kyle Jimenez, who racked up 20 points and 10 assists, and Morakinyo Williams, who impressed with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 blocks.
In the home tie, tit would be the visiting Dragons who’d pushed themselves ahead with a first quarter, 28-19 lead, Micah Savery-Richards taking sixteen for himself, however, some good shooting from Campbell, a strong defence powered by Luke Mitchell and Logan Bailey, and some great blocking by Williams, saw the Hoods overturn to lead 46-39 at the half.
The second period would see neither giving, and a back-and-forth third quarter ensued, piqued by Jimenez’s consecutive, three-pointers, however, the gap heading into the final quarter was stuck at three, in the Hoods’ favour.
Again, a close final stage would be witnessed, the Hoods not asserting the dominance until the closing minutes with Williams pulling a lot of on-court strings en-route to setting a club record number of blocks, and would be added to, despite issues elsewhere in the squad, by some great work throughout by Victor Olarerin, and a successful eight-from-eight free throws by Jimenez.
The following night, in Yorkshire, saw the Hoods start the game slowly, and would actually trail by two at the half before Williams was seen to afford strong offence, and that of Andrew Vickers and Logan Bailey pushed the Hoods ahead, they being seen to cut up the Dragons defence well and take some easy pickings.
It would be the Hoods who’d scrape home, by eight, holding onto a slender lead through the second half and led to Head Coach Ben Stanley saying afterwards that; “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 on the Sunday, but we’ve shown we can battle back from a tough position, and win ugly now, and on more than one occasion.
“That’s no small thing.”
This weekend, the Hoods are out for revenge when they oppose Newcastle University, the Notts side looking to remain third in Division One.
With the Hoods unbeaten in 2022, they will want to continue their great form against the seventh place Newcastle side.
While the North-East outfit sit at mid-table, they still have a respectable record of 8-6, having won five of their last seven games.
Nottingham will look to avenge Newcastle after the side suffered a late, 101-94 loss earlier this season, they being handed what was just their third loss of the season.
Hoods coach, Ben Stanley, added: “We know it’s going to be tough.
“We were up by a lot in our last game against them (Newcastle) and they managed to win, and since then they’ve had some huge performances.
“In preparation we’ve been focusing on their style of play and personnel, but also executing our own coverages and sets to the best of our ability.”
Stanley has got his side playing some great basketball, at both ends of the court, with a variety of scoring options on offence, whilst conceding the second lowest amount of points on defence.
The team are led by Scottish guard Kyle Jimenez, who averages 8.7 points, 8.3 assists and over five rebounds, and alongside him is the imposing duo of ex-BBL centre Mo Williams and Joshua Guddemi who average 17.4 and 16.1 points respectively.
Johde Campbell, Andrew Vickers and Logan Bailey are also providing valuable contributions, each scoring over 10 points a game.
Despite their great squad, Hoods should be prepared for the international big three of Ronald Blain, Brandon Federici and David Moya; Blain has an impressive average of 26 points, the second most in the league, 10 rebounds and over four assists, whilst Federici is also in the top five for scoring, averaging 23 points, while Moya puts up 17 points, 7 rebounds and 8.5 assists a game.
The Hoods should be ready to face the three guards, who constantly pose a threat and can score in quick succession, and Stanley finished in saying that: “It’s a massive game for us.
“We’re on a five-game streak right now, but we know we have really tough competition coming up over the next two months.
“We have a tough game nearly every weekend, and if we want a shot at the top position we have to be almost flawless.”
*Special mention to Harry Hughes for assistance with the preview of the Newcastle University game.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @EvieC_94 the Hoods are looking for revenge after being beaten in Newcastle.