Hoods End Year In Top Five

Sitting joint-fourth (fifth) in the National Basketball League Division One, level with both Newcastle University and Loughborough Riders on a dozen points, it’s been a mixed opening half to the season for the Nottingham Hoods basketball team.

The season actually began, back in early October, with back-to-back success at their Wildcats Arena, defeating first Derby Trailblazers (106-100), then Barking Abbey (95-61); in the former of those games, Center Greg Skoric top-scored with 30 points, Guard Johde Campbell (27) not far behind, and Forward Josh Guddemi adding 19 of his, the Hoods opening with a century on the board.

A week later and Skoric fired 24 points to top the scoring in what was a relatively low-scoring game, Point Guard, Moyo Adekeye adding 20 and another 15 from Guddemi, the Hoods racing out the blocks with two-wins-from-two to start the season.

In their next four however, the Hoods picked up just one success away to Thames Valley Cavaliers, in early November, losing narrowly to the Bradford Dragons and Reading Rockets either side of that success, before dropping a high-scoring OT result, 113-102, away to City of Birmingham Rockets on 18 November.

Against the Cavaliers meanwhile, Campbell top-scored for the Hoods with 31, whilst Guddemi added 21 and Skoric 19, before a double-header, in late November, with local rivals Loughborough Riders, the Hoods coming out on top in both games to finish the month with a 5-3 record.

At the Wildcats Arena, on 25 November, the Hoods restricted the visiting Riders side to 22 points in each of the first two quarters, bagging 28 and 26 themselves for a 54-44 lead; they stretched that in the third by adding another 20 points, before dominating the fourth as Campbell (23), Guddemi (22) and Guard Landon Taliaferro (21) all notched 20+ points in the 108-99 success.

The following night (26 November) at Loughborough University, it was a slightly more evenly matched contest between the two sides who currently sit in the top seven in the division; the Hoods dominated the first quarter, before the Riders pulled it round in the second as the Hoods took a 40-3- lead into the half.

The second half though, that was very tight; with just the one point, in the fourth quarter, splitting the two, both bagging 18 in the third, and Hoods edging fourth 23-22, to claim an 81-70 road win – the low-scoring was also visible in the points-scorers, no player from either side passing the twenty-point mark as Campbell and Guddemi both took 18 for the Hoods, and Hedley did the same for the Riders.

Mixed form continued for the Hoods following the successful Riders double-header, they dropping a second, OT result, this time at home to the (current leaders) Essex Rebels, 119-111, at the start of December; three players from each side were seen to bag more that 20-points apiece, Guddemi (28), Taliaferro (25), and Skoric (20) doing so for the Hoods, whilst Luke Busumbru (23) did so for the visiting Rebels.

The Hoods posted 100-points or more against both London Elite, and Hemel Storm, in their last two outings, making that record three-in-a-row, however, a win and a loss in them sees Nottingham’s flagship, men’s basketball side finish 2023 with a 6-5 record.

At the Capital City Academy, against London Elite, the Hoods came away to 100-88 success, despite dropping the first and narrowly edging the second quarter; a sixty-point second half though saw them home safely as Taliaferro topped the scoring with 26, Guard/Forward Diogo Soares added 21, and Skoric chipped in with 19.

Meanwhile, this past weekend (16 December), and back on home turf, the Hoods missed the chance to move into the top three/four when they lost their last outing of the year, going down 106-100 against the Storm.

The visitors posted 50+ in a strong, first half, the Hoods tying up a tight third quarter to put themselves in with a chance, however, the deficit was just that little bit much and, despite taking the fourth, by nine points, fell six short, although Taliaferro did bag himself 30, along with Campbell’s 26 points.

The Hoods will begin 2024 with a trip to the north-east, and Newcastle University (level on 12 points with the Hoods), on 6 January, before hosting a week later (13 January), tenth-placed Worthing Thunder.

Keep up-to-date with the goings-on at the Nottingham Hoods via their Facebook here.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @hoodsbasketball Nottingham Hoods have been solid throughout 2023.

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