Division 1, Match Report

Derby make it double winning weekend with victory over Warriors

Blake Bowman - Derby Trailblazers - Reverse Layup

Derby Trailblazers continued from where they left off on Saturday night, to ensure they concluded their National Trophy Pool games with back to back victories.

Leicester Warriors 80 (23, 42, 63)
Derby Trailblazers 88 (19, 47, 66)

Malcolm Smith once again led the Blazers with twenty-five points and seven rebounds, despite seeing his court time limited through foul trouble. However the big man made good use of his size to draw a string of fouls, converting all eleven of his free-throw attempts.

As a team, Derby were clinical at the line, scoring on twenty-five of their thirty attempts.

Elsewhere, Tre Wilford and Matt Ward-Hibbert added eighteen points each, with the former also coming up with nine steals and an emphatic blocked shot.

Trailblazers Head Coach Matt Shaw says it was a pleasing result against a side that always put up a decent fight:

“The thing with Leicester is they make you work for everything and I thought our guys battled hard and matched their intensity well. It was a scrappy game, but once again our players found ways to put runs together.

“It was pleasing to see Blake [Bowman] and Charlie [Brown] make such positive contributions. I thought they both really stepped up well which bodes well for the future as they’ll only get better in the coming months,” he said.

Leicester were fastest out the starting blocks, opening up a 12-6 lead which was quickly stretched to 20-11, prompting a Derby time-out with 3’03” of the first quarter remaining. But the Blazers responded strongly, with a three-point play from Smith being quickly followed by a triple from Jake Wesselingh.

He then netted another two long range efforts early in the second, cutting the gap to 28-25, before Smith was called for his third foul with 7’30” first half minutes remaining.

That could have spelt disaster for Derby, but after Daniel Butkevicius converted one of two at the line and added a basket from open play, the Blazers dug in. They held the Warriors scoreless for almost four minutes to open up a 31-37 advantage.

Wilford bagged two steals and consecutive scores within that run and subsequently produced a powerful drive inside, while Kayne King completed a three-point play.

By half-time, Derby were 42-47 ahead, but a strong start to the third quarter by the Warriors saw that situation quickly change.

Consecutive scores from inside and out by Josh Pollock tied the game at 47-all and after a quick exchange of baskets, Smith was called for his fourth foul with 7’50” of the third quarter still to play.

With the Trailblazers now seriously lacking height, the Warriors began to take advantage. Former Derby guard Martyn Gayle struck a trio of three pointers as part of an 11-5 run, which forced Coach Shaw to gamble by bringing Smith back into the game.

“With Oli [Stanley] not participating due to injury, having Malcolm in foul trouble for much of the second half made things a little tricky for us, but I thought we did well to cope. He did a great job to play on despite having four fouls throughout the remainder of the third and the whole of the fourth quarters,” he said.

It didn’t take long for Smith’s influence to come into play following his return. He converted six out of six at the line and added a basket from the field as Derby closed the quarter with a 3-12 run to enter the final period with a 63-66 advantage.

Once again, the Warriors started the quarter well, utilising a 6-2 burst to re-take the lead. Derby responded with a basket from Smith before Lamin Willian made it 71-70 with five and a half minutes remaining.

Wilford then came up with consecutive steals and scores for the second time in the game, prompting Leicester to call time-out, trailing 71-74 with 4’57” on the clock.

Brian Orr trimmed the gap to a single point, before the Warriors resorted to some very scrappy play as they fought to get back in front.

The result was a series of players fouling out. Pollock was the first to go, earning a bench technical for his protests. Ward-Hibbert made all three shots from the line, before a Charlie Brown steal and assist then led to a three-pointer for Ward-Hibbert to open up a 73-82 advantage.

Both sides exchanged free-throws and then baskets before Elji Jabby picked up his fifth foul and another bench technical, which was followed up by a fifth foul on Willian. This time Ward-Hibbert converted two out of three at the line to give Derby their biggest lead of the game, at 77-88.

There was still time for Aaron Birchenough to grab a consolation three-pointer for Leicester, but it was too little too late, as Derby recorded their second consecutive win in the Trophy, to the delight of Coach Shaw:

“Our press was effective and we did a good job mixing the defensive up and stopping them getting into rhythm, so all in all, it was a great weekend for us.

“I felt we improved a lot over the two games as the guys are getting to understand each other’s strengths and how to play together,” he said.

Derby begin their NBL D1 season next Saturday with a trip to Reading Rockets (5pm).


Warriors: Chingombe 19, Orr 14, Gayle 12, Pollock 11, Jabby 9, Butkevicius 6, Willian 4, Birchenough 3, Brookes 0.

Derby: Smith 25, Wilford 18, Ward-Hibbert 18, Wesselingh 9, Arogbo 7, King 7, Bowman 4, Brown 0, Stanley DNP.



Elsewhere, Trailblazers II progressed to the third round of the Men’s National Cup, with a 79-68 win over Hemel Storm II. Ash Ugo (20), Merson Paul (16) and Jrae Lue (10) led the scoring for the Blazers second team. They will travel to Reading Rockets in the third round, which the senior men go to Liverpool.

Full results from Sunday 30th September 2018:

D1 Men Trophy: Leicester Warriors 80 – 88 Derby Trailblazers

D3 Men Cup R2: Derby Trailblazers II 79 – 68 v Hemel Storm II

U18 Men Cup R2: Durham Wildcats 73 – 71 Derby Trailblazers II

U16 Boys Cup R2: City of Birmingham Rockets II v Derby Trailblazers – awaiting result

U16 Boys EM: Derby Trailblazers II 40 – 117 Mansfield Giants

U16 Girls Cup R1: Derby Trailblazers 74 – 73 Manchester Mystics

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