The Patrons Cup challenge of Derbyshire Arrows hangs in the balance after mixed fortunes in a dramatic double-header weekend that opened the English Basketball League (EBL) competition.
The tournament is contested by all EBL Men’s Second Division teams who are split into four round-robin pools, the winners of which progress to knockout semi-finals.
Arrows opened with a fantastic 96-77 victory over Worcester Wolves, but 24 hours later, they were were edged out 91-88 by newly-promoted Liverpool. Now they probably need to win both their remaining two fixtures, away to Liverpool this Saturday, and at home to Worcester on Sunday, October 11, to go through.
Coach Jonathan Kelly said: “We battled hard over the two days, but maybe the energy we exterted against Worcester came back to haunt us against Liverpool. We still have an excellent chance to progress, so all is not lost and I look forward to the challenge.”
The win over Worcester was a stirring team-effort to which everybody contributed. With captain James Kelly providing a calm, steady head, they gained an early lead that was never relinquished.
Anerican Alex Burt scored 27 points and was well supported by Joseph Baugh with 25, young John Broodie with 19 and Dennis Scott with 14. It was a good game on the boards for Scott and Nathan Dacres, while Paul Heymann, Atif Khan and junior graduate Andreas Lycoudis provided key efforts off the bench.
Liverpool, who are tipped to be among the title-chasers, started Sunday’s match like a train and soon built a 16-point lead. Arrows launched an heroic comeback and drew level at one stage. But they couldn’t quite make it, despite 26 points from debutant Aaron Moseley, 21 (plus 12 rebounds and 11 assists) from Burt, 17 from Scott and 15 from Baugh.