A spectacular performance to lick Liverpool in the Patrons Cup gave Linbraze Derbyshire Arrows the perfect tonic ahead of their new National League season, which starts this weekend.
Arrows launch their Second Division campaign with a home match against Ipswich at the Queen’s Park Sports Centre in Chesterfield on Saturday evening. And they could hardly have enjoyed a better morale-boosting warm-up as they crushed Liverpool 90-65.
Kendel Glapion was the top points’ scorer with 16, but it was the vast number of contributors to the scoreline that made Arrows’ success so praiseworthy.
Glapion bagged nine points in the opening quarter, and he was well supported by Napthali Nembhard and Matt Wilson as Arrows built a 21-17 lead.
In the second quarter, Arrows were well led by James Kelly, who soaked up the pressure with his clever ball-handling, enabling bis side to explode in a feast of offensive basketball.
Joseph Baugh, Wilson and Sheu Matewe seemed to be everywhere on the court as the hosts tormented Liverpool, scoring a range of baskets without reply. They reached half-time with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Andreas Lycoudis and led 51-27.
It was almost inevitable that Arrows would lose some momentum during the break, and Liverpool came back strongly in the third quarter. Indeed the Derbyshire outfit looked visibly shaken until baskets from Baugh and Matewe soon had them on a run. The quarter was tied at 14 points apiece, which meant that Arrows’ healthy advantage was maintained.
The final quarter was very entertaining as Daniel Quinland demonstrated his speed and range of skills, while Aidan Dennison and James Cusack showed some really good touches. At the heart of it all was debutant James Rowe, who underlined why Arrows were so pleased to secure him.
The hosts went on to add 25 more points, with Liverpool adding 24, and the only downside to a memorable evening was that the win was not enough to clinch progress into the next stage of the competition. This was because their three-team pool was topped by Team Birmingham Elite, who had inflicted a 93-61 defeat on Arrows the previous week. Birmingham also defeated Liverpool 76-71.
After Glapion, the other main points’ scorers for Arrows were Rowe with 12, Matewe with 12, Wilson with 11, Lycoudis with nine, Baugh with eight and Nembhard with six.