Derby College/Noel Baker School vs BMET James Watt College

Derby followed up their AoC Cup victory at James Watts last week with a 63-51 home triumph over the Birmingham outfit at Noel-Baker Academy in a battle of two teams with a 2-3 record going into the game.

Tzion Essel Jaji knocked down six three-pointers for his 18 points, Luke Ptak added 15, and Leighton Elliott-Sewell 10 for Derby.

David Stevic had 14 to lead BMET James Watt, Lynch had 13 and Malanga Sonko joined them in double figures with 12.

The first quarter was a low scoring affair, but Derby opened up a lead when Essel-Jaji and Mutemasango combined for a quick 10 points and the Trailblazers ended the period 16-10 up.

Derby extended their lead in the second quarter with James Watts struggling to cope with the Derby defence. A Woodyatt three pointer got the ball rolling for Derby and then Ptak and Essel-Jaji each scored half a dozen to open up an advantage before the interval. In what had been a scrappy defensive half of basketball Brown scored his only points of the game (although he had a stack of rebounds, steals and assists) to give Derby a 35-19 lead at the break.

Derby seemed in control of the game in the third quarter extending their lead to 51-33. The highlight of the quarter came when Elliott-Sewell elevated high for a put back dunk. However, James Watt rallied in the fourth finding energy at the defensive end and suddenly created some nice pick and roll scoring opportunities to close the gap into single digits.

Sonko scored 8 of his 12 points in the final period and when Stevic netted his fourth 3 pointer of the game the score was suddenly 57-49. Derby once again turned to Essel-Jaji to steady the ship, he knocked down his sixth downtown shot of the contest to finish the game’s leading scorer with 18 and then Ptak calmly sank 3 free throws at the end to close the game with 15 personal.

After the game Derby Coach Shaw commented:

“The guys really worked hard defensively again today and I thought all the lads played very well until the last quarter when we lost our rhythm a little. Credit to Coach Hanson’s team, they really kept fighting and made us work for it right until the end. Despite not playing quite so well near the end it was good to see how we kept our composure and looked after the ball and got some stops in the closing moments.”

Both teams are next in EABL action on December 13, Derby host Loreto while BMET James Watts welcome Allerton.

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