Derby Trailblazers Academy 87 – 82 James Watt College

It was a hard fought battle at Derby College, the Blazers eventually came out victorious against James Watt College 87-82.

The first half was a defensive battle and both teams tried to limit their opponents major threats. James Watt played special attention to the EABL’s leading point scorer, making Bowman work for everything and packing the paint to force others to do the damage.

Meanwhile, Derby were trying similar tactics and also ran some box & 1 and Triangle & 2 defensive sets to limit Rodriguez and Richardson. In a scrappy opening 20 minutes Derby took a slim 31-25 led into the break behind Matimba’s 10 points personal, with the EABL’s 2nd highest ranked player for steals showing his worth with 5 in the early going.

The second half was more high scoring. Derby looked to their bench for answers as Caines came on to hit three triples in as many minutes to help open up a 17-point lead. Dejnek Vel Denek was also having a season high off the pine, he’d end the game with a much needed 24 points and he too netted 3 triples in the third quarter as Derby seemed to have taken control.

For James Watt, Faure-Lewis was keeping them in touch, with heavy pressure on others he took it upon himself to keep the West Midlander’s in the game. In fact, Faure-Lewis also had 3 from down town in the third period and 6 on the day, he’d ended the game as top scorer with 27.

With Derby seemly in control at 58-41, James Watt finished the period with an 8-0 run to trim the score to 58-49 and make it single digits again. That was a similar theme throughout the final stanza, as Derby looks comfortable, James Watt would come back.

When Richardson netted his 13th points of the second half – after being held scoreless in the first half – with 90 seconds remaining suddenly it was 80-76 and all to play for. Step up Stuart Matimba, he drained a three on the next offence before adding yet another steal on the next possession to help ensure Derby would remain undefeated at home on the season as they’d close out the game to win 87-82.

Some notable stats from the game include James Watt’s Josh Ijeh hauling down a massive 28 rebounds to go with his 11 points and 6 assists. For Derby, Charlie Brown has 13 boards and 11 assists while Matimba collected 7 steals.

After the game coach Matt Shaw commented: “I’m proud of the guys effort today. They found a way to get the win in a tough situation against a strong James Watt team. It was good to see some other players step up to the challenge too, we needed that.”

Next week the Trailblazers are home game against Newcastle while James Watt host Sheffield College.

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