Division 2 Championship
Brixton Topcats 79 (Stewart 24, Odia 21, Crawford 13)
Derbyshire Arrows 77 (Baugh 36, Broodie 20, Lycoudis 13)
Brixton got off to a winning start at Brixton Rec against a Derbyshire Arrows team that stand second in NBL Division Two. Topcats will be glad of the victory in a hard fought contest which finished 79 – 77.
Topcats got off to a good start with solid execution and back to back threes from Odia and Peel helping Brixton open the game with a 7 – 2 run. Arrows have plenty of scoring punch though and Baugh poured in 10 of his game high 36 points in the first quarter to spark a Derbyshire run and ensure the away side went into the first quarter break leading by 2.
Brixton responded in the second quarter by continuing to pound the ball inside. Excellent execution at the offensive end led to inside looks for Stewart and Crawford who were able to finish inside. Crawford finished with 13 points and 10 boards as Topcats’ put an impressive performance on the glass. Rebounding was a major factor in the second quarter as Brixton cleaned the defensive boards. Despite a disciplined Brixton performance in the first half, the teams finished the second quarter tied, as the Topcats made just 6 of 14 from the line.
With the game evenly poised Derbyshire made a run early in the third quarter as they scored 15 points in the opening 4 minutes of the half. A Brixton timeout calmed the nerves and Topcats regained control of the game. Threes from AJ Gelattly and Rob Odia, who’s finished with 21, gave Brixton a lead which they would hold as they finished out the quarter 58-54.
Arrows came out in the fourth with the belief of a team that has only lost 1 game so far this season and Baugh continued to pour points in for the visitors. The away team looked to quicken the pace and took the lead following a Baugh free throw with just 3 minutes to go. But Brixton remained disciplined, showing composure and exploiting the paint again. Stewart scored 10 of his team high 24 in the 4th and gave Topcats a one point lead with under a minute to play. Solid defence led to a stop and AJ sunk one of his two free throws to leave Brixton up 2. With 7 seconds left there was time for one more possession but solid Brixton defence meant that Baugh’s contested 2 point jumper didn’t fall.
Coach Salisbury was delighted with Brixton’s performance:
“This was a great way to open 2016. Derbyshire have played all of their games on the road so far this season as they wait to move into a new facility and this is just their second loss. They are a strong team with a lot of offensive weapons but we did a great job of playing together today. It was a solid team performance, we kept our turnovers down, executed our stuff and found a way to win.”
Full game stats here