Leeds faced Leicester Warriors on Saturday night in the National Trophy and came away with a hard fought 96-84 victory. Carnegie dominated the first half holding the Warriors to just 35 points whilst pouring on 49 of their own, this included 4 back to back three pointers from Jack Stannard.

Leicester came out in the third quarter refocused on both ends of the court. Their zone defense limited Carnegie to just 19 points whilst their fast paced offense enabled them to score 30 points, reducing the deficit to just 4 points going into the final period. Leeds however regained their composure and closed out the game in style outscoring the Warriors 28 to 19 in the final ten minutes.

Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Matt Newby was pleased with the result saying “In reality we showed the best and worst of us as a collective. We started well and the first quarter was pleasing to an extent as we stamped our authority on the game behind an extraordinary shooting display from team captain jack Stannard. However a lack of discipline led to a very strong comeback from Leicester, who should never be looked as an also ran. Coach Brown was as ever on his charges from the outset and they clicked in the 2nd half making us fight for every possession whether it was on the glass or on the floor.”

Coach Newby continued, “A highlight would be the mature performance of Daniel Evans who is legitimately contending for serious minutes in our rotation as a 16 year old. I feel that as a team we have a great deal of potential but we need to take smaller steps and pay attention to the details. We won’t be afforded 2nd chances down the line when teams around the league are at their full complement and becoming cohesive as a unit”

Carnegie’s scoring was led by Jack Stannard with 26 points closely followed by Branimir Mikulic with 25 points.

This win has kept Leeds top of their National Trophy group and on course to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Carnegie returned to the court the following day for the National Cup 2nd round game against Division Three’s Stockport Falcons. With this being a potential banana skin tie Leeds were keen to get the game decided as early as possible and started the game well. A strong offensive showing enabled them to get a 20 point advantage by the end of the first half.

They continued to dominate in the third quarter and extended their lead out to 27 points by the end of the period. Leeds then took their foot of the gas in the closing stages as they cruised through to an eventual 85-66 win.

Coach Newby said “We opened with a little more fluency but found it tough at times. I feel that coach Dave Atkinson’s players worked tirelessly until the close and irrespective of the margin kept bringing the game to us with a Blue Collar work ethic. Paul Cantwell and Josh Houghton showed their class from the outset to the close. I thought Rowell Graham-Bell had a very efficient game with marked improvements in several areas and our young guards showed real industry but potentially lacked a little composure under pressure”

Carnegie’s scoring was led by Rowell Graham-Bell with 20 points supported by Branimir Mikulic with 19 points.

Leeds will now face Tees Valley Mohawks in the 3rd round of the National Cup on Sunday 27th October at Leeds Metropolitan Arena.

Coach Newby is looking forward to the next round saying “In terms of the progression in the cup it will be interesting to see what the Mohawks bring to the table. Their roster looks strong and we need to ensure we prepare well for a team which once more seems to have scoring from all over the floor.”

Story – Leeds Carnegie

Rowell GRAHAM Photo – Hoopsfix.com

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