Report: Ethan Jaiswal

The MK Breakers continued their charge for the NBL Division 3 East title this weekend with a big win (86-52) over the Kent Crusaders, who were tied for 2nd in the standings prior to the fixture. Vital to the win was Breakers Captain, Jordan Spencer who posted a near quadruple-double of 26 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 7 steals. The win creates separation between one of the division’s first-class sides and boosts the Breakers’ hopes of a 1st place finish.

In true Breakers fashion, the first basket of the game was a lay-up scored by centre Luke Gregory, coming off of a pick-and-roll play with Jordan Spencer. Gregory had 9 points and 11 rebounds on the evening and was tasked with guarding some of the Crusaders’ key players throughout the game. The visitors immediately responded with an and-1 play from Mo Barnett. The ensuing minutes would be some of the most tightly contested play the Breakers have experienced in league-play thus far. A flurry of threes from the Crusaders would edge them ahead but the Breakers would weather the storm off the back of 9 straight points from their captain, who scored a total of 12 in the quarter. 15-15.

The second quarter of action was another back-and-forth affair between the two title contenders. The visitors shared the offensive load amongst themselves fairly evenly with six of their players on the scoresheet. For the Breakers, Spencer was once again integral to the offence, demonstrating his elite playmaking ability in front of the sold-out crowd as well as winning multiple trips to the free-throw line. The Breakers big-men did an excellent job on the glass, both Mike New Jr. and Gregory displayed a high-level of effort to accrue double-digit figures in rebounding for both, in a night where the team outrebounded the visitors by 20. As the Breakers battled for the edge over their opponents, Dante Langley (24pts) would raise the roof of Bletchley Leisure Centre with a huge two-handed slam to energise the crowd and home-side alike, in a play that would create some much-needed momentum for the Breakers. 33-29.

Image Credit: Josh Nesden

The game would be won in the third period for the Breakers: an offensive explosion saw the hosts put up 29 points to the visitors’ 14. Star-man Langley shone in this quarter with a number of impressive plays including a sequence of knocking down back-to-back triples. It was telling of this side’s character after a gritty, tightly-contested first half that they would immediately respond positively through better shot selection, strong defensive plays and taking care of the ball. Moments like these against the tougher opposition in the division are vital if the Breakers are to go on to win the title. 62-43.

The final quarter was the exclamation point of the game, with the Breakers holding their opponents to only 9 points, their fewest of the game. Langley, Spencer and Gregory would all contribute to the Breakers’ scoring, the former once again delighting the fans with another signature two-handed dunk; and once Coach Billy Beddow rotated some of these starting players to the bench, their replacements would also shine. Eric Arriaga, after playing substantial minutes throughout the game would be rewarded for his efforts when he converted a three-point shot that hit nothing-but-net. Eben Effah would also put his imprint on the game as would Ethan Ratcliffe, who has made end-of-game dunks somewhat of a staple of Saturday evenings at Bletchley Leisure Centre. Another successful night for the Breakers as they improve to 11-0 in the NBL Division 3 East, putting one of their top-of-the-table rivals further adrift. 86-52.

The Breakers’ next game will be against Anglia Ruskin University, away from home. ARU currently sit 4th in the league table so the Breakers will need a continuation of Saturday’s form to ensure they carry on their charge for the title.