Box Score

Derby Trailblazers 80 (21, 36, 60)
Milton Keynes Breakers 83 (14, 37, 60)

Milton Keynes Breakers made history on the weekend as they became the first NBL Division 2 side to reach the National Cup Final after overcoming Derby Trailblazers 83-80 in a thrilling encounter.

The Breakers will aim to become the first ever non-Division 1 team to win the National Cup in the almost 100-year history of the competition, when they take on Reading Rockets at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester on the 21st of January, 4pm tip-off. Tickets available now via Basketball England, fan travel can be booked here.

Despite the difference in divisions, the Breakers rose to the occasion and their 48 Rebounds were crucial to their win. The Breakers collaborative scoring was also key in securing a spot in the Final as five separate players reached double figure points.

Billy Beddow’s side also showed their depth in the win with an impressive 28 points coming from the bench – a fortune that allows Beddow to trust whoever he puts on the court.

Although they would run out winners, the Breakers got off to a slow start as they trailed by 7 points after the opening quarter. It was Derby who started the brightest as they rallied out to an 8-0 lead after four minutes of action. Blayne Freckleton and Luke Gregory opened the Breakers’ scoring to keep within arm’s length of their opposition before Buai Luak and Nate Robinson’s lay ups reduced the lead to just three points.

Derby, however, closed out the opening 10-minutes on the front foot with their three-point attempt with just four seconds on the clock remaining helped the Trailblazers close out an impressive opening quarter.

The break arguably came at the wrong time for the hosts and worked in favour of the Breakers who played some of their best Basketball all season to outscore Derby 23-15 in the second quarter. Dante Langley and Nate Robinson started the comeback as the duo combined for seven points to reduce the gap to just two points. Derby’s two successful free throws pushed the momentum back in their favour; however, Luke Gregory was on hand to half the lead once more.

The Breakers then drew back level for the first time in the tie as Jordan Spencer’s driving lay-up ensured the scores were level at 23-23. Such was the ebb and flow nature of the game, Derby jumped back ahead before the Breakers hit back to ensure their opposition couldn’t get a hold on the clash.

Chris Tawiah’s lay up with five-minutes left gave Breakers the lead for the first time with Jordan Spencer and Blayne Freckleton pushing the advantage to three points – giving the side from Milton Keynes a cushion of three points the first time. The gap came in handy when Derby’s late lay up pulled them to within one point – but it was the Breakers who had the lead heading into the break.

The third quarter started slowly with both sides struggling to find their feet with it taking two minutes before either side found their first points of the third quarter. It would fall in favour of the hosts as they scored four points for no return to take the lead by three points.

The Breakers, however, continued to score well with Langley and Luak combining to give the Breakers the lead, before Freckleton’s successful three-point attempt put the Breakers up by four. Shortly after, Jordan Spencer converted a three-point attempt of his own to give the Breakers a six point lead. The momentum then swung back in favour of the hosts who scored 10 points for no return to take the lead by four points with two-minutes remaining.

Spencer converted yet another three-point attempt before Derby’s free throws pushed their lead back to three points. The next Breakers player to see his three-point attempt add to the scoring was Nate Robinson, who drew his side level with less than a minute remaining in the third. It looked as if it would be the Trailblazers who would head into the final quarter with the advantage as they clawed back ahead by three points, but such was the story of the third, Blayne Freckleton’s three-pointer ensured the two sides went in level at 60-60.

The final quarter was certainly a thrilling one for those in attendance with the result still unclear with seconds remaining on the clock. The Breakers took the lead once again as Robinson scored the opening points of the quarter, before Derby netted consecutive scores to open a six-point lead. The Breakers yet again displayed their resilience as Luke Gregory hit straight back to keep the Breakers within touching distance.

Dante Langley’s layup was followed shortly after by Nate Robinson’s successful three-point jump shot to bring the Breakers to within 1 point of their opposition. The lead then swung in favour of the side from Milton Keynes as Chris Tawiah’s alley-oop pushed them ahead by one point, but seconds later the Trailblazers restored their advantage. It was that man Tawiah who caused yet another swing, but an attempt from beyond the arc gave the hosts a two-point lead with little over two-minutes remaining.

Robinson and Spencer netted consecutive buckets to put the Breakers ahead once more, but an impressive three-pointer from the hosts would level the scoring with 90-seconds remaining. Tawiah’s lay up with a minute left put Breakers in the driving seat to advance to the final and with just 14-seconds remaining they led 83-80.

The final play of the game fell the way of Derby as they tried to force overtime, the Breakers defence stood firm to deny their opposition and advance to the final.

Book your tickets and fan travel for the National Cup Final here