KESTRELS MOVE INTO 4TH PLACE WITH WIN OVER ROCKETS
Team Solent Kestrels returned home to the Solent Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon to take an important 81-77 victory over local side Reading Rockets, moving Kestrels into 4th place in NBL Division 1. The win sees Kestrels take an 11th consecutive victory over the Berkshire outfit in all competitions, this one coming less than 24 hours after the triumph in Loughborough. It was a slow start for both sides, perhaps an indication of both teams having played less than 24 hours prior to this one tipping off. A 10-0 run for the hosts mid way through the quarter, opened the game up for the first time, giving Kestrels an 18-8 lead and forcing Reading into their first timeout of the game. Rockets responded almost immediately as they pulled within 2 points from Jawad Adekoya, however Ricky Madison and Elias Poorman ensured Kestrels would take a 24-18 advantage into the 1st quarter break. Rockets used an early 10-0 run to kick start the second quarter and push them into the lead at 24-28, however Kyron Martin came off the bench to provide some respite for TSK as he knocked down a triple. Madison would tie things up at 28 a piece before Elias Poorman and Martin once again hit three’s to continue Kestrels’ hot shooting streak. The sides exchanged blows with Troy Cracknell eventually edging Reading back in front at 38-39, before that man Martin struck from beyond the arc again restoring TSK’s lead. Kai Walker and Justin Bessard both scored in the final minute of the half to give the hosts a 46-40 lead at the interval. The second half started almost at a stale mate with just 4 points on the board from both teams combined across the opening 3 minutes. However that was not a sign of things to come as both teams broke the drought and went back and forth, but it was Kestrels who still had a 5 point lead through the mid way mark of the quarter. Reading pulled themselves within 1 through Finlay Porter although that would be short lived as Martin and Madison combined to restore a 4 point buffer, 62-58 with 10 minutes to play. Kestrels extended the arrears to 8 points in the opening 3 minutes of the 4th quarter through Greg Durand and Poorman, however poor defensive discipline from the home side allowed Rockets to cut the gap from the foul line. A 7-0 run for TSK with just 5 minutes remaining gave them their biggest lead of the ball game at 75-53, after more positive offensive play from Durand and Poorman. Rockets responded post timeout through Porter and Jenkins to trim the gap to 7 but Poorman once again would ensure the scoreboard continued to tick for the Kestrels. Cracknell scored 5 straight to pull the visitors back with 4 points with just 1.42 to play but Kai Walker steadied the Kestrels Family’s nerves with a floater to reply. After empty possessions for both sides Cracknell left the scoreline at 79-77 with 47 seconds to play and set up a tense finish at the SSC. Both teams would be unable to score on the next two possessions, resulting in Kai Walker being fouled and sent to the free throw line with 7 seconds left, he would convert both and wrap up an 81-77 win for his side. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley was delighted with his sides efforts to secure their second win in as many days, “An excellent commitment to the defensive end from our guys in todays game, we were locked into their key personnel and forced them to have to make tough shots. We knew how good a team Reading were and that we would need to be at our best. The second half the guys put together a good run to put us up 12 along with some great defensive stops. We were a little naive to close the game but we were able to show discipline and resilience down the stretch to come away with an important victory.” Kestrels’ Ricky Madison was the high point man once again with 21 points and 7 rebounds whilst Elias Poorman, Justin Bessard and Kai Walker all added 14 in a balanced scoring effort for the hosts. Reading Rockets Troy Cracknell had 25 points for the visitors, with Jawad Adekoya and Jermiah Jenkins adding 11 and 10 respectively. Kestrels are back on the road next Saturday as they look to continue their impressive form of late, where they’ll take on Manchester Magic (7pm) at the Manchester Basketball Centre.
Image Courtesy | Kaitlyn Jeffrey
TSK SNATCH VICTORY IN DRAMATIC FASHION AT LOUGHBOROUGH
Team Solent Kestrels snatched a last gasp victory on the road at Loughborough Riders on Saturday evening 95-94, after trailing for long spells of the match up. The win sees Kestrels avenge an overtime loss from earlier in this season at the SSC and move above Loughborough in the league standings. Justin Bessard opened the scoring for the visitors as he scored on the Kestrels first possession of the ball game, however it was Loughborough who edged ahead early 4-7. Kai Walker found himself an easy scored inside to leave the score at 8-10 to the Riders but that was short lived as Logan Rooney and Elijah Bailey pushed the hosts out in front 8-15. Ricky Madison and Elias Poorman wasted no time in cutting the deficit down for TSK, as they combined for 7 straight points, to force the Riders into a timeout at 15 a piece. The sides traded scores post timeout for the remainder of the quarter with Madison and Kyron Martin off the bench, doing the work for the Kestrels, however Riders took a 23-27 lead at the break. Justin Hedley opened the second quarter on fire for the Riders but Kestrels own Justin would reply at the other end, eventually tying the game at 33. Elijah Bailey made a pair of triples either side of a Greg Durand bucket, giving the hosts a 35-39 advantage, Madison was able to pull Kestrels back within 1 shortly after though. The home side did find themselves up by as many as 9 points late in the half however Madison ensured the scoreline was 44-51 at the break. Both sides were free scoring in the opening exchanges of the second half, with Sam Akano coming out on fire for the visitors. Although the lead remained at 5 for the Riders, an 8-0 run through the mid point of the quarter, saw Kestrels take a 62-59 lead, capped off by a Bessard lay up. It was Loughborough who replied though and an 8-0 run for them swung the game back in their favour as they knocked down two more triples, giving them a 62-67 lead. Bessard did pull TSK back within just a point before Hedley closed the period with a lay up, 69-72 Riders. Kyron Martin tied things up on the opening possession of the 4th quarter with a trademark triple and when he made his second in as many minutes, Kestrels led 77-74. Bailey continued to provide the scoring punch for the hosts as he scored 6 straight on a number of tough makes, but Madison and Bessard ensured Kestrels still held a narrow 1 point advantage with 4.41 to play. A 7-2 run for the Riders out of a Coach Maynard timeout, gave them an 83-87 lead and forced Kestrels into a timeout of their own with 3.22 on the clock. The sides exchanged blows across the final 2 minutes with the lead changing hands, Bessard tied it at 88, before Hedley edged Riders back in front at the line, and then Madison obliged with a pair of free throws to leave the score at 90-89 TSK. Bielak knocked down a 3 in the corner on the following possession for Loughborough, after a questionable no call on what looked an offensive foul on Bailey, before Bielak scored again to give Riders a 90-94 advantage with 28 seconds to play. Bessard stroked a huge triple out of a Coach Stanley timeout to pull Kestrels within a point and would put Conroy Hayden to the foul line to shoot two. He would miss both attempts giving Sam Akano a clean run coast to coast to put Kestrels up 95-94 with 3.3 seconds to play, Riders turned the ball over out of the timeout and Kestrels snatched the victory. Ben Stanley, TSK Head Coach added his thoughts, “I wasn’t impressed with our commitment defensively, with our schemes and overall execution, allowing them to create too many good looks and they are a dangerous offensive team. Our grit and determination to fight back in the second half, with Sam Akano overcoming an illness in the week, to provide a huge influence was big time for us. JB (Justin Bessard) also getting us into a position where we had a shot to win the game and the squads overall effort down the stretch to execute was massive for us.” Kestrels were led by Ricky Madison who had himself 28 points and 15 rebounds whilst Justin Bessard added 21 points and 8 boards, with Kai Walker and Sam Akano also chipping in 13 points a piece. Loughborough’s American guard Elijah Bailey led all scorers with 30 points whilst Joe Bielak and Justin Hedley added 17 points each.
Image Courtesy | Kaitlyn Jeffrey
KESTRELS GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS OVER BARKING ABBEY
Team Solent Kestrels got back to winning ways this weekend, as they handed Barking Abbey an 83-72 loss and improved to 7-8 in NBL Division 1 action. After a close first half Kestrels were able to do enough in the second half to clinch the victory, bouncing back from last weeks disappointment in Bradford. Barking Abbey had the better of the opening exchanges as they found themselves up 2-5 inside the first 2 minutes of action and although Kai Walker provided some respite for the hosts, it was the Londoners who had a 4-9 advantage at the mid point of the quarter. A relatively low scoring first quarter for both squads meant neither side found much of a scoring rhythm. Ricky Madison tied the game at 9 with a thunderous poster dunk but it was BA who edged back in front through Igor Stokic. Kestrels rallied to close the quarter and back to back triples from Kyron Martin ensured the teams were all square at 15 after the first. Ilias Taiwo opened the second period for the hosts with 3 consecutive triples either side of a 2 BA scores, to give his side a 24-20 advantage and when Sam Akano scored in the paint, the visitors would use their first timeout of the ball game. The sides would go back and forth out of the timeout but it was Kestrels who edged themselves into a 10 point lead at 32-22 forcing Barking’s second timeout. A 6-2 run for BA pulled them within 6 with 1.21 left in the half, however Josh Smith-White and Kai Walker restored an 11 point advantage before the interval, 41-30 TSK. The sides exchanged scores to open to the second half, across the opening two minutes, with both squads able to find easy scores. An 8-0 run capped off with a Gregoire Durand triple would extend the Kestrels lead to 18, which was the largest of the game so far. The hosts did further their lead to 19 points for spells of the 3rd quarter, however a 16-5 run to close the period for BA meant they were back within just 8 points with 10 minutes remaining, 69-61 Kestrels. Kyron Martin and Sam Akano went back to back from beyond the arc to open the final stanza but they would be matched be Barking’s Michael Amako and Nedas Cholevinskas. Stokic cut the gap to 7 points with 4.10 remaining on the game clock in the lowest scoring quarter of the ball game. However neither side would score again until the 1.24 mark, when Akano stroked a late clock 3 pointer to effectively ice the ball game, 79-69. Madison scored post timeout for the hosts to put them up 12 and despite a late Rhys Sundimalt triple for BA, Kestrels held on for an 83-72 victory. Ben Stanley, TSK Head Coach gave his thoughts on the performance, “Lions came to compete this weekend whilst we failed to execute some of the things we'd worked on in practice this week. That being said we did a good job of fighting and maintaining our advantage going into the 4th. We've a tough schedule coming up and we'll need to refocus moving forwards.” Kestrels are in double header action next weekend as they travel to Loughborough Riders (6pm) on Saturday evening, before returning to the SSC on Sunday afternoon (3pm) where they’ll welcome Reading Rockets.
Image Courtesy | Kai Johnson
TSK FALL SHORT IN OVERTIME ON THE ROAD AT BRADFORD
Team Solent Kestrels winning run came to an end of Saturday evening as they lost narrowly on the road in overtime, 93-97 to Bradford Dragons. The loss is the first since December 10th as they very nearly completed a clean sweep of victories through the month of January. It was a cagey affair in opening 5 minutes of the ball game as the sides traded scores but with little consistency from either side, Kestrels holding a 10-6 lead at the mid point of the period. However Ricky Madison would find his rhythm to fire up TSK and help them string together an 8-2 run to take them into the first quarter break with an 18-8 advantage. Despite an early trip to the foul line for the hosts in the second quarter, it was Kestrels who set about increasing their double digit lead, behind Sam Akano and Madison, 23-9. TSK would find themselves up 17 just 3 minutes into the period however Bradford would begin to chip away at the lead, with Ricky Fetske providing the scoring punch. An 8-2 run for the hosts ahead of the half time interval saw them trim the deficit to 9 points and although Ilias Taiwo responded for the Kestrels, Fetske eventually cut the gap to 7. Akano closed the half for TSK with a lay up of his own, giving Kestrels a 42-33 advantage at the break. Dragons opened the second half with a 7-2 run to pull within touching distance of the Kestrels, giving them the early momentum. Elias Poorman did his best to stave off the efforts of the home side as he scored 6 straight for TSK but David Walsh cut the arrears to just a point after he stroked a triple for Bradford. Jordan Whelan edged the West Yorkshire side in front for the first time in the ball game at 53-52 and although the sides traded baskets to wrap up the 3rd, Dragons held a 60-61 advantage. The lead swung back and forth across the opening 5 minutes of the 4th quarter as both teams looked to seize control of the game, Justin Williams doing the damage for the hosts whilst Ricky Madison ticked over TSK. A 9-0 run capped off by a Williams 3 for Bradford saw them take a 68-75 with a little under 4 minutes remaining. Madison and Poorman responded for the visitors as they trimmed the gap to 5 at 78-73 and when Justin Bessard knocked down a triple on the next possession, Kestrels were back within 2 points at 76-78. Kestrels tied it up at the foul line through Bessard, before Fetske restored the Dragons lead, at 78-80 with 13 seconds to play. Poorman would miss a pair of free throws but Kai Walker was on hand and he would be fouled on a rebounding attempt, putting him a the line with 1.8 seconds remaining. Walker stroked the free throws and would send the game to overtime tied at 80. An 8-2 start for Bradford to the extra period saw them hold an 88-82 advantage and although Poorman replied at the foul line for TSK, Fetske pushed the gap to 9 at 92-83 for the Dragons. Gregoire Durand knocked down a pair of 3’s either side of a Sulcs lay up for the home side, bringing Kestrels back within 5 points. Taiwo and Walsh exchanged free throws and when Durand made yet another triple, Kestrels were back within 2 at 93-95. Justin Williams would convert at the foul line with just 15 seconds to play and that made it a 4 point game, Bradford winning 93-97. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley shared his thoughts on a tough loss for his side; “Another fantastic defensive effort to open the game for us, we were able to execute our game plan and that allowed us to get out and run in transition to our advantage. The 3rd quarter was a different story and we lacked a little bit of resilience in the difficult moments, turning the ball over and failing to hold our composure. We showed incredible fight to get back in the game in the 4th and send the game to overtime, however a frustrating loss for us and we have to find better consistency in these moments." Team Solent Kestrels Ricky Madison had 28 points and 14 rebounds to lead the charge, whilst Gregoire Durand had 13 points and Justin Bessard added 11. Bradford Dragons American guard had 28 points for the hosts, with Jordan Whelan and Ricky Fetske chipping in 20 and 19 respectively. Kestrels will now return home to the SSC this coming Saturday evening, looking to kick start another win streak, as they welcome Barking Abbey London Lions for a 6pm tip off.
Image Courtesy | Kai Johnson
KESTRELS CONTINUE HOT STREAK WITH WIN OVER WARRIORS
Team Solent Kestrels made it 4 wins from 4 with a routine 72-58 victory over Westminster Warriors in NBL Division 1 action on Saturday evening at the Solent Sports Complex. The win moves Kestrels to 6-7 in league play as the race for hotly contested playoffs spots continues to heat up. The hosts started in quick fashion as they raced out to a 7-0 lead behind some uptempo play from Sam Akano and Elias Poorman. Jacob Stanuel-Taitte opened the visitors account from beyond the arc but Kai Walker would respond from the foul line on the following possession. Kestrels pushed the lead to 14-5 through the mid point of the quarter after Justin Bessard stroked a triple and although Justin Hitchman responded for the Warriors on the next play, that would be the last time the visitors scored in the quarter. TSK would go on to hold Westminster scoreless for the final 4.47 of the quarter whilst pouring in the offensive production, lead by Bessard, the home side 28-6 in front after one. Warriors found some rhythm to begin the second quarter as they strung together 8 unanswered points to slash the deficit to 14. However Bessard would do his best to ensure that there was no let up from the hosts, as he scored 8 straight points, followed by an Elias Poorman free throw to give Kestrels a 37-14 advantage. Despite the strong showing through the middle of the second from TSK it was Westminster who closed the half the better of the two sides, closing the gap to 13 at the break after a 10-2 finish to the quarter, 41-28 Kestrels at the interval. Kestrels restored an 18 point advantage almost immediately as the second half got underway, though Bessard and Poorman. However the momentum would swing back and forth throughout much of the 3rd quarter with neither team able to consistently control long spells of the game. Hitchman brought the Londoners back to within 12 points after he stroked a triple with 3.41 remaining in the period and once again it was the visitors who closed the quarter on the up. A 7-0 to close the 3rd for the Warriors meant they were back within touching distance at 53-46. Sam Akano and Kai Walker quickly settled the Kestrels Family nerves at the SSC as they scored on back to back trips down the floor, to open the 4th quarter and a 6-0 run out of a Westminster timeout saw a 16 point advantage restored for TSK. Warriors would continue to hang around though as they kept the scoreboard ticking and themselves within 12 points. Despite their best efforts Kestrels were able to see out the victory down the stretch as they held on for a 72-58 win. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley was pleased with his sides efforts to secure a 4th consecutive win, “I thought we started fantastically well, with really good offensive execution finding the advantaging and moving the ball really unselfishly. Defensively we were excellent in the first half and are starting to show some growth on that end of the floor. The back end of the 2nd and the 3rd we took our foot off the gas a little bit and credit to Westminster for fighting back and making a real game of it. Our improved disciplined and resilience shone through in the 4th quarter to regain our composure and ultimately lead us to another win.” Kestrels were led by Justin Bessard who posted 25 points and 5 rebounds whilst Elias Poorman had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Kai Walker added 14 points and 18 rebounds. Westminster Warriors’ Jacob Stanuel-Taitte was the high point man for the visitors with 20, whilst Justin Hitchman and Jon Johnson added 12 and 10 respectively. Kestrels now shift their attention to a difficult road encounter with Bradford Dragons where they’ll look at avenge a defeat at the SSC from earlier this season, TSK will make the trip to West Yorkshire on Saturday for a 6:15pm tip off.
Image Courtesy | Kai Johnson
TSK MAKE IT 3 WINS IN A ROW AS THEY DEFEAT TEAM NEWCASTLE
Team Solent Kestrels got the second half of their season underway with a 79-62 victory over Team Newcastle University on Saturday evening at Solent Sports Complex, avenging defeat in the north east earlier in the season. The win sees Kestrels pick up their 3rd win in a row and improve to 5-7 in a fiercely competitive mid table battle for a playoff spot, in NBL Division 1. The hosts flew out of the blocks to open the game up with a 10-0 run inside the first 2 minutes, behind 5 Ricky Madison points. Emanuel Kanwei opened the scoring for the visitors but a further 7-0 run for TSK behind Greg Durand and Madison once again, saw Team Newcastle use their first timeout of the game, 17-2 Kestrels in front. Justin Bessard converted a pair of free throws post timeout to push the gap to 17, however a 7-2 run for the north east side to close the quarter helped them trim the arrears to 13, Kestrels 24-11 after one. Neither team were able to establish any scoring rhythm in the early phases of the second quarter with just 3 points scored across both squads in the first 4 minutes. Kestrels eventually restored their 17 point lead through a Justin Bessard triple with a little over 4 minutes remaining in the half, however that was short lived as Temi George trimmed the gap once again for Newcastle. TSK found themselves up as many as 20 before the break through a thunderous Ilias Taiwo dunk but the visitors rallied ahead of the interval and cut it to 16, 39-23 to TSK at the half. Newcastle opened the second half with clear intent to get themselves back in the ball game cutting the lead down to 11 inside the first 2 minutes through Jason Soodeen. Kestrels briefly responded when Elias Poorman made his way to the hoop for 2, however Jordan May and Josh Moore pulled the visitors back to within 8 points at 45-37. Madison and Taiwo pushed the deficit back to 12 points as they provided some respite for the hosts but Okiki had other ideas as he knocked down a 3 on the following possession. Josh Moore did pull Newcastle back to within just 6 points with a little under 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd, however Kestrels restored a double digit lead ahead of the 4th quarter with a number of successful trips to the foul line, 57-46 with 10 minutes to play. Ricky Madison scored 7 straight to open the 4th quarter and when Taiwo followed up with a triple to cap off a 10-0 run, Kestrels put themselves back firmly in the driving seat up 67-46. Christian Alexander stopped the run for Newcastle but it was Elias Poorman and Kestrels new signing Kyron Martin who pushed the gap to 25 in a hurry. The sides traded scores through the mid point of the 4th with Jude Carmichael and Poorman providing the scoring punch for the home side. A late flurry of scores from Newcastle pulled them back to within 15 but Patrick Adedeji wrapped things up at the line to see Kestrels take a 79-62 win. Kestrels were led by Ricky Madison’s Player of the Week performance as he posted 24 points, 12 rebounds and 4 steals, whilst Justin Bessard and Elias Poorman joined him in double figures with 14 and 10 respectively. Team Newcastle’s Josh Moore had 13 points to lead the visitors with Tola Okiki adding 12 off the bench. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley was full of praise for his sides efforts, “The guys started the game really well, I was really impressed with the focus especially on the defensive end, holding them to 11 points. Our offensive execution wasn’t where we would have liked it to be in the second quarter, like wise in the 3rd quarter where we were a little luck lustre and lacked a winning attitude. However we responded well in the 4th quarter and got ourselves an important win against a very good Newcastle side.” Kestrels return to the Solent Sports Complex for a second consecutive weekend this Saturday, as they welcome Westminster Warriors for a 6pm tip off, where they’ll look to make it 4 wins in a row.
Image Courtesy | Kai Johnson
KESTRELS DOMINATE THUNDER TO MAKE IT BACK TO BACK WINS
Kestrels handed Worthing Thunder an 85-60 defeat at the Solent Sports Complex on Saturday evening in their final NBL Division 1 Men’s action of the year. The win sees Kestrels take their win tally against Worthing Thunder to 12 of the last 14 match ups between to two sides and improves Kestrels to 4-7 in league play this season. Worthing jumped out of the blocks early as they built a 2-9 lead behind Hafeez Abdul and Andre Arissol, however Kestrels responded through Ricky Madison and Kai Walker and when Justin Bessard knocked down a triple he cut the arrears to just 2 points, at 9-11. The sides traded scores for the remainder of the opening quarter, all until Madison scored 5 straight to close the period out and give his side a 16-15 advantage after one. The second quarter was arguably TSK’s most complete of the season as they stamped their authority all over the game, starting with a 7-2 run to force Coach Taylor into a timeout for the visitors, Kestrels 23-17 to the good. Post timeout however it was all TSK, as they put together a 17-0 run which included Ilias Taiwo coming off the bench to catch fire, whilst Kestrels turned stops into scores in transition and found themselves up 40-17. Worthing used their second timeout to stem the flow and a timely score for them as play resumed stopped their drought, but Kestrels continued in free scoring fashion as Greg Durand and Jude Carmichael scored before the half, to give TSK a 47-25 lead at the break. Kestrels used a 6-2 run to open the second half and pushed their lead to 26 points, however Hafeez Abdul responded for the Thunder to keep the scoreboard ticking for them. Thunder trimmed the gap to 19 when Abdul scored once again but Taiwo and Madison combined for 8 Kestrels points and restored their advantage, back into the 20’s. Worthing continued to show some fight as Arissol and Jackman knocked down back to back three’s but Madison ensured Kestrels would take a 19 point lead into the final 10 minutes. Moya opened the scoring for the Thunder in the final period to cut the gap to 17 but that was as close as the visitors would get. Justin Bessard scored 4 straight to kick start the Kestrels 4th quarter output and that started a back and forth between the sides, as both teams found scoring opportunities but ultimately that better suited the hosts. Sam Akano scored 5 straight points to push the Kestrels lead back to 25 with a little over 3 minutes to play. Both teams introduced their benches to close the game and Kestrels would take a 25 points victory, 85-60. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley “Tonight was an excellent level of defensive execution from our guys. We were disciplined, together and relentless on the defensive end and that really sparked us at the other end. Offensively I thought we played really well for each other and moved the ball, we can be better with our execution but the intent is really starting to show. I think we've definitely shown how much we've grown as a unit the past month or so, now we need to continue to work at this level to find consistency. I’d like to take this time also to extend a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the Kestrels Family, thank you guys for all of your support!” Ricky Madison was the high point man for Team Solent Kestrels as he had 21 points and 14 rebounds, whilst Ilias Taiwo added 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists on 100% from the floor and Elias Poorman did a little bit of everything with 11 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Hafeez Abdul led Worthing Thunder with 18 points whilst former Kestrel Orlan Jackman added 13. Kestrels now head into the break 4-7 in NBL Division 1 play, after a positive last 4 weeks. We want to extend our thanks to the Kestrels Family for all their support through out the year 2022, we’ll be back in 2023, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Image Courtesy | Kai Johnson
TSK FALL SHORT IN DERBY BUT BOUNCE BACK AGAINST HOODS
Team Solent Kestrels went 1-1 across their double header this past weekend after losing out narrowly to Derby Trailblazers in the East Midlands on Saturday evening 82-90, they would return to the Solent Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon to edge out another East Midlands outfit in the Nottingham Hoods, 99-97. Saturday saw Kestrels seize the initiative early on as they set about building a slender advantage in the first quarter, finding themselves up 25-20 after one. However the second quarter saw Derby kick into gear as American guard Ryan Bruggeman found his scoring rhythm and punished the visitors. It was Derby who had swung the game in their favour taking a 13 point lead into the half time interval, up 35-48. Kestrels would hang around for long spells of the second half and that started right away in the 3rd quarter, as they would trim the gap to 9 points heading into the final period. However despite their best efforts to chip away at the lead the hosts were able to do enough to remain in control down the stretch and would hold on to take a 82-90 point victory. There are unfortunately no stats from the game. Sunday opened in back and forth fashion as both teams were able to find easy scores early on, however it was the Hoods who built the first meaningful lead through Seth Hall and Josh Guddemi, to put them up 4-14. Kestrels spent the rest of the quarter chipping away at the Hoods lead through a balanced scoring effort from their starting group, as they were able to find ways to score against Nottingham’s zone. Despite TSK eating into the deficit they would trail by 4 at the first quarter break, 19-23. Kestrels undid their hard work as the second quarter got underway, with Hoods going on a 6-0 run to restore their double digit lead. TSK did respond through Justin Bessard and Ricky Madison to cut the gap to 6 but that was short lived as Guddemi and Johde Campbell restored the advantage for the visitors. After a Hoods timeout, the hosts did eventually trim the arrears to 3 points, again through Madison at the foul line, although this would be as close as they got that side of half time with Hoods taking a 43-48 lead into the interval. The sides exchanged scores for the opening 8 possessions of the second half, in what ended up being the highest scoring quarter of the game for both squads. A Ricky Madison and-1 would break the cycle however as he forced a Hoods timeout and brought his side to within just a point of the visitors. Nottingham responded post timeout with a 5 point run of their own to push their lead back to 6 points after a Seth Hall lay up, that was short lived though as Sam Akano kick started an 8-0 TSK run, that gave Kestrels their first lead of the game ball game at 63-61 with 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd. The lead would then change hands several times as the period came to a close but a 13-3 run for the Hoods to end that spell, gave them a huge boost heading into the 4th, now up 71-80. Hoods would push the lead to 14 early in the 4th as Josh Guddemi converted on a lay up attempt, giving the visitors their biggest lead of the afternoon. A 9-2 run kick started by an Akano triple and capped off by a Kai Walker put back, would force Nottingham into a timeout with 4:42 to play, 84-91. Akano converted on an and-1 post timeout followed by scores from both Walker and Bessard respectively to tie things up at 91 a piece, setting up a tense finish at the SSC. Theo Riley provided some respite for the East Midlands outfit from beyond the arc to put them back up 3, however Bessard responded with a triple of his own with just 1.51 remaining. Diogo Soares would split a pair of free throws before Bessard would give TSK a 1 point lead and although Seth Hall restored a 1 point advantage from the foul line for the Hoods, there was still drama left to unfold. After empty possessions for both teams a Ricky Madison and-1 with 29 seconds to play would be the difference between the sides, giving Kestrels a come from behind 99-97 victory. Head Coach Ben Stanley weighed in on the weekends performances, “It was a great start from the guys in Derby, we opened the game with great energy and really executed early on. We just needed to halt their run earlier in the 2nd, as after that we were playing catch up for long spells of the game. That being said we were right there within touching distance but just unable to put together enough of a run to really give ourselves a shot. Sunday’s match up with the Hoods I thought we were very poor defensively throughout the game and we did not show the best version of us on that end of the floor, however the fight back, resilience and togetherness of the team were exceptional and that was the difference. We've started to prove that we never give up, that we're going to fight no matter what and that got us a win that was big both for us as a group and for me personally.” Kestrels were led on Saturday by Ricky Madison’s 18 points, whilst Kai Walker added 14 points in the defeat. Sunday it was Madison once again who led the charge this time with a massive 34 point, 18 rebound double double, with Justin Bessard adding his own double double of 25 points and 14 rebounds and Kai Walker again chipping in 19. Kestrels now play host to Worthing Thunder this Saturday (6pm) for the 3rd time this season, in all competitions, as they look to finish 2022 with a victory at the SSC.
Image Courtesy | Kaitlyn Jeffrey
KESTRELS BACK IN THE WIN COLUMN BUT CRASH OUT OF THE CUP
Team Solent Kestrels got back to winning ways this past Saturday evening, as they beat Thames Valley Cavaliers 79-63 in NBL Division 1 action at the Solent Sports Complex. TSK took to the floor less than 24 hours later back at the SSC, where Worthing Thunder were the visitors in the 5th Round of the National Cup. However despite a to the wire battle, Kestrels came up just short losing out 80-83, which is the clubs first loss in the cup since January 2019. Kestrels got off to a quick start on Saturday evening as Ricky Madison scored 4 of his sides first 8 points, as they raced to an 8 nothing lead. The Cavaliers wasted no time in replying as AJ Roberts kick started their scoring for the night, trimming the arrears to just 1. It was back and forth across the mid point of the first period, however when Elias Poorman stroked a triple at the 4 minute mark, Kestrels found themselves back up 6, at 16-10. That 3 pointer would spark an 11-3 close to the quarter for TSK as they took a 24-13 lead into the second quarter. Justin Bessard pushed the gap to 14 points in the early stages of the second period as Kestrels kept the Cavaliers at bay. TVC would string together a 7-2 run with a little under 4 minutes to play in the half as they cut the hosts advantage to just 9 points. The sides would trade baskets as the half time interval drew closer but it was Kestrels who took a 38-29 lead into the break, after Elias Poorman beat the half time buzzer. The home side started the better of the two sides as the second half got underway with Sam Akano and Elias Poorman finding their way to the basket, pushing the lead to 13. Aiman Rezk would reply for TVC but 6 more unanswered points for the Kestrels saw them hold a 48-31 lead with just 4 minutes of the 3rd played. A 9-0 run for the Cavaliers and a 4 minute scoring drought for TSK meant the visitors had chipped away at the lead, pulling themselves back within just 8. However TSK rallied to close the period out and held a 54-43 advantage after 3 quarters. Greg Durand and Kai Walker restored a 15 point Kestrels lead to open the 4th quarter, although Cavaliers had other plans as they replied with 5 quick points of their own. Kestrels replied with 5 of their own to force a TVC timeout, with the lead back at 15, 63-48. Bode Adeluola kept the visitors within touching distance post timeout but a break away Kai Walker dunk lifted the roof off the SSC, as Kestrels once again found themselves back up 14. TVC pulled themselves back the deficit back to 10 with a little over 3 minutes remaining but that was as close as they’d get, with Kestrels closing out the game down the stretch through Madison, 79-63 winners. Kestrels Head Coach Ben Stanley was pleased with his sides efforts across both games this weekend, “We were fair more focussed and locked in, we did an excellent job of executing some of things we have targeted in practice. We limited TVC and made their life difficult at times, playing with a much better sense of togetherness, reflected in our assist numbers also. The Worthing match up was a tough one for us but we fought for the full 40 minutes and I’m proud of the guys efforts. We stuck together, we executed and put pressure on Worthing early and I was really impressed with the resolve we showed in tough moments of the game. We just couldn’t quite hold on down the stretch, after Worthings talent shone through during their fight back. That said, we stayed in the game, found our way back and had a look to win the game, there is an immense amount of value that we can take from the performance moving forward to a tough weekend ahead. Kestrels were led by Justin Bessard’s 22 point and 13 rebounds, which earned him Player of the Week honours, whilst Ricky Madison and Kai Walker added 17 and 13 respectively. Thames Valley’s AJ Roberts had 17 points whilst Victor Olarerin chipped in 16. TSK’s Kai Walker had 19 points and 8 rebounds in the Worthing match up, whilst Ricky Madison added 17 points and 8 rebounds and Greg Durand added 15. Worthing’s Andre Arissol had 19 points, with Ronald Blain and Veron Eze contributing 17 and 16 points. Kestrels now face another tough double header weekend as they travel to Derby Trailblazers on Saturday evening before retuning to the SSC on Sunday, to take on Nottingham Hoods at 2:30pm.
Image Courtesy | Kai Johnson
ANOTHER NARROW ROAD LOSS FOR KESTRELS IN NBL D1 MEN
Team Solent Kestrels dropped to yet another agonisingly close defeat, on Saturday afternoon against Essex Rebels on the road, 80-82. After leading by as many as 14 points Kestrels were unable to find a way back down the stretch, sending them to their 6th league defeat of the season. Kestrels started the better of the two sides as some positive play from Elias Poorman helped them to an early 7-2 advantage however in a relatively low scoring first period that would be short lived. Essex’s Lee Linton-Hodges and Rory Winter came off the bench to inject some scoring prowess into the hosts play, as they pulled within 2 at 11-9. Justin Bessard and Kai Walker responded for TSK as they both converted on lay ups and although the Rebels pulled within a point in closing second of the quarter, Bessard stroked a triple to ensure Kestrels held an 18-14 lead after one. Once again Kestrels had the better of the opening spells of the quarter as they strung together a 9-3 scoring run to push the gap to 10, at 27-17, behind Greg Durand and Walker once again. Ricky Madison would check back into the game and score 5 straight points as Kestrels fought off any response from the home side. Kestrels’ lead would stay out around the 10 point margin through the mid point of the quarter as Madison continued successful trips to the foul line, however Essex would chip away at that as the half came to a close, trimming the gap to 4 points with a little over a minute remaining. Bessard and Patrick Adedeji ensured that the visitors would have a little breathing space before the half though, as they scored on successive trips, to leave the score at 45-38 at half time. An 8-1 run for the Kestrels, saw them fly out of the blocks in the third quarter, as both Bessard and Madison lead the scoring charge for the visitors, forcing an early Rebels timeout, Kestrels 53-39 to the good. The sides traded scores post timeout but it was Essex who responded once again, trimming the gap to 7 points through Owen Chose. Chose continued to provide the home side the impetus on the offensive end as he scored 9 in a row to further cut the Kestrels lead to just 3 points. By the time the 3rd quarter buzzer had sounded, TSK had relinquished their advantage and found themselves down 60-61 with 10 minutes to play. The hosts built an early 5 point lead through Tyreese Hudson and Ben Winter, however Elias Poorman cancelled that out with back to back scores. The sides traded scores as Madison continued to get to the foul line but it was Essex who eventually pushed the lead to 10 points behind Dylan Johns and Rory Winter, with 3:25 to play. A quick 5-0 response from the Kestrels cut the deficit in half and although Johns scored again for the hosts, Sam Akin and Bessard would score 5 straight to leave the scoreline at 76-78, timeout Rebels with 1:18 to play. After an empty Essex possession, Madison converted a pair of foul shots to tie the game at 78, however Jake Eynon would find himself wide open late in the clock, on the next possession, to stroke a three ball with 32 seconds to play. Kestrels’ Madison scored out of the timeout to leave the score at 80-81 but Kestrels were unable to find an opportunity to win the game after a broken possession for Essex, losing out 80-82. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley gave his assessment of his sides performance, “This is obviously another tough close game for us where we have come out of it on the wrong end. The guys did a much better job in terms of executing in areas we'd focused on in preparation for this weekend, picking up the pace and staying together. We now have to figure out how to be consistent in the 2nd half and minimise the mistakes that are leading to us losing by these narrow margins.” Kestrels’ Ricky Madison had 25 points to lead the visitors whilst Elias Poorman added 17 points and 13 rebounds and Justin Bessard chipped in 15 points. Essex Rebels guard Rory Winter led them with 20 points, with Lee Linton-Hodges and Owen Chose adding 16 and 10 respectively. Kestrels now turn their attentions to a home double header this coming weekend, where they will host Thames Valley Cavaliers on Saturday (6pm) in NBL Division 1, before welcoming Worthing Thunder on Sunday (3pm) in the 5th round of the National Cup.
Image Courtesy | Kaitlyn Jeffrey
KESTRELS DROP TO DEFEAT AFTER FOURTH QUARTER COLLAPSE
Team Solent Kestrels slumped to a 76-85 defeat to Manchester Magic in front of a packed crowd at the Solent Sports Complex on Saturday evening, the loss leaves Kestrel’s with a 1-5 record in NBL Division 1. The hosts looked to be in control across three quarters but a 4th quarter collapse allowed the North East side to snatch victory in the closing stages. It was a slow start for the hosts as they were only able to find one score in the opening 3 minutes of action, whilst Manchester found themselves 2-7 to the good after Tyme Regent-Bascombe converted on a pull up jump shot. Elias Poorman and Ricky Madison trimmed the deficit to 1 as they both scored in the paint but it was the Magic who responded, as they built a 6-13 lead. Kestrels rallied however and put together a 10-3 run to close the 1st quarter, giving them a 20-18 advantage after one. Greg Durand pushed the TSK lead out to 5 points early in the second quarter, Magic would have other ideas though as they used a 7-0 run to regain their lead, through Loick Pouale off the bench. The lead swung back and forth through the mid point of the quarter, with both teams finding ways to score the ball. Manchester had edged in front by with just a minute to play in the half, behind Regent-Bascombe, however 5 unanswered points from Greg Durand and Kai Walker ensured the home side took a 42-38 lead into the half time break. Kestrels pushed the deficit to 7 momentarily to open the second half as Bessard scored 3 quick points, that was short lived though, as Andre Gayle trimmed the arrears and brought Magic back within just 4. Bessard responded from the foul line but Kaphel Ulet-Waul’s triple cut the gap to just 2 points at the mid point of the 3rd. An 8-2 scoring run for TSK restored their lead, this time at 8 points behind 4 more Bessard points, however 4 Joe Buchanan points pulled Manchester back within 4 once again. Ricky Madison scored 4 straight points in the closing stages of the quarter for the Kestrels, before Pouale replied for the Magic, leaving the scoreline at 60-54 TSK with 10 minutes remaining. Magic would punch first in the final quarter, as they came out swinging on a 10-0 run to put them 4 points to the good, behind Gayle and Pouale. Coach Stanley would use his first timeout of the half to settle his sides nerves and whatever was said, clearly worked, as Sam Akano and Bessard set about trimming the gap and eventually tying the game at 64. The sides exchanged scores over the following possessions with neither side able to build more than a one possession lead. Bailey Goodall knocked down a late clock triple to edge Magic ahead 70-73 with a little over 2 and a half minutes to play, forcing another TSK timeout. Greg Durand responded from the free throw line to cut the gap to 1, whilst Andre Gayle restored the 3 point gap on the following play. Akano and Ulet-Waul traded a pair of lay ups but when Trevor Samuel stroked a triple with 1:10 remaining, the visitors would find themselves up 74-80. Empty possessions would ultimately cost the Kestrels as Magic iced the game from the free throw line, 76-85. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley added, “This is obviously a really disappointing loss for us, especially on our home floor, to be in control of the game and not be able to close the game out is frustrating. I thought we had some positive contributions across the squad as the game wore on but ultimately a little bit of poise down the stretch cost us the lead at an important time. We will need to be better moving forward at being clinical from winning positions.” Kestrels were led by American Forward Justin Bessard’s 19 points, whilst Greg Durand and Ricky Madison added 14 a piece. Magic’s Andre Gayle had 19 points as he was the high point man for the visitors, with Kaphel Ulet-Waul and Bailey Goodall added 12 and 11 respectively. Kestrels now go on the road in search of a victory over Essex Rebels, this coming Saturday at the Essex Sports Arena (2pm).
Image Courtesy | Kaitlyn Jeffrey
TSK LOSE OUT IN OVERTIME THRILLER WITH RIDERS
Team Solent Kestrels dropped to a narrow 83-85 defeat at the Solent Sports Complex on Saturday evening, after a trilling overtime match up with Loughborough Riders. Kestrels had a chance to win the game from the free throw line in regulation, before Riders would go on to clinch the victory in the extra period. Kestrels found themselves up 6-0 early on behind a balanced scoring effort from the starting group and despite a brief response from beyond the arc from Loughborough, TSK would push the advantage to 7 from the foul line, 10-3. The visitors did find their rhythm however, as Harrison Gamble and Joe Bielak quickly trimmed the arrears, giving Riders the lead with 3 minutes left in the quarter, 13-17. After a Coach Stanley timeout the hosts rallied through Sam Akano and then again Kai Walker from the foul line, Loughborough 18-19 after the first. The second quarter opened in back and forth fashion as the lead changed hands a number of times, with both teams in free scoring mood. The visitors would connect on back to back triple, to give them 26-31 lead through the midway point of the period, however Akano would respond with a three of his own to cut the gap to 2. CJ Hayden and Gamble combined to push the Riders lead out to 9 at 29-38, forcing TSK into their second timeout of the half, allowing Coach Stanley to settle his side down. Greg Durand stroked a triple post timeout but Riders would extend the gap to 12 through Gamble, with just a minute left in the half. Kestrels trailed 39-48 at the interval. Kestrels changed gear to start the second half and strung together a 13-2 run to swing the game in their favour, edging ahead 52-50, timeout Riders. The hosts would continue their free scoring rhythm after Coach Maynard’s timeout, to push extend the advantage to 57-50, through Patrick Adedeji. Akano would push the lead to 8 but Gamble responded again, forcing TSK into a timeout of their own, 62-56 the hosts in front. Kestrels closed the quarter on a high however, as they finished up the 3rd with a 6-1 run, leading 68-57. It was a nervy start to the 4th quarter as neither side were able to score across the first 2 minutes, before Ricky Madison split a pair of free throws, to finally break the drought. Riders quickly trimmed the gap to 7 in the following possessions but Durand and Madison restored the double digit advantage for TSK in reply. Loughborough would then shut out the home side, as they put together an 11-0 run to tie the ball game up at 73 a piece, with 2.42 remaining. Kestrels edged ahead through Madison, before Joe Bielak tied it with a pull up jump shot with just 56 seconds on the clock. CJ Hayden then split a pair of free throws to give Riders a 75-76 lead with 11 seconds to play, Madison stepped up post timeout to score with 1.6 seconds left and a chance to take the lead from the foul line. He would fail to convert and then Justin Hedley’s hail mary rattled in and out, meaning their would be 5 minutes more basketball, tied at 77 after 40 minutes. Loughborough quickly raced to a 5 point lead in the overtime period through Lane Campbell and Bielak, before Akano and Madison would pull Kestrels back within a point at 81-82 with 1.20 on the clock. Hedley knocked down a pull up jump shot with a little under a minute to play however Elias Poorman responded on the following possession to keep the gap at just a point. Kestrels got a much needed stop and Jude Carmichael had a great look at a corner three that rattled out, Hedley split a pair of free throws to put the lead back at 2 for Loughborough setting up a tense final possession. Kai Walker missed a corner triple out of a Coach Stanley timeout and despite an offensive rebound, the hosts were unable to get a shot off to finish, 83-85 Riders. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley gave this thoughts on his sides performance, “This is obviously an incredibly tough loss for us and credit to Loughborough for doing enough to come away with the win. I thought we really showed who we were in the third quarter, we played some fantastic defence holding them to single digits for the quarter and that allowed us to get out and run. We were much improved in the half court, made much better decision and showed a togetherness to help us get up. However the 4th we allowed Riders key guys to impact way too easily and this made it difficult for us down the stretch. It felt like the game could have swung either way during the overtime period, but we will need to be relentless with our discipline and execution moving forward.” TSK were led by American Forward Ricky Madison’s 18 points and 14 rebounds, whilst Greg Durand added 17 and Sam Akano 16 off the bench. Loughborough Riders Justin Hedley had 21 points to lead all scorers with Harrison Gamble and Joe Bielak adding 19 a piece for the visitors. Kestrels take a break from the action next weekend with no fixtures on the schedule, before returning to the SSC to play host to Manchester Magic on Saturday 19th November 2022, 6pm tip off.
Image Courtesy | Kaitlyn Jeffrey
KESTRELS GET OFF THE MARK IN NBL DIVISION WITH WIN OVER LIONS II
Team Solent Kestrels picked up their first NBL Division 1 victory of the regular season on Saturday afternoon in London, as they defeated London Lions II 83-74. Kestrels welcomed both American Forwards into the line up for the first time also, as their visas were finally cleared, allowing them to suit up for the visitors. The hosts would jump out to a 1-5 lead early on however it was TSK who found rhythm behind a balanced scoring act from their new look starting group, to put them up 10-7. Lions responded with a run of their own though as Cem Under scored 5 unanswered points, Justin Bessard did his best to keep Kestrels ticking over as he was proving difficult to handle for the Lions. Ricky Madison and Oliver Wright would put together a 6-0 run to the quarter for TSK, that saw them take a 26-21 lead after one. London trimmed the deficit to just a point in the opening possessions of the second quarter but that sparked Kestrels into life, as Bessard and Kai Walker put together an 11-0 run of their own to give TSK their first meaningful advantage of the ball game, 39-25. Lions would claw their way back however, as Taiga Forster and Nedas Cholevinskas set about trimming the deficit to just 3 points. Kestrels did rally before the break to take a 47-36 lead into the half. TSK pushed the gap back to 14 points through Ricky Madison in the early stages of the second half as they looked to take control of the ball game. That wouldn’t be the case though as London were able to knock down a barrage of triples to keep themselves within touching distance. Sam Akano and Kai Walked did their best to ensure the visitors lead stayed out at double digits through the back end of the third and when Akano made a three late in the period, he gave his side a 70-55 advantage with ten minutes remaining. It was a tense and low scoring start to the final quarter as neither side really made any head way on the score board, all until Madison put Kestrels up 18 as he converted an and-1, followed by a Bessard score inside. Lions were not done though as an 0-8 run helped them to trim the gap to just 10 points with a little under 3 minutes remaining, forcing Coach Stanley into a timeout to settle his side down. London would cut it further to 7 points post timeout, but that would be as close as they would get, with Kestrels holding on to secure their victory of the regular season, 83-74. Kestrels American duo led the way for them in their first action in a TSK jersey, Justin Bessard pouring in 26 points whilst Ricky Madison added 18, Kai Walker would also chip in 17. Lions were led by former CoLA Basketball and Itchen College guard Taiga Forster, who had 22 points in his debut for the Londoners, with Ignas Juskevicius and Needs Cholevinskas adding 18 and 12 respectively. Ben Stanley, TSK Head Coach was pleased with his sides efforts, “It was great to have Justin and Ricky in with us finally, we had pretty good energy from the bench and through out the game. However we showed a little bit of inconsistency where we had chances to maybe take control of the game and build a more substantial lead. Overall though we showed some promise and an improved ability to make better decisions down the stretch, the challenge for us now is to sustain our focus and lock into limiting our opposition for longer spells, especially on the backboard.” Kestrels now return home to the SSC for the next two Saturday evenings, where they’ll face Loughborough Riders (5th) and Manchester Magic (12th) respectively.
Image Courtesy | Kaitlyn Jeffrey
TSK DROP HOME OPENER AFTER POOR SHOOTING NIGHT
Team Solent Kestrels slumped to a 60-83 defeat in their NBL Division 1 home opener against Bradford Dragons on Saturday evening. The loss sees TSK slip to 0-3 in league play after a solid start to the season in the KitKing Trophy. Bradford got off to the better start as they raced out to a 3-7 lead behind Micah Savery-Richards and Jordan Whelan, however Greg Durand and Kai Walker edged the hosts in front at 8-7 as they scored 5 in reply. A 0-10 run midway through the quarter for the Dragons though would give them an 8-17 lead but once again Kestrels would respond with a run of their own, as Durand and Josh Smith-White cut the gap to 1. Dragons did however rally and would go in up 18-24 after one. Tyler Fairbairn came off the bench to open TSK’s scoring in the second quarter but it was a 0-6 run for Bradford in response, that gave them their largest advantage of the game to that point at 12. The sides traded scores before another 6 unanswered saw the visitors lead balloon to 22-38, with a little over 4 minutes remaining in the half. Kai Walker and Ilias Taiwo did their best to begin to trim away at the arrears however a David Walsh triple before the half, ensured the Dragons took a double digit lead into the interval at 29-43. It was a back and forth start to the second half as both sides were in free scoring mood, with Walker and Elias Poorman doing the damage for TSK, who briefly cut the gap to 12. Jordan Whelan and Ricky Fetske put together 6 straight points however and that would restore an 18 point lead for Bradford through the midpoint of the quarter. Kestrels would go stone cold from the field to close the period and the Dragons capitalised, closing out the period on a 1-7 run to head into the final 10 minutes, up 40-62. TSK had it all to do in the 4th and the quarter started in the worst possible way, with back to back scores for the West Yorkshire side. Kestrels drought would continue as they were only able to put 4 points on the board over the first 3 minutes of the period, whilst Bradfords’ 13 in the same amount of time, gave them a 31 point lead. Newly acquired guards who are also Solent University student athletes, Jude Carmichael (formerly of Barking Abbey) and Patrick Adedeji (formerly of Team Birmingham Elite) provided some much needed scoring off the bench through the 4th, however it was too little, too late as Bradford took home a 60-83 victory. Kestrels Head Coach Ben Stanley had this to say after his sides defeat, “We're going to have to be much more intense and focused on executing at both ends moving forwards. Defensively we want to be one of the better teams in the league and right now we're not transferring our energy and passion from training to games. Offensively we need to play with a higher tempo much more and be far more aggressive, but execute with our spacing and cuts. We really believe in our potential, but in this league we don't have the luxury of waiting for us to realise it.” TSK were led by Elias Poorman who had 12 points and 6 assists whilst Greg Durand and Kai Walker added 10 points a piece. Bradford’s Jordan Whelan had 25 points for them with Micah Savery-Richards adding 12 points. Kestrels now make the trip to London to face London Lions II this Saturday afternoon (4pm) where they’ll look to pick up their first win of the regular season.
Image Courtesy | Kai Johnson
KESTRELS LOSE OUT NARROWLY IN REGULAR SEASON OPENER
Team Solent Kestrels opened up the NBL Division 1 Men’s regular season with a narrow 74-82 loss in the North East on Saturday afternoon, as they fell to Team Newcastle University. The shorthanded Kestrels side, still without both American imports, would come undone in the final period as the hosts clinched victory on the opening day. The game opened in back and forth fashion with Sam Akano scoring 5 straight but would be met in reply by Jordan May for the hosts. TSK would find themselves up 16-9 inside the first 5 minutes of the ball game after Akano stroked his second triple of the contest but a 10-0 run for Newcastle, would see them edge back in front with just under 3 minutes remaining in the first quarter. Elias Poorman and Kai Walker knocked down a pair of three’s as Kestrels hot streak from beyond the arc continued but it was Team Newcastle who had a 22-25 lead after one. A 10-2 run for the North East side to begin the second quarter gave the biggest lead of the game thus far at 11, as they did their damage in the paint. Gregoire Durand stopped the rot for TSK as he scored 4 unanswered, however 6 more points from Newcastle ensured their double digit lead was restored. Oliver Wright once again provided respite for the Kestrels with a timely 3 ball but Christian Alexander responded to put the hosts up 31-46, timeout Coach Stanley. An 8-0 run post timeout for TSK trimmed the deficit to just 7 points but Newcastle rallied before the interval and once again restored a double digit lead, 39-52. The sides traded blows to open the second half with neither team able to build a more commanding lead nor trim the deficit. However a 14-2 run for TSK behind a barrage of triples from beyond the arc would see them cut the gap to just 2 points with a little under 3 minutes to play in the third. Emmanuel Kanwei stopped the drought for the home side but Kestrels would complete the comeback to end the quarter, as Sam Akano scored 4 straight to tie things up at 65 each. Kestrels struck first in the final 10 minutes through that man Akano once again but Jordan May set about giving his team a 4 point advantage at the 6:32 mark. Oliver Wright knocked down another timely 3 pointer but former Essex Rebels wing Josh Moore gave his side a 5 point lead once again. Kai Walker and then Ilias Taiwo cut the gap to 3 points either side of a pair of Newcastle free throws. Christian Alexander would extend the arrears to 7 for TSK as Coach Stanley called for timeout with 2:54 remaining and despite a Kai Walker scored out of the break in play, Newcastle scored 4 in reply, giving them an 87-78 lead with 1:32 to play. The visitors cut the gap to 5 points through Akano and Taiwo but it was too little late as Newcastle saw the game out from the foul line, winning 84-92. Ben Stanley, TSK Head Coach gave his thoughts on his side performance, “This was obviously a tough weekend for our guys with difficult circumstances. We came out well offensively but couldn't maintain our defence in the first half and we allowed Newcastle to push the pace in the 2nd quarter. In the third we showed much better focus and really made great strides on the defensive end, which allowed us to chip away at the lead. Ultimately our inexperience at the level showed in the end game and we just need a little more composure down the stretch, to do a better job of recognising late game situations and knowing the right times to control tempo.” Kestrels were led by Sam Akano’s 23 points, whilst Kai Walker added 15 and Greg Durand 13. Team Newcastle’s Jordan May and Josh Moore had 20 a piece to lead the home side with Christian Alexander adding 19.
Image Courtesy | Claire Horn
HEAVY DEFEAT SEES KESTRELS CRASH OUT OF KIT KING TROPHY
Team Solent Kestrels bowed out of the Kit King Trophy on Saturday evening as they lost on the road to a strong Derby Trailblazers side, 70-110, at the quarter final stage of the competition. Missing both Americans, who will bolster Coach Stanley’s front court, Kestrels were unable to slow down the Trailblazers, who will now advance to take on Worthing Thunder for a spot in the final. The hosts, who eased their way through the group stages, showed their quality early wasting no time in building a 0-15 lead over TSK. Greg Durand and Kai Walker provided some respite for the visitors as they got the scoreboard ticking for Kestrels but Derby would hit 4 back to back triples to put them up 11-31. Raheem May-Thompson increased the gap to 25 with 5 points of his own before Oliver Wright and Tyler Fairbairn came off the bench for TSK to trim the deficit, Derby 38-15 after one. Josh Smith-White and Olly Wright stroked back to back threes for the visitors to open the second quarter and when Sam Akano and Smith-White once again connected from the beyond the arc, TSK had trimmed the gap to just 16 at 29-45. Smith-White would briefly cut the arrears to 14 with a lay up to force a Coach Shaw timeout for the Trailblazers and a 0-5 run for them post timeout restored their 19 point advantage. The sides traded baskets for much of the remainder of the half as Elias Poorman found his rhythm for Kestrels but May-Thompson showed no signs of slowing either, as he ensured the home sides lead was at 24 by the half, 44-68. The sides exchanged scores to get the second half underway but the scoring would slow down in comparison to the first half. Kestrels cut the gap to 23 but Trailblazers would not hang around for long as Jase Harrison quickly reinstated a 30 point gap. Smith-White scored another three to close the quarter out but the Derby lead would still sit at 26 heading into the final ten minutes, 60-86s. An 0-7 run for Derby would effective end any hopes of a dramatic comeback for TSK as the hosts lead was now out to 33 with just under eight minutes remaining. Sam Akano scored 5 straight to trim the gap but a 2-15 run to finish the ball game for the Trailblazers saw them balloon the deficit to 40, running out 70-110 winners. Ben Stanley, TSK Head Coach gave his thoughts on the defeat, “It's an eye opener for our guys, few of whom have played at this level. Derby are a top team at this stage of the season, they came out extremely assertive and we didn't play with the necessary level of intensity, focus and discipline to start the game. The guys didn't quit and fought back, but ultimately we need to play at the right level for 40 minutes moving forward.” TSK were led once again by 18 year old Joshua Smith-White who had 13 points off the bench, whilst Sam Akano and Elias Poorman added 12 and 11 respectively. Derby were led by Jase Harrison who had 27 points on 90% from the field, Raheem May Thompson added 25 and Malcolm Smith had 16 points. Kestrels now look ahead to their NBL Division 1 regular season opener, on Saturday 15th October 2022, where they’ll make the long trip north to face Team Newcastle University, before returning down south to the capital on the Sunday to face Westminster Warriors.
Image Courtesy | Chiara DiStefano
TSK ADVANCE TO KIT KING KNOCKOUT STAGES WITH WIN OVER REBELS
Team Solent Kestrels booked their spot in the Quarter Final of the KitKing Trophy on Saturday evening at the Solent Sports Complex, as they overcame an over time thriller with Essex Rebels, winning 100-97. The sides were all square at 84 a piece after forty minutes of action, after Greg Durand was unable to convert on the buzzer, but a back and forth extra session would see TSK take a narrow victory to move to 2-1 in Group 1. The game opened up in frantic fashion as both teams racked up points early, the hosts relying on Ilias Taiwo for early production whilst Rory Winter found his scoring rhythm for the Rebels. It was TSK who took the first meaningful lead, after a 9-0 run gave them a 15-8 advantage, forcing Essex into their first timeout of the game. The hosts pushed the lead out to as many as 9 through Oliver Wright and despite a reply from Rebels forward Tyreese Hudson, Kestrels took a 29-22 lead after one. An 8-2 run for the visitors across the opening 90 seconds of the second saw them pull within just a point, before eventually tying things up at 33 each. Kestrels would respond however with a run of their own as Elias Poorman capped 10-0 run to restore his sides lead, this time at 11, 45-34. Abdul Oladipupo came off the bench to give the hosts their largest lead of the game thus far at 14 but 4 points to close the half for Essex left the gap at 10 at the break, 50-40 TSK. Kai Walker kick started the second half with a pair of triples but that wouldn’t be enough to stop the Rebels trimming the deficit to just 3 points after four minutes of play. Greg Durand weathered the storm for TSK with a triple of his own, however an 8-1 run for the visitors saw them edge in front at 60-61 forcing Coach Stanley into a timeout. The lead would swing back and forth post timeout as the teams exchanged blows but there was no separating them as the 3rd quarter buzzer sounded, 70 a piece. Kestrels would throw the first punch in the fourth quarter as they moved out to a 78-72 lead behind an Olly Wright jump shot, forcing an Essex timeout and despite Sam Akano extended the gap to 8, Rebels would eventually find themselves within a point with just over three minutes ti play. Owen Chose scored on back to back possessions to give Essex an 82-84 lead but Taiwo tied things up at 84. With both sides coming up empty to close out regulation, the score stayed at 84 heading into an extra five minutes. The extra period would see Elias Poorman take control for TSK as he poured in 9 of the home sides 16 points. Kai Walker gave Kestrels a 4 point advantage with three minutes to go and despite a response from the Rebels, Poorman looked to have given the hosts control at 96-91. Essex had other ideas however as they pulled within 2, with 53 seconds remaining. Walker found his way to the hoop to restore a 4 point cushion for the hosts but Essex’s Riccardo Massafra stroked a triple to leave the score at 98-87 with 33 seconds to play. After a broken possession Taiwo would calm the nerves of the Kestrels Family as he converted in the paint with just 13.9 seconds remaining, to give Kestrels a 3 point lead. Post timeout Essex would get no less than three looks at a game tying shot but would ultimately come up short, giving TSK a 100-97 victory. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley commented on his sides victory, “This game gave us exactly what we needed in terms of adversity and finding ways to overcome Essex’s runs, which I was really pleased with. The group are continuing to buy in to a lot of the areas of emphasis for us and this past two weekends has given us a chance to begin to build an identity. We had a number of positive contributions across the board once again and that will be huge for us as the regular season gets underway.” Kestrels Kai Walker continued his fine start to the season with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, whilst Greg Durand added 17 and Elias Poorman 15. Essex Rebels American guard Owen Chose did the bulk of their scoring with 36 points whilst Dylan Johns and Tyreese Hudson added 20 and 13 respectively. Kestrels now turn their attention to this Saturday evenings trip to Derby Trailblazers (7:30pm), where they’ll face off for a spot in the Semi Finals of the KitKing Trophy.
Image Courtesy | Kai Johnson
KESTRELS TAME LIONS AS THEY BOUNCE BACK WITH BIG WIN
Team Solent Kestrels bounced back in style on Sunday afternoon in the capital as they handed Barking Abbey London Lions II a 99-67 defeat, moving them to a 1-1 record in Group 1 of the Kit King Trophy. Kestrels quickly flushed out any memory of Saturday evenings loss to Worthing as they used an impressive second half display, outscoring Lions 51-27. It was a back and forth opening quarter with neither team able to take any meaningful control in the early goings, as Cem Uner scored 4 points in the opening 5 minutes for the hosts, while a balanced scoring attack for TSK kept them within a point at 9-10. The lead would change hands several times with a number of trips to the foul line for both sides, with Josh Smith-White coming off the bench to make his impact felt right away for the visitors. A 7-0 run to close the period behind 5 straight Oliver Wright points would see Kestrels take a 24-18 lead after one. Sam Akano briefly increased the advantage to 8 as he got to the basket on the first possession of the second quarter and he would go on to score 7 of the south coasters first 9 of the 2nd also. Greg Durand would push the deficit into double figures for the first time after a successful trip to the free throw stripe and thats where the lead would stay through the mid point of the quarter. Lions cut the gap to just 5 points through Tomide Akinsiku, who scored back to back lay ups but Kestrels rallied behind Smith-White to close the half up 48-40. TSK would use the third quarter to assert their control on the ball game and despite a quick trading of baskets in the early possessions, a 9-0 run powered by Kai Walker quickly saw TSK’s lead build to 16 at 59-43. Lions responded after a Coach Vear timeout through Moziah Danchie however a Smith-White dunk in transition pushed the gap to 19. Smith-White and Akano would combine once again to take the visitors advantage out to 23 and although the hosts did end their scoring drought, Oliver Wright was on hand once again, scoring 6 straight to give Kestrels an 80-54 lead after three quarters. Itchen Academy guard John Fairbairn stroked a triple to get TSK going in fourth but would be matched by a Nedas Cholevinskas three on the following possession for Lions. Kai Walker continued his free scoring with 4 more points, to move the arrears to 28, however the young Lions side would show plenty of resolve as Cholevinskas eventually cut the gap to 23. That man Walke did not show any signs of slowing though, as he went on his own 7 point scoring run to give Kestrels a 95-65 lead with a little over 4 minutes to play. The lead would reach as many as 34 before TSK ending up 99-67 winners. Kestrels were led by Kai Walker who posted 26 points and 8 rebounds, whilst Joshua Smith-White added 16 points and Sam Akano chipped in 14 points, 4 steals and 3 assists. Moziah Danchie and Cem Uner would be the only Lions players in double figures with 11 and 10 respectively. TSK Play caller Ben Stanley weighed in on his sides positive performance, “"We came out ready to play today and did a much better job of looking after the ball. We got into our offensive actions better, and we were much more consistent on the defensive end as well. We're going to have to do a much better job of rebounding the ball moving forwards though and I think that can be a real area of emphasis for us more forward. I was proud of our attitude and approach after the loss yesterday as we're preaching to the guys about keeping the same energy and attitude, whether we're winning or losing in any given moment.” Kestrels will now welcome Essex Rebels to the Solent Sports Complex this Saturday 24th September 2022 (4pm) as they look to book their spot in the Quarter Finals with a victory.
Image Courtesy | Graham Hodges
TSK OPEN UP KIT KING TROPHY WITH LOSS TO WORTHING
Team Solent Kestrels opened up their Kit King Trophy campaign on Saturday afternoon with a 67-89 loss to Worthing Thunder at the Solent Sports Complex. Kestrels who have seen an overhauled roster heading into the 2022/23 season, would still be without American Justin Bessard who is yet to be cleared to play as well as two more additions, who will be announced later this week. Kestrels opened the game with a quick 4-0 scoring run through Ilias Taiwo and Zain Poorman before an 2-8 run for the visitors saw them in front 6-8 inside three minutes. Poorman responded with 5 of his own points, looking like a man with something to prove and despite the hosts being out in front 13-10, Thunder veteran Tom Ward would stop the run with a trademark jumper. Itchen Academy guard Lucas Scotland came off the bench to stroke a triple before the quarter was out and Veron Eze responded for Thunder to leave the score line at 16-14 in favour of TSK after one. A 7-0 run for the West Sussex outfit to begin the 2nd quarter forced Coach Stanley into his first timeout of the ball game to settle his side down. Sam Akano and Tyler Fairbairn would do just that as they trimmed the deficit to just one point, after back to back scores, however former Kestrel Andre Arissol restored a 5 point advantage at 21-26. Kestrels would find their rhythm though as they headed towards the half time break, stringing together a 19-7 scoring run, capped off by an Akano three ball to beat the buzzer, TSK 40-34 to the good. Despite some positive play at the back end of the first half, the third quarter would be all Worthing as their individual talent shone through. A 4-10 scoring run gave the visitors a slender lead at 44-46 and forced Kestrels into an early timeout, which would be put to good use as TSK were able to continue to tick the scoreboard over, through Greg Durand and Oliver Wright. The run that would blow the game open came across the final four minutes of the third quarter, where the Thunder used a 0-14 run, to take a 51-66 advantage into the final ten minutes. 7 more Thunder points to continue their massive scoring haul to open the fourth quarter would further the gap between to the two sides, however Kestrels were not done and would hang around until the final buzzer. Another Itchen Academy talent Tyler Fairbairn converted on an and 1 to reduce the deficit but it was Arissol again who helped to give Worthing their largest lead of the game at 26 with 6:42 remaining. Despite TSK’s efforts to hang around, it was too little too late however as Thunder held on to run out 67-89 winners, snapping Kestrels 11 game win streak between the two sides. Kestrels were led by Greg Durand who had 17 points and 10 rebounds whilst Kai Walker added 14 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists and Zain Poorman chipped in 9 points. Worthing Thunder’s Andre Arissol had 22 points to lead their offensive charge with Ronald Blain and Veron Eye adding 18 and 12 respectively. TSK Head Coach Ben Stanley was pleased with his sides first competitive outing, “"The guys came out really well in the first half, executed what we'd worked on, were unselfish with the ball, found extra passes and ultimately that led to good shots for us. In the 2nd half Worthing upped the intensity and we struggled with it, we didn’t adjust well enough to their pressure and turned the ball over too much. It's a great game for our guys to learn what this level is really about, and hopefully the lessons learnt will be important for us down the line. We stuck together despite the deficit and that's something I was really pleased to see.”