Despite covering tons of games in the league, I don’t always ‘enjoy’ the games – no worries with that on Friday, one of the most entertaining BBL games in a long time!
Paul Guede on Wolves win
Definitely no love lost between the two teams, right from the get-go Alex Owumi and Fab Flournoy had a nice heated exchange of words, Darius Defoe and Rob Thurman were competing under the basket… it was just good passion from both teams desperate to win the game.
Rob Thurman on Wolves win over Eagles
Not sure of the last time I’ve seen Eagles 0/10 from three point range after first 20 minutes. Also, missing four free throws in a row when it was a one point game late in the fourth..
Dave F on Eagles game vs Wolves
The action was best summed up by Wolves coach Paul James “If that game doesn’t make the fans come back to see a game… then I don’t know what will”.
Paul James on Wolves performance
From Eagles point of view, as well as losing the game – they now have to worry over the ankle of Scott Martin, who landed awkwardly after going for a rebound ball in the opening half.
But as always, let the players and coaches do the talking – and photos to tell the story.
Great advert for BBL and now Sunday’s BBL Cup Final needs to be quite special to top this one!!
Photos and Videos from the First Day at Betty Codona Classic 2015 !!
The post was MUCH longer – but when it all gets deleted for some off reason at 11.40pm … you just leave it to the short version over night and finish it off in the morning. But for those of you still awake – few video interview and photos from the first day of action in Sheffield.
First video clip and interviews – from Leicester Riders vs Manchester Mystics (both coaches and Maaja Bratka)
First day of the Betty Codona Classic in Sheffield saw four games – three quite clear wins (by numbers) and one closer battle.
Game that ran the closest was Barking Abbey vs Northumbria – the ‘women in black’ almost dug themselves out of a 20 point hole, with a chance to make it a two point game in the final minutes. But with the miss, and Barking’s Bratlova hitting a BIG three at the other end from the following attach.. it was a seven point game – instead of two. Giryanova sunk four out of four from the charity stripe as Barking held on to the win and progressed into the Cup semi-final vs Nottingham Wildcats.
Other three games saw clear winners, with Leicester Riders, Sheffield Hatters and Nottingham Wildcats taking the road to semi-finals of BCC 2015.
– Top scorer of the day : Carmen Reynolds/Nottingham Wildcats with 30 points
– Top rebounder of the day : Kayla Mobley/Northumbria with 13 rebounds.
– Pass of the day : Gabby Nikitinaite/Sevenoaks Suns with behind the back from a fast break (no basket, but free-throws were made.. so just for the sheer visual pleasure.. this takes the top spot!)
Back from Xmas break (five days) – and it was a slow ‘turkey digesting’ game at Worcester Arena on Sunday.
Return to BBL action after the exciting Riders vs Wolves game on Tuesday – it was Wolves vs Force at the Arena.
Force post game comments
No chance of installing/testing the remote cameras today – due to holiday period basketball camps being run at the Arena before the tip-off. Now we just hope that the Wolves vs Eagles game will be played on the 9th of January to give a final test run before BBL Cup Final at the Barclaycard Arena.
PJ post game Force
The game was a low scoring event – with neither team hitting the high gears, but in the end Wolves hit the BIG threes at the end – thanks to Remi Dibo, Alex Owumi and Jamall Williams (whose brother Kai had an extended Xmas break from Sweden and help commentating the game on BBC H&W).
Memorable moments from the game were Kalil Irving slam-dunk on the first ten – which got the game and crowd warmed-up for few minutes. And on the last ten Chavis Holmes doing his best to emulate Jurgen Klinsmann 😉
But – for this game, I let the coaches comments and pictures do the talking. I better clean the house for tomorrow….
Perfect sending off to four days of Winter Holidays from Riders vs Wolves
Once again Loughborough Uni offered an exciting end to the BBL-TV game – as Leicester Riders and Worcester Wolves played the last game in the league before couple of days of rest for the players and fans.
Wolves had Robert Thurman in the opening warm-up, but with him not taking any running steps, or jumps – it looked unlikely that the player would feature in the evenings game. But the Wolves had a new signing Paul Guede to add depth to the roster
Still – the Riders looked strong and before the game, it felt like a home win coming. Some sharp shooting from the visitors did give them a small cushion early in the game, something that they held onto for a long time.
Wolves might have been in the lead, but it was Riders new boy TrayVonn Wright who gave the crowd something to shout about – nice little slam and then even more spectacular Alley-Oop from the pass of Neil Watson… if those didn’t get your bum of the seats, not quite sure what would?
As the game progressed, Wolves short bench started to get into foul trouble – which in the end resulted Remi Dibo being called for his fifth foul.
Just when it seemed Riders were taking the game, with little less than four minutes on the clock – after big threes from Bernardini and Washington.. the game had one more swing to offer.
PJ – Riders vs Wolves
Wolves tightened their defence and allowed only 2 POINTS!! in the last 3 minutes and 48 seconds – partly helped by missed free throws.
Visitors themselves kept their hand steady from the bonus stripe and that proved to be enough to win the game.
Rashad Hassan missed two from the line as Riders held a one point lead – after which the Wolves played smart and went past.. and held on to get the points.
At the end of the game – you could once again see the passion for the game from Riders coach Paternostro as he rushed after the referees. Some great pictures of this – but, it is Xmas and I am a kind hearted fellow.. so those images can stay in the archives for later use.
After spending three weeks abroad – it was nice to return to familiar territory with BBL action in Worcester.
No remotes this time – more about covering from the usual point of view, as well as grabbing some post game interviews with the coaches and players.
Vince – post Wolves game
It was really enjoyable to see that some physical game was allowed at both ends of the court – even if it took coaches a while to adjust to this line of refereeing.
Rob Brown on Lions win
Tough news for home team before the game with Rob Thurman having to watch the game from the sidelines with an ankle ‘injury’. The player himself felt positive about possibly playing on Tuesday vs Riders away.
PJ on Wolves vs Lions
With little inside presence the Wolves needed to shoot from the outside to keep the game alive. Lions took the first strides in the game and quickly took a double digit lead (Drew Sullivan with some BIG threes). But it was the home team that landed the last three of the half reducing the gap just the little .. which meant that despite being behind, the Wolves could go to the locker room happy.
Big run from the home team on the third quarter and it was GAME ON – and the crowd were really getting behind the home team now. Wolves kept the initiative as Lions struggled to get points on the board and it looked like the Wolves might be pulling the result which before the start of the game would have been bit of a surprise.
And when the Wolves snapped the lead with some sharp shooting from Jamal and Dizzy.. Lions were forced to call for time. This seemed to help as Lions went on a run to take a ‘two basket’ lead midway through the last ten.
As so often with close games, it came down to some free throws.. Lions had their chances to put the game beyond Wolves from the line – but missed at crucial times.. highly contested ball at Wolves offence went the way of Lions .. and this time their shooting was enough, and it was the away team that left the Arena with the points.
Lions coach commented after the game “BBL is a tough league, and even if tonight isn’t Zaire’s night (tonight Zaire Taylor), or Drew’s night… we have lots of weapons in this team to win the games for us”
Top points scorer Rod Brown “We knew that with Thurman missing the ball was going to spend a lot of time in the hands of Holmes and Owumi – and we had to take care of that and keep them to less than their average scoring”
Wolves coach PJ “With us missing the great inside presence of Thurman, we did have to change our approach to the game a little. But I think we played well and gave ourselves the chance to win the game in the end, but today the shots just didn’t fall for us”
One of the Assistant Coaches of Finnish National Basketball team, Lassi Tuovi, has spent the autumn going around games in France and Germany and looking at the game from the stands. In which he calls a break from coaching for the autumn and also a learning experience.
It was an informed choice to do this says Tuovi, and adds – you can learn basketball (tactics) in many ways and seeing the game from a different point of view is refreshing. Also being invited to see EuroLeague games, etc has been a good way to learn new things with different teams. For a coach, to be able to observe how other coaches work is one of the best ways to learn new things – so I will definitely take something out of this autumn..
He also adds that as himself and Jukka Toijala (another assistant coach) are spending time traveling and seeing games – there might be some new ‘tricks’ to take back to the National Team with them, once the International seasons returns next summer.
Returning to the Wolfpacks experience in Spain2014 – he admits that as the team didn’t reach their goal, a slight disappointment is one of the feelings – especially when reaching the goal was ‘one basket away’. But after couple of extremely successful EuroBasket’s – maybe the World Cup 2014 in Spain might have left the team with little extra ‘hunger’ for the international competitions in 2015.
Little bit of Women’s Basketball to help Saturday afternoon go by !
Leicester Riders Interviews
As it had been a while since a game in the UK, for me – I headed down to Cardiff for the Trophy game between Archers and Riders. Enjoyable game at the ‘green room’ – with Archers missing Stef Collins for the first half of the game (due to traveling difficulties – from overseas as I understood it).
Archers still kept the game nice and close – and if it hadn’t been for the on the ‘death’ three pointer.. it would have been even closer.
For me – the game was mostly about giving the Canon 200mm f1.8 lens another outing. The lens just gives beautiful images – even if my copy probably will be retired in the next year or two.
Second half saw Riders pulling away quickly with Maaja Bratka working the point from under the basket on her way to a big double-double. Bratka and Evans combined for 44 points of the Riders 81 points.
It was also big thanks to Elliot-King who hit some crucial three pointers at the right time for Riders. For Archers – Collins entered the game for a while in the second half, but Riders kept pulling away.
In the end a comfortable win for Riders, who take another step closer to the Trophy Final – after the game, quick comments from Riders side with Kastine Evans and Coach Harber giving their views of the game.
Now, that’s of course the way to start a post that will tell how magnificent it is to be a sports photographer and how traveling is the best thing since sliced bread and no-one else should attempt to do sports photography…. 😉
During the weekend I was lucky enough to get the chance to cover to basketball games in Germany. A Women’s DBBL game in Wasserburg with Tiina Sten and then Sunday a BEKO BBL game in Ludwigsburg with Shawn Huff, both who are Finnish International players for the senior national teams.
Two very different games, with Sten’s Wasserburg running clear winners over Rhein-Mein and in Ludwigsburg a late heart-break for Huff’s MHP Reisen as they lost to Phoenix Hagen, who made a strong come back in the second half of the game.
Photography-wise also very different approach to both games, with different things to look for in the action – and for myself the focus was mainly on the two Finnish players to get good pictures of them in action.
But as a photograph (who happens to enjoy covering basketball) I couldn’t help but take pictures of the whole game while there.
Also – for some reason while in Wasserburg, even I got interviewed, now I am used to doing the interviews from the otherside.. but someone interviewing me. That doesn’t happen too often – hope I made some sense with my answers.
Positive things to notice was that around 1000 fans had come to the Women’s game – a sport that doesn’t always get the limelight and amount of fans it deserves. Drums and all.. In Ludwigsburg – once again almost full house and great presentation of the event.. I have been to two games in Ludwigsburg and can’t wait to get to the third!
Travel-wise, some time spent on the Germans autobahn – bit of free-time photography in Wasserburg (beautiful little town) – delayed flight due to fog in Munich, so got to spend an extra night on the road as I missed my connecting flight to Birmingham.
Did also get to use skills from my old job of being a Chef, as I got to use the kitchen to cook a dinner for three Finns in Germany… makes a change to trying to find the nearest McD’s of KFC 😉
Big thank to Tiina Sten for everything over the first two days, and also to Shawn for coming to have a chat after the game! Looking forward to catching up with both either during this season or during the ‘Susi-summer 2015’
Few photos of the two games attached – to colour things up a little. The interviews will be put online LATE tonight!!
Small re-cap of the past weeks EuroTravel to Belgium for first EuroChallenge game of 2014-2015 season.
For the last three season I’ve been lucky enough to cover Kataja Basket in EuroChallenge, and it has taken me to exciting places in Latvia, Cyprus, Turkey, Romania.. to name few. Since the ‘regionalisation’ of the competition the visits have been closer to home.. but games have been good (mostly).
So the first trip of this season took me to Mons in Belgium – where Kataja faced the Mons-Hainault team. Traveling to the game with the flu, wasn’t the greatest experience while driving Folkestone to overnight and then continue to Mons.
Game itself is something Kataja might quickly forget – only five players scoring and home team were comfortable winners in the end. But at least one Kataja fan took advantage of the local hospitality (see picture!!) – where as the team certainly know they can perform better.
Wiring images abroad can at times be challenging – despite all the help from the club, giving me THREE different passwords to THREE different networks.. none worked for me during the game. My mobile didn’t want to connect to internet and my Mi-Fi didn’t want to either. So it was lots of frustration as you battle against print dead-line on a timezone an hour ahead of 8.30pm tip-off.
From my own point of view – Mons seemed nice enough city and enjoyed the art installation that they were building there, also took in the sights of the funfair and ate fries&sauce while watching the locals enjoy late night out.
Second part of the ‘road-trip’ took me to Women’s Volleyball Champions League game… but more of that in my photo blog (so as to keep these pages just for basketball).
Next weekend – off to cover some BBL and DBBL in Germany!!