Mansfield Giants men’s team opened up their 2014-2015 season with a 98-52 win against Derby Trailblazers III in the Men’s National Shield to book themselves a place in the next round of the competition.
It was the first game under the club’s new regime, with a new look team, and saw Giants start the season off with a bang.
However, it was the Trailblazers who started off well with a 10-4 run.
But a quick time-out rectified the issues and Giants never looked back, as they scored 15 unanswered points, six Giants players all contributing to take a 29-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Trailblazers heavily relied on taking many outside shots, with Mansfield running the floor from many missed shots and out-rebounding their opponents as point guard Calvin Morant-Hudson and American import David Spain combined to score 16 points between them in the quarter alone to put Giants 47-26 ahead at the halfway point.
A dominant defensive third quarter from Giants held their opponents to just six points in the quarter, as Morant-Hudson continued to pressure Trailblazers’ guards, converting steals into fast break points as Spain nailed a dunk inside.
Tom Brown and Barry Plummer dominated offensive and defensive rebounds, with shooting guard Gary Collins scoring a three as Giants outscored their opponents 28-6 in the quarter to take a 75-32 lead.
The final quarter saw Giants rotate their bench well, with all players gaining many minutes on the court.
Trailblazers continued to rely on their outside shots, scoring four three pointers.
Youngster Nathan Halstead opened up his senior men’s account on his Mansfield debut, scoring two back-to-back three pointers with Morant-Hudson adding one for himself.
Big men Joe MacDonald and Brown also scored for Giants inside, their guards stepping up to add further baskets, as Giants cruised to victory.
Giants scorers: D. Spain 31, C. Morants-Hudson 30, T. Brown 8, G. Collins 7, N. Halstead 6, D. Richards 4, L. Fitchett, B. Plummer 3, C. McIntyre 2, J. MacDonald 2, D. Finn 1, C. Tew.
The men’s next game is this Saturday away against Nottingham Hoods in their first EBL league game at 6.30pm at Nottingham Wildcats Arena, with Giants’ women opening up their season this Saturday against Leicester Riders in the Women’s Trophy at Oak Tree Leisure Centre, 12.30pm tip-off) with entry free.
Giants’ U13s were also in action at the weekend and lost a narrowly contested game 62-67 away to Northampton Titans. Their next game is this Saturday away to league newcomers Loughborough Riders.
Two of Giants’ juniors Harry Heathcote and Harry Brewin took regional honours at the weekend, as they played for the U15 Boys East Midlands team in Leeds, where the team won five games and lost two, placing them fifth out of the 10 regions.
Two of their fellow junior female players, Chloe Gaynor and Ashante Richards, have both been called up to their respective England squads, after showcasing their talent at their regional development tournaments.
Gaynor booked herself a place in the U18 women’s squad, as Richards booked a place in the U15 girls development team, despite just being 12 years old.