Report: Ethan Jaiswal
The MK Breakers handled business this past weekend with two wins that could prove to be instrumental in clinching the NBL Division 3 East title as soon as 26th February, should they win against the Canterbury Crusaders in their next game (Tickets available here). A resilient Breakers outfit bested both the Essex Rebels (86-61) and Kent Crusaders (67-84) in what has become the standard for this successful side.
Vs. Essex Rebels
Another sold-out crowd at Bletchley Leisure Centre was treated to a 10th straight home win when the Breakers defeated the visiting Essex Rebels, 86-61. Led by 23 and 19 points from Dante Langley and Mike New Jr. respectively, the Breakers controlled the game throughout despite early flashes from their young, gritty opponents.
The first 10 minutes of the game were the closest and most competitive. Langley opened the scoring for the Breakers after being found in transition by Blayne Freckleton (8 points, 8 assists). After earning another defensive stop, the ever-efficient New Jr. would make a picturesque euro-step lay-up through traffic to begin his impact on the game. New Jr. would shoot an impressive 8/11 from the floor, whilst grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists, good enough for a +34 +/- ( Plus/minus is a team’s point differential when a player is on the floor compared with when they’re not).
Despite the Breakers’ hot start, the Rebels entered the game with an aggression fit for a team looking to take the fight to the league leaders and spoil their undefeated record: baskets from Josh Otor, D Wol and Reagan Taylor brought the visitors straight back into contention. An electric, stat-stuffing second quarter by Langley would hand the Breakers a comfortable margin ahead of the Rebels, including a stretch in which #9 scored 12 points in a row. Luke Gregory posted yet another double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, a much-needed presence in the paint on both ends of the floor that would help the Breakers outrebound their opponents 65-48.
Entering the 3rd quarter, the Breakers led by 19, but this lead did not lull the hosts into complacency: as they proceeded to keep the Rebels to their lowest scoring total of any period on the night, allowing only 10 points. Triples from William Issekya (12 points), who has become a reliable starting option for Coach Billy Beddow, would continue to hinder the Rebels’ chance of any kind of comeback. Dante Langley would dazzle the audience with a number of dunks along the way that added the exclamation mark to the ticking Breakers offence. With a 31-point margin entering the 4th, Coach Beddow would make full use of his bench unit ahead of another game in less than 24 hours. A comfortable win that marked the Breakers’ 13th of the season.
@ Kent Crusaders
The Breakers would immediately get back onto the court following the home win versus Essex with an away trip to Kent, where they would take on the Crusaders who sit in 3rd place in the NBL Division 3 East standings. These two opponents had played each other as recently as the 28th of January, and with both sides already acquainted, this would be a crucial fixture for the Breakers if they wanted to put the fate league title in their own hands.
Despite playing the previous evening, the Breakers came out of the gates strong, scoring 24 points in the first 10 minutes of action. Baskets from Jordan Spencer (20 points) and Blayne Freckleton (15 points) would open the scoring for the travelling Breakers. The Crusaders improved their showing in the second quarter with an uptick in scoring, but could not disrupt the offence of the Breakers as they would score an identical 24 which meant their lead would extend to 15.
After an off-shooting night for Freckleton the day prior, he found his rhythm once again in this fixture: draining 5 triples that would make up the entirety of his total. Mike New Jr. and Dante Langley were, as always, instrumental in the Breakers’ offence: scoring 14 each. The remainder of the game would be much of the same, with the Breakers keeping their opposition at bay for the final minutes of the game and coming away with another comfortable win. 67-84.
This win means the Breakers could claim the league title in their next league fixture on 26th February, a home game against the Canterbury Crusaders. To be in this position with four games remaining in the regular season demonstrates the consistent high-level performances of the Breakers organisation in their maiden season. The Breakers are established as one of the NBL’s premier sides, regardless of division and with the league title now firmly in sight, they will be looking to add their first piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet.
Tickets for the 26th February game vs Canterbury can be found here, and make sure you stay tuned to our social media channels for highlights, news and all things Breakers.