The MK Breakers’ winning ways carried on into the first round of the NBL 3 Play-offs as they beat the 16-seed Kent Crusaders 97-61.
Report: Ethan Jaiswal - The Breakers performed to their usual elite standards, in what was the return of playoff basketball to the city of Milton Keynes after an over decade-long hiatus.
The win for the Mens’ team takes them into the 2nd round of the NBL 3 Post-season, where they stand to face off against Cardiff City on April 8, tickets available here.
The Breakers would begin their first 10 mins of post-season action in box-office fashion: running out to a 14-0 lead to begin the game, ultimately forcing the Crusaders’ head coach to call a timeout after only 1 minute 10 seconds of play. Early baskets from Blayne Freckleton (15 points), Jordan Spencer, and Luke Gregory (10 points) helped put the Breakers in the driver’s seat for the entirety of the game: they would contribute to an offensive outpouring of 32 points in the quarter and held their opponents to single-digits. 32-8.
The second quarter of play was much closer than the previous, with the visiting Crusaders determined to put forward a strong account of themselves against the high-flying Breakers. Six players would contribute for the away side as they more than doubled their scoring total in this period. Despite the slip in defensive intensity from the Breakers, their offence continued to click: Dante Langley (19 points) in particular had a mesmerising sequence of 10 points in a row for the Breakers, showcasing his ability to score at will, something Breakers fans have become accustomed to over the course of this season. 55-29.
Joran Spencer led the team in scoring with 30 points and 7 assists. Image Credit: Josh Nesden
The third quarter maintained a similar level of intensity, matching that of the playoff environment, with the Crusaders outscoring the Breakers over the 10-minute period by 2 points. Baskets from New Jr., Spencer, and Freckleton would prove to be crucial in keeping the Breakers’ lead intact, as the quarter progressed. Jordan Spencer displayed his elite pedigree as a playmaker over the course of this fixture, ending the game on 30 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 6 steals: an indicator of his high talent level and IQ as a starting Point Guard. The Breakers will surely desire more performances like this from their captain, in order to accomplish their goals of post-season silverware. 73-50.
The final period saw the Breakers reassert their dominance over the game and close the evening out in a professional manner, making use of their full bench and resting their starters down the stretch. The Breakers’ stepped up their effort levels on the defensive end and held their opponents to only 11 points while posting 24 of their own, shared among 7 different players. With the game clock winding down, academy prospect Dior Ikbar would put the exclamation mark on the game, cutting sharply to the basket and slamming home the two-handed dunk, elating the home crowd as the final buzzer sounded. 97-61
The Breakers now set their sights on next weekend’s opponents in the 2nd round of the playoffs: Cardiff City, the 8th-seeded team in the bracket. The home side will welcome a team who have not yet visited Bletchley Leisure Centre this season and will spend the upcoming week preparing for the clash against a formidable opponent.
It is shaping up to be another exciting affair as this historic Breakers team looks to see if they can add a second trophy to their cabinet and make it 2/2 for the year.
Tickets for the game can be purchased here.
In attendance at the game were several of the Breakers’ Junior National League teams who were commended for their respective league-winning performances.