Mansfield Giants’ men were found still searching for their first EBL Division Three win of the new season after a 76-68 loss against local rivals Derby Trailblazers II on Sunday.
Head coach Dan Richards said: “This was a tough loss and I know it’s hurt the players. We have had so much going on with the team over the last four weeks it’s obviously taken a hit on our chemistry.
“I feel we are making great progress now though despite the loss, and showed glimpses of what were capable of. We have the talent and the players and coaching staff are working hard to piece it all together.”
The Giants had a better start, despite the absence of American forward DJ Spain, who has returned home.
It was the Trailblazers who took a three-point lead at the end of the first period with excellent outside shooting and 100 per cent free throw shooting that kept the Giants from pulling away.
Throughout most of the second period, both teams traded baskets, but some strong inside play by big Barry Plummer saw the Giants go into the half-time break level at 38-38.
Giants then came out of the blocks very strongly to go on an 8-2 run, rallied by star guard Calvin Morant-Hudson, but again Derby’s sharpshooters kept the game close.
Parish Xavier extended the Giants lead by seven points with a pair of free throws.
However, It wasn’t to stop the Trailblazers who stepped up their defensive intensity and blocked the Giants’ attack to score 23 to take the game by eight points.
Giants’ top scorers were: C. Morant-Hudson 27, B. Plummer 11, P. Xavier 10.
Next up the Giants take on Hull Wasps at home, who are also looking for their first win of the season, on Saturday (6.30pm).