County Upper claim derby honours over Bury Bulldogs in reverse fixture
County Upper Wolves overcame Bury Bulldogs 69-59 at home on Saturday in the reverse fixture in Division Three of the NBL, making it two wins against their cross-town opposition this season.
The home side came out firing first, as a strong defence combined with balanced scoring left Bulldogs trailing 21-14 after the first quarter.
Aiden Saunders carried the momentum forward for the Wolfpack with a huge dunk over two defenders to ignite the home crowd’s energy as County Upper limited the Bulldogs to just 24 points in the first half while scoring 41 themselves.
But the Bulldogs fought back in the second half, holding County Upper to a 15-14 third quarter before winning the fourth quarter 21-13; with the first-half deficit proving too large to close.
But the final quarter was marred by both sides losing key players to injury, as first County Upper’s big Jed Robinson left with an ankle injury after a slip on the floor, and then Ashley MacDonald checked out, later to find out that a broken hand meant this was likely his last action for the season.
Coach Elliot DeFreitas said: “I’m very happy with how our team played, we played the best defence of the season in my opinion.
“This was a complete team effort and I’m proud of the guys the way they competed throughout the whole game and executed the game plan.
“Our young guys stepped up, and it is amazing to see their growth from the start of the season to now. Credit to (Bulldogs) for continuing to fight until the very end.
“Both match-ups have been competitive, this is an exciting time for Bury St Edmunds basketball and a sign of big things to come.”
Meanwhile Bulldogs head coach Arron MacDonald said: “Missing a couple of starters, we knew it would be a challenge.
“Whilst we’re naturally disappointed to have dropped the game, there’s a lot to feel positive about. We were the better side in the second half, and it feels a lot more that we ran out of time than lost.”
“It’s disappointing to lose Ashley to an injury, particularly after losing Billy for a couple of games to a stray elbow last time we faced County Upper. Ashley has been a key player for us this season, and while I know he’s disappointed, I know he’ll be setting a great example of being a team-mate and a leader from the bench alongside his team-mates.”
“Everyone at Bury St. Edmunds Basketball Club would like to wish Jed Robinson all the best with his recovery from the injury he sustained during the fixture.”
Leading Scorers (County Upper): Aiden Saunder 20, Cameron Poulton and Brandon Moncrieffe 12, Phil Ennis-Bugg 11; (Bury Bulldogs): Denby Ablard 14, Billy Smith 12, Brandon Marshall 8
* The Bulldogs are back in action on Saturday, at home to Essex Rebels II (3pm) while County Upper have a weekend off.