Bury St. Edmunds Basketball Club, sponsored by Kuda Automotive and Moreton Hall Community Centre, hosted Nottingham Trent University Hoods in Division 3 of the National Basketball League's East Conference, falling to a 99-107 loss.
Hoods had the best of the opening exchanges, as Miller connected twice from distance to punctuate a 5-15 run, before Adam Ball, Billy Smith and Denby Ablard pulled it back to 11-15. Another basket from Ball and a steal and and-one from Sonjay Williams gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. The sides continued to trade baskets before another pair of Miller threes gave Hoods a 24-29 lead after one.
The second quarter continued in much the same vein, with the sides taking it in turns to make runs, with Ed Spurling and Williams connecting from range and cutting into the Hoods lead, which stood at four points at the half.
The third quarter saw arguably the best performance the Bulldogs have strung together this season, as Ball and the Spurling brothers fuelled a fast-paced 11-4 run, forcing a Hoods timeout. The Bulldogs continued to push the tempo with Smith extending the lead to eleven points, but Miller again pulled his team back into the game, fuelling a 13-4 run for the Hoods, with Bulldogs clinging to a narrow lead going into the final quarter.
The fourth started tightly, with the sides exchanging baskets until back-to-back scores for Ball and Williams pushed the Bulldogs lead out to six points. A timeout with four minutes remaining saw the Bulldogs maintaining a two-score lead, but from there, Miller took control of the game for Hoods, scoring fifteen straight for the visitors, and while Williams added another pair of threes late on, the lead was insurmountable, and the Hoods came away with the win.
Sonjay Williams (30), Adam Ball (24) and Denby Ablard (13) led the Bulldogs in scoring.
"Firstly, all credit to Coach Westley and the Hoods" said Coach Arron MacDonald. "They made some adjustments in the fourth and took us away from our game plan offensively and made us play the game at their pace, and then Miller was just lights-out... that was probably one of the best shooting performances I've ever seen - and we contested every one of them. I feel like we could have hit that guy with a truck today, and he still wouldn't have missed a thing. Incredible."
"With that being said, I'm disappointed not to come away with a win. We've been great from the line all year, and today when you see that we missed twelve free-throws in an eight-point game - not to forget a good few missed lay-ups early in the game - it's frustrating. We executed the game plan very well through the game, but ultimately, we tensed-up and played their game in crunch time, and we lost this game in the same way most junior games are lost - at the line and around the basket - and that hurts. At the same time, we can't be too down, we've grown so much this season, and while we're still not as connected as we should be as a team, we're a good few steps closer to the team we're going to be."
"Now we have to re-group, and get ready for an Essex Rebels side who have been transformed in the second half of this season, and we need to work hard in these two games to try and end our season on a high note."
Up next for Bulldogs is a trip to Essex Rebels II on Saturday 29th February, before they welcome the Rebels to Skyliner for the final game of the season on Sunday 15th March.