TEAM Solent Kestrels got their BBL Trophy campaign off to a flying start as they handed Derby Trailblazers a 101-73 defeat in the east Midlands, to set up a quarter-final tie with Surrey Scorchers.

Derby started the quicker of the two sides and jumped out to a four-point lead with American forward Malcolm Smith connecting on a pair of difficult jump shots.

Kestrels responded in quick fashion with an 11-2 run, kick-started by five Brendan Okoronkwo points to put his side up by five.

The sides would then trade baskets through the mid-point of the quarter, as Malcolm Smith continued to score inside for the hosts whilst Ian Smith and Travis Charles responded for TSK.

The visitors then set about building their first meaningful lead of the game with an 11-3 run to close the first period, now up 26-15.

Orlan Jackman and Johnathan Lashley pushed the lead to 15 to start the second quarter but Derby had other ideas as they trimmed the deficit to nine through Smith and young stand-out Blake Bowman.

Charles continued to be dominant for Kestrels in and around the key with an array of finishes against Derby’s zone and he restored a 14-point advantage, when he put back his own miss with four minutes left in the half.

Kestrels bench would close out the half in style and Elias Poorman gave TSK their biggest lead of the half at 16 when he finished in transition, Kestrels were in front 51-37 at the break.

The second half started as a back-and-forth affair with both sides finding scoring rhythm early on, however that suited Kestrels better than it did the Trailblazers as the lead stayed out at 16.

Elliot Dadds knocked down a triple to push the lead into the 20s and when Orlan Jackman capped off the scoring run, prompting a Derby timeout, TSK were firmly in control at 73-49.

Kestrels would then hold the hosts to just five points over the final four minutes of the quarter, with Andre Arissol and Johnathan Lashley continuing to pile on the pressure with a number of scores in transition, Kestrels led 84-55 with 10 minutes to play.

Derby strung together a quick 6-0 run to start the fourth, showing they still had some life about them, which forced a coach Jack O’Keeffe timeout for TSK.

That seemed to steady the ship as Arissol and Charles scored five straight. Chris Scarlett stroked a trademark three to push the deficit to 31 and the lead stayed there or there abouts for the remainder of the quarter, Kestrels ran out 101-73 winners.

Interim head coach O’Keeffe said: “The guys put in a really focused and professional performance, Derby are a physical and well-coached team and we were able to lock into some key match-ups, limiting their impact on the game.

“We had contributions from across the board with 31 assists which is testament to the way the guys share the ball and find great looks for each other.

“We look forward to the next round against BBL opposition but for now we turn our attentions to a tough NBL Division One double header next weekend.”

TSK were led by Charles’s huge double double, as he poured in 30 points on 75 per cent from the field and 10 rebounds, whilst Jackman added 14 points and Ian Smith flirted with a triple double with 10 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

Derby’s Malcolm Smith had 21 points to lead his side’s scoring charge with Bowman and Oliver Stanley adding 12 and 10 respectively.