All-Star 5 – Week 25

The BBL Trophy Final MVP leads the latest All-Star 5 alongside one of his teammates after Cheshire Phoenix won the competition for the first time in nearly two decades, in a team that is dominated by the North-West as Manchester Giants also boast a pair of representatives.

Larry Austin Jr. – Cheshire Phoenix
Cheshire Phoenix won the BBL Trophy for the fifth time in club history at the Emirates Arena live on Sky Sports on Sunday, with Larry Austin Jr. winning the MVP award and adding to that his fourth All-Star 5 appearance of the season. The American guard posted a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds, along with three assists, scoring all of his points on the inside and making 7-7 at three free-throw line. He made a big ‘and-one’ play that gave Cheshire momentum in the first quarter, and then the opening two baskets of the 13-0 burst that won the game at the start of the fourth, with Phoenix scoring nine points, six for Austin Jr. himself, directly from his five offensive boards.

Tyrik Armstrong – Manchester Giants
Making his seventh All-Star 5 appearance of the campaign, which is second overall and now just one behind Geno Crandall, is Manchester’s point guard Tyrik Armstrong, who features for the second week in a row as they made it four straight wins and beat Newcastle, Leicester and London in the space of six days. In a record win over London Lions on Thursday, Armstrong shot 8-11 (72%) from the field and added seven rebounds and five assists, including nine points and four boards in a second quarter that they won 29-10 to take control of the game, going up double-figures on his ‘and-one’ play on a step-back jumper.

Darien Nelson-Henry – Leicester Riders
Leicester bounced back from defeat at Manchester to beat Surrey Scorchers in continuance of their title charge, now 17-2 atop the BBL Championship, as captain Darien Nelson-Henry turned in a flawless shooting performance to make his second All-Star 5 appearance, but first for 11 weeks. He shot 8-8 from the floor and 5-5 at the free-throw line for 21 points, adding five rebounds, two steals and an assist, including seven points in a second quarter that Riders won 24-13, and six points to settle the team in the fourth after their lead was temporarily reduced to single-figures.

Francois Lewis – Manchester Giants
Making his first appearance of the season is Manchester’s 6’9″ Orlando-native forward Francois Lewis, after his impactful game at the National Basketball Performance Centre in victory over London Lions. He finished with a season-high 20 points, knocking down 4-8 (50%) from the three-point line, with seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks, including four points, three rebounds and three assists in the decisive second stanza, before putting an exclamation point on the victory with four three-point makes in the space of four minutes in the fourth quarter.

Namon Wright – Cheshire Phoenix
Like his teammate, Namon Wright makes his fourth appearance of the season, but first for nine weeks, following the BBL Trophy Final victory, with the pair joint-fifth among all players in overall appearances. Wright was another player who showed great aggression in the game on his way to 18 points, shooting 4-4 on the inside and drawing seven fouls, going 7-9 (77%) at the free-throw line, with five rebounds and three steals. He also made key contributions in the decisive 13-0 burst to open the fourth, with seven straight points including a tough ‘and-one’ that summed up the team’s performance on the day.

Off the bench: Patrick Whelan (Leicester Riders), Dirk Williams (London Lions), Geno Crandall (Leicester Riders), Kylor Kelley (London Lions), Martaveous McKnight (Manchester Giants), Desmond Ringer (Surrey Scorchers), Lamar Hamrick (Surrey Scorchers).

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