All-Star 5 – Week 31

The quarter-finals of the BBL Play-offs took place in a series of double-headers over the weekend, with the latest All-Star 5 led by Cheshire’s star guard Amorie Archibald alongside a pair of Leicester Riders.

Amorie Archibald – Cheshire Phoenix
Cheshire avenged BBL Trophy Final defeat to win both legs against Caledonia Gladiators, in large part thanks to an offensive explosion from Amorie Archibald in the home leg on Friday night, leading to the rookie’s first ever All-Star 5 appearance. He poured in 35 points in 35 minutes, shooting 5-7 (71%) from the three-point line and 6-7 (85%) from the charity stripe in a tie that saw 95 free-throws shot over 80 minutes. Archibald added four assists and four rebounds, with back-to-back triples in the third quarter that gave Nix a double-digit lead followed by an ‘and-one’ play and another three in consecutive possessions among 11 fourth quarter points.

Zach Jackson – Leicester Riders
Zach Jackson moves into joint-second for overall appearances as he makes his seventh of the season following Leicester’s BBL Play-off quarter-final second leg victory over B. Braun Sheffield Sharks at Morningside Arena live on Sky Sports on Sunday. He led all scorers with 25 points – over one third of his team’s total – on 11-12 (91%) interior scoring, while grabbing nine rebounds with two steals, including six points and four boards as Riders took a double-digit first quarter lead that meant they were in control of the aggregate tie throughout.

Darien Nelson-Henry – Leicester Riders
After announcing his impending retirement from professional basketball on Sky Sports last week, Leicester’s captain Darien Nelson-Henry put in a leader’s performance to see the defending Play-off champions safely through to the semi-finals, gaining weekly honours for the first time this season. He didn’t miss on his way to a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 7-7 from the field and 4-4 from the free-throw line, including eight points in the opening four minutes to set the tone as Riders were never threatened.

Tevin Olison – Bristol Flyers
The second offensive explosion in the first leg games came from Tevin Olison as Bristol Flyers scored a huge road win at Manchester Giants, resulting in his second All-Star 5 showing of the campaign. He racked up 29 points in only 26 minutes, shooting 7-10 (70%) from beyond the arc, with four rebounds and two assists, including a massive 16 points in a 28-10 third quarter that saw Flyers overturn a double-digit early deficit, while he also hit a sensational buzzer-beating triple with the last play of the first leg as every point counted at that stage.

Josh Sharma – London Lions
The regular season champions, London Lions, were dominant in the away leg of their Play-off quarter-final at Newcastle Eagles on Friday night, led by Josh Sharma off the bench for his fourth All-Star 5 appearance of the season. In 18 minutes, he scored 18 points with just one miss as he shot 8-9 (88%) from the field and made both of his free-throws, along with six rebounds and two blocks, including six points within four minutes of checking in during the first period, sparking a 14-2 burst that took the gap from one shot to double-figures, where it stayed.

Off the bench: Aljami Durham (Caledonia Gladiators), Ben Mockford (Newcastle Eagles), Anthony Roberson (Manchester Giants), Jeremiah Bailey (Caledonia Gladiators), Justin Gordon (Newcastle Eagles), Maceo Jack (Cheshire Phoenix), Thomas Bell (Bristol Flyers).

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