Glasgow flip first leg deficit to book Semis spot, along with Leicester & London

BBL Play-offs, Quarter Final (2nd Leg)
Leicester Riders 88-87 Plymouth City Patriots (23-26, 42-45, 63-63)
(Riders – Jackson 18, Whelan 17, Washington 14; Patriots – Williams 25, Graham-Bell 24, Simons 15)
Leicester Riders win 174-158 on aggregate

BBL Play-offs, Quarter Final (2nd Leg)
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 72-96 Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks (24-29, 42-54, 65-70)
(Sharks – Wallace 19, Nichols 15, Ratinho 13; Rocks – Harris 21, Hillsman 19, Johnson 18)
Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks win 172-155 on aggregate

BBL Play-offs, Quarter Final (2nd Leg)
Cheshire Phoenix 97-95 London Lions (32-22, 67-38, 80-65)
(Phoenix – Wright 31, Austin 23, Bradley 14; Lions – Reese 24, Cugini 14, Washburn 13)
London Lions win 180-166 on aggregate

Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks managed to flip their first leg deficit to B. Braun Sheffield Sharks and book themselves into the Semi-Finals of the BBL Play-offs, joining BBL champions Leicester Riders and London Lions, on an action-packed BBL Sunday.

Coming into the game, in front of Sky Sports cameras, Glasgow found themselves trailing Sheffield by seven points on aggregate, following the Yorkshire side’s away victory on Friday night and immediately from tip-off, the determination of the visiting Scots could be seen on the floor as they ran out ahead of Sheffield 11-3 within the first three minutes of the opening period.

With a five point lead in the game by the end of the first quarter, Glasgow managed to extend that lead to as much as 11 points within the opening 90 seconds of the second period, further stretching to a 16 point lead later in the same period before the home side managed to chop that lead down to 12 as both teams entered half-time, and Glasgow ahead on aggregate by five points.

After re-grouping at the half, the Sharks mounted a comeback, cutting Glasgow’s lead down to just five points in the third period to put themselves back in the lead on aggregate but only by two points.

Jaycee Hillsman, who picked up a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds, connected with a three pointer in the opening seconds of the fourth and final period to again give Glasgow the lead on aggregate, and a further pair of free throws from him a minute later extended that lead, and as Sheffield began to struggle on the offence, Glasgow continued to capitalise with Fraser Malcolm knocking down another huge three-pointer to give themselves a 13 point lead in the game.

Off the back of star performances from Jordan Harris, 21 points and seven rebounds, and another double-double from Jordan Johnson, 18 points and 10 assists, the Rocks began to out-run the Sharks, stretching their game lead to as much as 23 points, and as the clock entered the final minute of play, Sheffield’s hopes of a Semi-Final berth were all but lost, as player-coach Gareth Murray knocked down a double pair of free-throws in the final seconds to take his team through to the Play-off Semi-Finals.

Meanwhile, Leicester Riders punched their Semi-Final ticket also, managing to hold off a fearless Plymouth City Patriots side.

Things looked very promising for Plymouth, opening the game with a 14-2 run against the BBL champions before Riders managed to switch things back around and pull that lead back to single digits by the end of the first quarter.

It wasn’t long into the second period when Leicester finally took the lead over the visitors, giving themselves seven point lead, however a 9-0 run from the Patriots in the final 90 seconds of the second period saw them again take the lead in the game by three, cutting the aggregate down to 12 by half-time.

An even more determined Patriots, keen to make the Play-off Semi-Finals in their debut season, exploded onto the court as the third period opened, extending that lead to 11 points, and leaving Riders basket-less for the first three minutes of the period, putting Patriots just four points behind Riders on aggregate.

As Riders continued to struggle offensively, Patriots pounced at the opportunity, knocking up another 8-0 unanswered run to put themselves ahead by 16 and finally ahead on aggregate but only by a single digit.

However, it was game hero Zach Jackson – who lead his team to victory with 18 points – who suddenly began to rain on Plymouth’s parade, throwing up his own personal 10-0 run to cut that lead back down to single digits and put Riders back ahead on aggregate, and he would further add a pair of free throws at the end of the period to put the two teams level on game points and Riders back in front on aggregate with their original 15-point aggregate lead.

It was that run that would prove vital for the Riders, along with an additional set of triple free-throws in the opening 30 seconds of the fourth and final period, which saw them increase their aggregate lead enough to hold off any further Plymouth runs and put Riders into the Semi-Finals and end the Patriots’ season.

And in the final game of the day, London Lions produced a remarkable comeback to give themselves a win on aggregate over Cheshire Phoenix, despite the Nix picking up the game win by two points.

With Cheshire shooting 70% from behind the arc, knocking down 12 triples by half-time, and leading scorers Larry Austin Jr and Namon Wright combining for 35 points, the Nix found themselves ahead by a whopping 29 points, giving them an impressive 13 point lead on aggregate against the mighty Lions.

The raucous Nix crowd were on their feet as the teams returned for the final half, and things were looking very promising for the home side.

However the Phoenix side suddenly began to struggle, only putting up four points on the board within the first five minutes of the third period, and falling into foul trouble, turning over the ball, and failing to connect on baskets. And there was no way London weren’t prepared to counter, consistently chopping down Cheshire’s lead to as low as 14 points, to not only put them right back into the game but also put themselves back in the lead on aggregate.

Cheshire managed to crank their lead back up to as much as 17 in the final period, but thanks to 10-0 run from the Lions late in the period, Cheshire’s hopes of a Semi-Final were quickly swiped away from them, and as the minutes turned into seconds, the Lions put up one final 8-0 run to further destroy Cheshire’s hopes, and put London through on aggregate.

The Play-offs Semi-Final line-up will see London Lions take on Bristol Flyers and Leicester Riders face Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks, with dates and tips TBC.

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