Riders’ 100 points top Phoenix, Lions take down Scorchers, Flyers come from behind to beat Sharks, Giants turn tables on Eagles, Gladiators secure win over Patriots

BBL Championship

Leicester Riders 100 vs 82 Cheshire Phoenix

(28-21, 29-23, 20-21, 23-17)

Riders – Whelan 20, Jackson 15, Loving 13; Lions – Austin 19, Neighbour 16, Anderson 14

Surrey Scorchers 67 vs 88 London Lions

(18-21, 19-22, 10-25, 20-20)

Scorchers – Taylor 18, Lawrence 16, Ray 9; Lions – Best 18, Nelson iii 17, Soluade 11

Newcastle Eagles 92 vs 97 Manchester Giants

(27-15, 21-35, 16-27, 28-20)

Eagles  – Hamlet 23, Johnson 22, French/Gordon 19; Giants – Williams 28, Lee 27, Roberson 11; 

Caledonia Gladiators 96 vs 80 Plymouth City Patriots

(24-18, 17-16, 25-18, 30-28)

Gladiators – Sloan 29, Tape 20, Onwas 18; Patriots – Bell 14, Daniels 14, Hassan 12

B.Braun Sheffield Sharks 73 vs 91 Bristol Flyers

(23-21, 22-19, 15-25, 13-25)

Sharks – Ratinho 16 , Nelson 14 Delpeche 12; Flyers – King 21, Bell iii/Miller 16, Olison 14

Bristol Flyers outscored B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 51-28 in the second half leading to a 91-73 win at Ponds Forge on Friday night.

VJ King put on a show in front of the Sky Sports cameras with a team-high 21 points on 8/10 shooting for the Flyers, supported by 19 for Thomas Bell.

Jordan Ratinho paced the Sharks with 16 points. The game started close, with both teams jostling for the lead. However, scores from Marcus Delpeche and five quick points from Ratinho saw the Sharks break away. 

Tevin Olison’s three-pointer and back-to-back buckets from King gave the Flyers the boost they needed at the right time, cutting the lead down to three points.

Four quick points from Rodney Glasgow Jr in the second quarter gave Sheffield some breathing space. The Flyers kept responding – this time, it was six points from Mike Miller that proved effective.

Ratinho’s three-pointer sparked a 12-2 run for the Sharks to close the half. Glasgow Jr also splashes a three-pointer with a few minutes remaining. 

A late three from Brandon Mahan was a crucial play – trimming the lead to only five points going into the break.

After halftime, the Flyers turned around their poor start – grabbing hold of the lead following a three-pointer by King – followed by another by Mahan.

Suddenly the Flyers couldn’t miss – King punched home a dunk and hit a three-pointer to extend the lead to six. 

The Sharks could finally respond, with Nelson and Ratinho knocking down timely shots. But another late three by the Flyers – this time by Jelani Watson Gayle – kept them firmly in the driver’s seat.

Just like they had started, King and Bell closed out the victory, scoring a couple of late buckets each.

The fourth quarter opened with Watson-Gayle and Ollison scoring five unanswered points. Kipper Nichols responded with a jumper from the wing. 

In the end, the Flyers were able to cruise along with steady scoring from Miller, who added six points to his 13-point tally.

Leicester Riders were impressive in their 100-82 win over the Cheshire Phoenix at the Morningside Arena.

Despite losing guard Derryck Thornton, the Riders welcomed in Devonte Bandoo, led by Patrick Whelan’s 20 points and balanced scoring from the bench; the Riders kept in touch with the league-leading London Lions.

Kimbal Mackenzie got the start and put in yet another stellar performance of 12 points and six assists.

The opening period saw both teams coming out the gate hot. Will Neighbour scored from a high pick and roll before Mackenzie responded with the layup. 

Cheshire were able to build a seven-point early lead – however, the Riders turned the table. A Marc Loving three spurring on a 7-0 run of their own. 

Baddoo was able to get his first bucket for the Riders. Aaron Menzies also had a significant impact, scoring on the dunk and then a hook shot inside. 

Another spark off the bench for Leicester was Adekoya, who knocked down his second three-pointer.

In the third quarter, six points from Austin trimmed the lead to seven. Conner Washington orchestrated the offence – calmly knocking down a pair of three-pointers. 

Scores from Neighbour and Anderson kept Cheshire in the game, but Whelan led the scoring in the third quarter. 

The GB guard connected on back-to-back three-pointers as he does so regularly in a Riders uniform this season.

In a spectacular defensive play, Marc Loving rose high for the block. Running the floor, he found Whelan in the corner for the three-pointer.

A bright spark for the Riders was big minutes for Aaron Menzies. The GB international will need to be fine for a matchup with the London Lions twin towers of Kosta Koufos and Josh Sharma next Sunday.

Riders built on their steady work in the fourth quarter – Jubril Adekoya scoring a couple of tough buckets en route to 10 points and completing 100 points for the Leicester side as they now prepare for the London Lions in the BBL Trophy final on Sunday.

The Manchester Giants were able to pull off a huge away victory over the Newcastle Eagles. The Giants, who trailed by 12 points at the end of first quarter, were able to comeback and take a convincing victory 97-92.

The Eagles stormed out the gates with a 14-4 run, snapped by Dirk Williams’ three-pointer. A three from Gordon and scores from Hasahn French and Javion Hamlet gave Newcastle a 12 point lead. However Dirk Williams answered yet again, single handedly keeping his team alive, with two more from beyond the arc.

In the second quarter, Manchester were able to overturn the deficit. Rahmon Fletcher found William Lee for a three-pointer, followed by Lee setting up Roberson to take a one point lead. The teams traded scores with neither team able to establish a firm lead. Yet four points from Lee kept the Giants in the driving seat going into the half.

Lee continued his all-around play, grabbing boards, blocking shots and scoring inside. A pair of threes from Williams and Lee finally put some distance between the two sides – before Justin Gordon responded right back with his own.

Dirk Williams again proved to be too much for the Eagles defence, as he added four more points to his total. Scores from Callum Jones and Williams gave the Giants their largest lead of the game – 16 points.

The Eagles battled back in the fourth – outscoring their opponents by eight points. However the damage had been done in the third. The Giants used excellent movement and a balanced scoring effort – finding Tajh Green for a dunk inside and a three pointer for Nick Lewis.

10 points from Kyle Johnson and consecutive three-pointers for Javion Hamlet propelled the Eagles back into the game in the closing minutes. With 23 seconds remaining, a pair of Williams free throws sealed the victory.

The London Lions took down the Surrey Scorchers 88 – 67 to keep their title hopes in sight. Playing without Sam Dekker and Kosta Koufus, the Lions were led by Aaron Best and Luke Nelson with 18 and 17 respectively. 

The Scorchers, who picked up their second win of the season on boxing day, were faced with the tough task of stopping a Lions team flowing with talent. Surrey were led by Quincy Taylor and Luke Nelson with 18 and 16.

Tomislav Zubcic ignited the offence for the Lions, scoring five quick points – before Morayo Soluade extended their lead to eight points. Lawrence and Ryan Martin kept the Scorchers embers alight, connecting from the charity stripe.

Josh Sharma knocked down a rare three pointer – the 7-footer usually preferring to do his work around the basket. A couple of scores by Taylor were enough to leave a little room for Surrey as they headed to the benches to close the period.

Zubcic opened the scoring again with a nifty move from the block. But Lawrence was proving difficult to stop – scoring a three and a layup in quick succession. Three-pointers from Best and Nelson weren’t enough to keep the Scorchers from remaining well and truly in the game with Taylor the beneficiary.

An 11-0 Lions run saw the Scorchers unable to score for the first 3 and a half minutes before Martin was fouled on his way to the basket. A pair of three pointers by Soluade, some stellar play from Bradley Kaboza and a dunk by Jonathan Komagum pushed the lead up to 24 points.

This was the pivotal quarter for the London side, who are always seemingly able to put together significant scoring runs when necessary.

Five points by Taylor and a couple of buckets by Johnson saw the Scorchers regain some of their first quarter form. Padiet Wang, who had been relatively quiet, also emerged with a step back jumper.

However the Lions kept coming behind the scoring efforts of Best. A Komagum three extended the lead to 22 points and gave London the victory.

In the final game of the evening the Caledonia Gladiators faced off against the Plymouth City Patriots at the Emirates Arena. Behind David Sloan’s 29 points and Patrick Tape’s 20 point, 10 rebounds effort the Gladiators locked in to take care of the victory in this tight and competitive game.

Plymouth’s best efforts came in the form of Jawuan Daniels and Markedric Bell, each with 14 points.

Gladiators opened with a 7-0 and Sloan’s layup gave the home team an early 10 point lead. Patrick Tape provided some instance offence, scoring in the post at will. Jules Dang-Akodo scored on a layup to close the gap, but with Sloan scoring at a high clip, it was difficult for Plymouth to keep themselves close.

T. Gadsden connected on his first three-pointer and Isa Brandon brought Plymouth within a single point. Caledonia were able to utilise their inside tandem of Jordan Bailey and Tape. Also, scoring on the block was Princeton Onwas who had 18 points and 6 rebounds on the night. The Gladiators built a seven point cushion going into halftime – 41 – 34.

Caledonia turned on the heat in the third period with a 15-4 led by Onwas and Sloan. Six points by Rashad Hassan were enough to keep the Patriots afloat; with James Hawthorne Jr finishing a dunk and J Dang-Okodo hitting a triple too.

A second three-pointer by Dang-Akodo ignited the fourth quarter for the Patriots; however, Tape was consistently dominant in the paint, pushing the lead to 13 with the dunk.

Hawthorne Jr and Bell ignited some resistance, but Sloan and Tape answered right back with scores of their own. Tape added his third dunk of the evening off the Onwas assist.

Onwas had seven points in the final period, including a huge dunk, as he led his team onto the victory. Captain Fraser Malcolm gets the final bucket, with a dunk of his own.

For more BBL news, highlights and updates head over to the BBL site.

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