Riders and Sharks dominate in Championship action; Rocks and Flyers secure spots in the BBL Trophy Semi-Finals

BBL Championship
London Lions 67-80 Leicester Riders (26-22, 48-46, 63-66, 67-80)
(Lions: D.Williams – 16, L.Cugini – 15, J.Washburn – 12; Riders: P.Whelan – 17, M.Walker – 16, G.Crandall – 12)

BBL Championship
B.Braun Sheffield Sharks 102-81 Newcastle Eagles (19-19, 45-36, 68-57, 102-81)
(Sharks: M.Delpeche – 23, D.Wallace – 20, A.Johnson – 18; Eagles: R.Fletcher – 21, W.Person Jr – 21, D.Defoe – 17)

BBL Trophy Quarter-Final
Derby Trailblazers 70-90 Bristol Flyers (23-21, 41-41, 58-60, 70-90)
(Trailblazers: R.Bruggerman – 26, M.Smith – 13, B.Bowman – 11; Flyers: M.Evans – 28, T.Jacob – 21, Z.Simmons – 10)

BBL Trophy Quarter-Final
Thames Valley Cavaliers 91-97 Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks (16-21, 30-41, 53-63, 82-82, 91-97)
(Cavaliers: H.Sylla – 30, J.Bonner – 27, B.Freckleton – 16; Rocks: A.Fraser – 21, J.Hillsman – 19, J.Harris – 14)

Leicester Riders and Sheffield Sharks both secured comfortable victories in the BBL Championship this evening, while Glasgow Rocks and Bristol Flyers earned their sports in the BBL Trophy Semi-Finals.

The Riders were in cruise control from the second-half onwards in front of the Sky Sports cameras for the second time in a week following their BBL Cup win last Sunday, this time extending their unbeaten record in the Championship at London Lions.

Despite trailing at the break, the away team were in cruise control in the final quarter as they forced the Lions into taking difficult shots under pressure with Chris Tawiah scoring the hosts’ first points of the 4th with just a minute and a half to go of the game – by at which point Leicester were already coasting to victory.

Mo Walker played a significant part off the bench and was one player London particularly found difficult to deal with, as he dropped 16 points off the bench, as well as grabbing 12 rebounds including six on the offensive end, while Patrick Whelan lead scoring in the entire game with 17.

If Lorenzo Cugini could have carried over his momentum from three-point range into the second-half, the game could have been a different story however as the Lions forward scored five triples before half-time but couldn’t add to his tally in the second half.

Meanwhile in Sheffield, it was a milestone night for Sharks’ Head Coach Atiba Lyons who secured his 250th BBL Championship win, as his team were in a ruthless scoring mood against a depleted Newcastle Eagles side that struggled to keep up.

Devante Williams was in inspirational form as he was three rebounds and three assists away from a triple-double having played just 25 minutes, scoring 20 points in the process – just three short of Marcus Delpeche’s game-high of 23.

The Eagles had just three players on the bench to utilise and so could be happy with their performance on the offensive end, with both Rahmon Fletcher and Wesley Person Jr dropping 21 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Sharks raced into the lead and earned another two points.

Meanwhile in the Trophy Quarter-Finals, NBL outfit Derby Trailblazers were outclassed in the fourth quarter by the Flyers, who were lead by their starting guard paring of Marcus Evans and Trejon Jacob, who scored a combined 49 points.

The BBL team forced eight more turnovers out of the home side then they gave up, as well as having 16 more points contributed by their bench than Derby’s.

It was a brave performance by the Trailblazers however, who were lead by Ryan Bruggerman with his 26 points – going eight from 12 from the field.

There was a bigger scare for the Rocks though in their fixture against NBL opposition Thames Valley Cavaliers, who made a dramatic late comeback to force overtime – only for the Scottish side to show their quality and nerves of steel to earn a place in the next round.

Ali Fraser and Jaycee Hillsman came up clutch for the Rocks off the bench, scoring a combined 40 points, while Vance Johnson also contributed double figures (10) despite not starting, however the most impressive performance from the visitors arguably came from Jordan Harris, who contributed 14 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers were also extremely impressive, with Hakeem Sylla leading the game in scoring with 30 as well as nine rebounds, matched by Jakobi Bonner who also grabbed nine as well as adding 27 points.

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