Cheshire Phoenix starting five: Laquincy Rideau, Maceo Jack, EJ Stephens, Ethan Chargois, Skyler White
Leicester Riders starting five: Miryne Thomas, Xavier Pinson, Caleb Asberry, Jaren Holmes, Braelen Bridges
Ethan Chargois’ aggressive play early set the tone for the Cheshire Phoenix, as he got to the free throw line to convert an and-on after being fouled on a successful layup.
A three-point shot, then a dunk a few possessions later gave the home team a ten-point lead over the visiting Leicester Riders before the teams were called in to reassess in a timeout.
The ever-energetic Kimbal Mackenzie always understands the situation, and turned on the jets to sprint downcourt for a layup to cut the his teams deficit to eight.
Inspired by his efforts, Riders TJ Lall and Caleb Asberry got out in transition to close the quarter down just four, 29-25.
Mo Walker finally put Leicester in front when he fought off two Phoenix rebounders to put the ball back up for a score.
Cheshire’s Skyler White doesn’t need much space or time to fire off an accurate three, which he did in the corner to tie everything up at 35 apiece.
On an after-timeout play by Leicester coach Rob Paternostro, Asberry squeezed through the lane to shovel a rapid pass to Braelen Bridges, who finished through traffic.
With two minute to go, Cheshire coach Ben Thomas showed he’s no slouch on the drawing board.
His play in-bounded the ball to Cam Christon, who rolled off a screen to the perimeter that panicked two Riders into defending the three, only for him to slip the ball inside to a rolling Chargois, who faded away in the lane for a jumpshot that closed the gap to one.
The Phoenix rose from the ashes to start the second half beneath the wings of Laquincy Rideau.
His jumpers, steals, assists and hard work allover the court helped the likes of Maceo Jack and Chargois put points on the board and go ahead.
The Riders responded by substituting all five guys for a bench mob of well-oiled veterans.
Walker was effective: the big man grabbed rebounds, switched out to the perimeter defensively, drew fouls and found Samuel Idowu on the fast break.
Aaryn Rai showed why the Cheshire forward was named September’s Player of the Month by taking over the game in the final 11 minutes.
His tenacity to stay with each possession until the buzzer sounded saw him drive hard through the lane, make a tough layup and get fouled with 0.6 seconds left in the third.
Rai opened the fourth in the same vein: he was fouled on a straight line drive dunk attempt but hit both. He then recovered from helping in the lane to block Lall’s three attempt and on the other end, Rai muscled up a layup and the foul.
Chargois was in the middle of the home team’s defensive intensity. He made a steal at mid-court, then received the ball in the post to assist Jack for an open three.
Drama took over in the last few minutes.
Down 11, Asberry, Mackenzie and Idowu led a furious comeback to cut Leicester’s deficit to three.
They fouled Rai with 16 seconds to go, but he calmly knocked down both free throws to put enough distance to win the game.
Player of the Game
After getting Cheshire Phoenix started by scoring early, Ethan Chargois’ clutch defence and team play saw him finish with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in 27 minutes. He also registered 2 steals and a block while playing with a sense of calm to see his team move up to second in the Championship table.
|Cheshire Phoenix||Ethan Chargois||23||8||6|
|Cheshire Phoenix||Aaryn Rai||19||5||1|
|Leicester Riders||Caleb Asberry||23||3||2|
|Leicester Riders||Samuel Idowu||18||7||0|
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