London Lions 95 vs 60 Bristol Flyers
(23-5, 20-22, 27-15, 25-18)
Lions – Dekker 25, Hruban 17, Best 14; Flyers – King 18, Bell III 11, Delpeche 10
It was a much anticipated clash between the league’s top two teams this season – the London Lions and Bristol Flyers. The Lions came into the game looking to avenge their loss to the Flyers earlier in the season.
In dominating fashion the Lions opened the game with a 17-0 run. Getting the ball inside early to their bigs – Zubcic and Koufos first before turning to Aaron Best with a beautiful lefthanded finish.
Koufos was especially effective at establishing a presence inside – finishing the game with 11 rebounds. Notable slashing plays from Aaron Best and Sam Dekker’s deep two-pointer caused coach Andreas Kapoulas to call timeout.
Bristol finally got on the board with a pull-up jumper from Brandon Mahan. But the Lions immediately responded with a jump shot from Vojtech Hruban and Zubcic connected on a corner three-pointer.
In the second half, the Flyers come out stronger, Josh Ward Hibbert comes off the bench and scores a nice left handed finger roll.
Mike Miller drained a three in the corner and Delpeche and King got in on the action. This quarter, however, belonged to Sam Dekker, who was unstoppable slashing to the basket. Dekker didn’t miss a shot and scored 10 of his 25 points in the second quarter.
In the third period, the Flyers chopped away at the lead. Getting it to 10 with V King the major instigator.
The Lions turned to their stretch forward Zubcic who chalked up five quick points for the Lions. Delpeche hammered home a gigantic left hand dunk. However, the Lions kept mounting pressure with excellent ball movement, skip passes and pick-and-roll play.
Sam Dekker proved the value of his NBA experience – going coast to coast and coming up with the and-one. Josh Sharma also came alive and scored six points in the paint, but it was Dekker who capped off the quarter – hitting the three with the seconds on the clock winding down.
In the fourth, the Flyers got some solid production from Bell III, but the 34 margin was insurmountable. The Lions now move on to face off against the Leicester Riders on the 27th which is expected to be another exciting clash of top tier teams. The Flyers head to Surrey to battle the Scorchers on the 23rd December.
Another highlight was the appearance of newly appointed BBL CEO Aaron Radin on Sky Sports. Radin shared his thoughts with Sky Sports on what lies ahead for the exciting future of the BBL.
Caledonia Gladiators 117 vs 96 Cheshire Phoenix
(40-17, 20-25, 25-29, 32-25)
Gladiators – Bailey 36, Sloan 23, Burns 19; Phoenix – Austin 27, Teague 25, Jack 18
Four hundred miles north from London, the Caledonia Gladiators dismantled the Cheshire Phoenix with a similarly impressive opening quarter.
The Gladiators scored 40 points in the first quarter en route to a 117 -96. Caledonia’s opening quarter is their best since 2010.
Tape was impressive early with a couple of dunks – as the Gladiators built an 11 – 4 lead. Further scores from David Sloan and a three-pointer from Jeremiah Bailey.
23-9 in the first quarter. Jeremiah Bailey nails a three-pointer at the buzzer. Bailey was dominant inside and out tonight; scoring 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out six assists.
In the second half, Tahjai Teague came out shooting, hitting a three-pointer and a tough fadeaway that even got a smile from rival Bailey. The Phoenix were unable to stop Caledonia at the other end though. Bailey went to work in the paint and Tape came up with a block and a dunk.
Third quarter action saw David Sloan score four points, before a huge baseline dunk from Jeremiah Bailey put the game beyond reach for the Phoenix.
Teague finished with 25 points on 80% shooting for the visitors. The Gladiators were consistent and proved why they are a dangerous team in this year’s BBL competition – Patrick Onwas was especially dominant in the second half, tallying 18 points in total.
The Phoenix face off against the Manchester Giants next on the 30th December. The Caledonia Gladiators take on the Sheffield Sharks on the 23rd December.
Newcastle Eagles 87 vs Leicester Riders 91
(17-30, 25-26, 26-20, 19-15)
Eagles – Hamlet 25, Johnson 19, Cohen 13; Riders – Whelan 24, Jackson 22, Thornton 13
The Leicester Riders picked up another victory on the road this evening against the Newcastle Eagles. Despite leading by 12 points at halftime, the Eagles almost pulled off a comeback – leading by a point in the final two minutes.
Everett opened the scoring for the Eagles, but the Riders were the ones to capitalise as a team early. All five of their starters scored in the first 5 minutes. Derryck Thornton ran a smooth operation whilst scoring four points of his own.
A 9-4 run was capped off by a Marc Loving turnaround fadeaway. A couple of three-pointers by French and Hamlet kept the Eagles close.
Darius Defoe scores a couple of moves inside as the Eagles cut the lead to single digits.
Zach Jackson went on a scoring run for the visiting side – he scored 12 of his 22 points in the period – including a powerful fast break dunk and a three-pointer.
Patrick Whelan extended the lead to 15 with a three-pointer. The GB marksman finished with 24 points on 63% from the field and 60% from deep.
In the third period, three pointers were raining for both sides. Evan Walshe hit his first from deep – before Corey Johnson and Jermel Kennedy scored back-to-back threes for the Eagles. The Riders held firm to an eight point lead, despite Johnson scoring late.
In the fourth, Javion Hamlet willed his team back into contention. Scoring 8 of his 25 points, Hamlet used speed and quickness to find himself either at the basket or the free-throw line.
With the Eagles ramping up their defensive pressure and igniting the home crowd, a Johnson layup gave his side a one point lead. However, Newcastle couldn’t find the final piece in this comeback and Whelan scored two free-throws to give the current BBL champs the win.
Sheffield Sharks vs Manchester Giants
(21-27, 23-18, 20-19, 19-28)
Sharks – Nichols 21, Ogunyemi 19, Koch 13; Giants – Green 24, Lewis 22, Williams 20
In the final game of the evening, the Manchester Giants travelled to Ponds Forge, beating the Sheffield Sharks 92-83.
The Giants opened with an 8-0 run courtesy of Rahmon Fletcher’s uptempo play and Anthony Roberson’s athleticism. Channel Banks Jr was first on the board for the Sharks.
Four points from Tajh Green saw Manchester get 12 points clear. But some heroic play from Kipper Nichols brought Sheffield back from the edge.
Nichols continued his hot streak, with Bennett Koch scoring on the block on consecutive possessions. Green connected on a pair of jump shots – but the Sharks battled back into the game. From being down eight, they went into the half trailing by a single point.
The third quarter was tightly contested. Green opened the half with a three-pointer before Rodney Glasgow Jr responded from two. A score from Legend Robertin pushed the Giants into a 7 point lead. But a three-pointer from Jordan Ratinho and a jumper from Marcus Delpeche quickly reduced the margin.
The teams were even at 64-64 going into the final quarter.
The Giants looked like the favourites and pushed ahead a few times throughout the game. With a flurry of three pointers – two from Nick Lewis and one from Dirk Williams – Manchester were able to keep Sheffield at bay.
Some resistance came from Banks Jr and Nichols, before a Ratinho three brought the Sharks back within five. With the clock counting down, a pair of free-throws from Roberson and a Lewis dunk delivered the final punch.
Tajh Green led the Giants with 24 points and 10 rebounds, the Sharks were led by Kipper Nichols with 21 points.
For more BBL news, highlights and updates head over to the BBL site.