Cheshire Phoenix 82 – 78 Sheffield Sharks(18-27, 29-12, 11-22, 24-17)
(Phoenix – Neighbour 16, Evans 15, Teague 14; Sharks – Nelson 22, Delpeche 16, Ramsey 11)
London Lions 99 – 67 Caledonia Gladiators (22-12, 26-18, 28-16, 23-21)
(Lions – Hruban 21, Sharma 19, Dekker 17; Gladiators – Tape 18, Fraser 10, Sloan 10)
Bristol Flyers 81 – 86 Manchester Giants (21-18, 23-21, 15-29, 22-18)
(Flyers – Delpeche 21, Bell Iii 18, King 14; Giants – Fletcher 21, Green 20, Lewis 15)
In the BBL Trophy semi-final, the defending champions the Cheshire Phoenix, pulled away late in the game as they ousted the Sheffield Sharks 82-78.
In what was an incredibly hard-fought game between both sides, the Phoenix turned up in the remaining minutes.
With a couple of big plays from both sides, Cheshire sealed the game with a Jamell Anderson dunk.
Cheshire were led by 16 points from Will Neighbour and 15 points from Marcus Evans.
Tahjai Teague added 14 points, 12 coming in the final period.
The Sharks were led by 22 points from Saeed Nelson and 16 points from Marcus Delpeche.
It was Sheffield who started the game strong – building a nine-point lead in the first quarter.
Devearl Ramsey opened the scoring with a jump-shot. Bennett Koch was a formidable presence inside scoring a pair of baskets.
Neighbour’s three pointer levelled things out for a moment.But Rodney Glasgow Jr and Jordan Ratinho extended the lead to seven points.
A pair of jumpers connected for Kipper Nichols, putting Sheffield ahead by nine going into the second period.
This quarter belonged firmly to the Phoenix, who completely turned the tables on their rival.
Evans got things cooking from beyond the arc, with Neighbour adding seven points.
Anderson splashed home a three giving Cheshire an eight point lead.
Scores from Neighbour and Teague pushed the lead to 12 points.
Sheffield had seen enough. Delpeche threw down an alley-oop to reinvigorate his team.
Nelson and Delpeche continued the scoring, with Delpeche tying the game with another alley-oop finish.
After a round of substitutions, Ramsey and Maceo Jack traded three-pointers.
Nelson, who scored nine points in the quarter, kept the Sharks ahead by three points.
In the fourth things really got competitive as neither team was able to pull away by more than two possessions.
It was the Phoenix who nudged ahead slightly – being led by Teague, who had 12 of his team’s 24 fourth quarter points.
In the defining possession, Teague came up with the crucial offensive rebound and found Evans for the go-ahead three.
This was followed up by Larry Austin finding Anderson with a precision, no-look pass for a powerful two hand flush – stamping an impressive victory for the Phoenix.
Cheshire will go back to the BBL Trophy finals looking to defend their crown against the Caledonia Gladiators in Glasgow on Sunday March 26.
The London Lions were on top form this afternoon – winning by a 32 point margin against the visiting Caledonia Gladiators.
The Gladiators were fresh off their semi-final win over the Derby Trailblazers on Wednesday and looked good early on in the game.
However the Lions, in front of a raucous crowd of 3,500 at the Copper Box, pulled away and put on a stellar show for the home fans.
Vojtech Hruban was the high man with 21 points off the bench.
Josh Sharma put in an incredible performance for the Lions, who are without Kosta Koufos right now.
Sharma had 19 points on 8/10 shooting in the paint, as well as three blocks, providing a formidable presence at both ends.
The Lions had 29 assists in the game to Gladiators 15, as well as 49 points off the bench.
The Gladiators were led by Patrick Tape who had 18 points.
Tape opened the scoring with a dunk off David Sloan’s assist. Before Sloan split the double team and found Fraser Malcolm for three.
However, the Lions were moving the ball really well, finding open shooters. Sharma’s constant pressure inside created space for others.
Sharma, with seven points in the quarter, swarmed down the lane and threw down a massive one-handed flush, before following it up with another score on the break.
The Lions used beautiful ball and player movement to find Sam Dekker for a step-in triple.
Princeton Onwas responded with a three-pointer for Caledonia.
Aaron Best knocked down the jumper extending the London lead to seven points.
Lions ended the quarter strong with Hruban scoring to extend the lead to 12 points.
The Gladiators kept their composure and responded in the second period.
Fahro Alihodzic turned to the reverse and scored an and-one. Ali Fraser, scored on an up-and-under through Jonathan Komagum.
The Lions were moving the basketball extremely well – Tomislav Zubcic finishing a tough contested play through contact and the foul.
Yet the Gladiators got production from Fraser who added four points on back-to-back buckets.
In the final few minutes, London pulled away – using high intensity defence to get breakaway scores for Dekker and Best.
Building a 17-point lead, they were able to hold their opponents to below 30% from the paint.
In the third quarter, Sharma, the steady presence all night, scored again inside with a soft touch.
Dekker was running the offense as a point forward finding open shooters and proving himself as a muti-faceted weapon on the offensive end.
Jordan Taylor’s score off the backdoor cut pushed the Lions lead to 26 points.
Hruban picked up the steal and scored on the final possession with Komagun and Josh Ward-Hibbert opening the scoring in the fourth.
Caledonia stayed fighting – with scores from Sloan and Fraser.
However, the Lions were too locked in – finding their big man Sharma inside for an alley-oop and another dunk.
The teams traded baskets to close out the final minutes – with London Lions taking a huge 32-point lead.
With this win, the Lions sit comfortably atop the BBL table; with Caledonia in fifth place.
In the second game of the evening, the Bristol Flyers took on the Manchester Giants in a really close game.
Bristol were ahead by 10 points in the first half, but a huge momentum swing in the third quarter pushed the Giants into the driving seat.
Led by 21 points from Rahmon Fletcher, with Tajh Green adding another 20.
Bristol opened up with a quick eight-point lead.
Thomas Bell iii and Brandon Mahan knocked down triples and Malcolm Delpeche scored on a nice move inside.
Fletcher added the first bucket for Manchester. Dirk Williams’ three from the line helped the Giants restabilise.
Further scores from Williams and Anthony Roberson pulled the Giants back with a 7-2 run – before Fletcher tied things up with a triple.
In the second period, Delpeche and Tevin Olison combined for 14 points and the Flyers built a five-point lead.
Vincent King edged Bristol ahead with a three-pointer, before Green responded right back.
The two teams battled to recapture the lead. Manchester were led by scores from Roberson and Green.
The Flyers pulled away again through Bell Iii and Mike Miller’s floating runner.
The Giants answered with Nick Lewis connecting on a deep three-pointer to even things up for a moment.
In the third quarter, the Giants found themselves trailing by 10 points after Delpeche finished an and-one.
However, Manchester were completely unfazed. Lewis knocked down a three-pointer to spark a 12-0 run.
With shots falling from all over the court, Fletcher hit a floater in the lane to hand the Giants the lead with four minutes left in the period.
This was only the beginning – as Fletcher added eight consecutive points of his own – giving his team a seven-point lead.
Roberson pushed the Flyers lead to nine heading into the fourth.
The Giants continued their onslaught, extending their lead to 16 points early in the quarter.
Four points from Green and an and-one by Williams added to the away team’s scoring run.
Bristol turned to Mahan who added a pair of triples. Next up Delpeche and Miller connected from inside the arc, leading their team back within four points.
Despite coming back to within two points, the Giants were able to win the final battle at the free-throw line and took the victory 86-81.
The Bristol Flyers missed out on key points in their quest to maintain second place in the league table. The Giants remain in fourth.