The Wrap: Riders win battle of the streaks

Leicester Riders became the first team to reach the BBL Trophy Semi-Finals whilst extending their unbeaten run to 12 games with a double-winning weekend.

The defending champions finished strong to see off Plymouth Raiders in an 83-90 road victory on Friday night with Pierre Hampton netting a game-high 21 points against his former side.

Leicester returned home for league action the next day and came out on top in a tough battle with Worcester Wolves as their 91-82 triumph ended their opponents’ run of nine straight wins.

“It was a great game – exciting twists and turns all over the place,” commented Riders head coach, Rob Paternostro.

“Our defence really turned up the heat in the fourth and we were able to come up with big plays.

“We have a group of guys that just refuse to lose down the stretch and I’m extremely proud.”

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle made it back-to-back road wins as they defeated Bristol Flyers 80-87 on Saturday behind Jaysean Paige’s 25 points.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Rocks remain in third spot after a convincing 110-82 victory against Manchester Giants with Ali Fraser and Nate Britt combining for 59 points to counter a 31-point haul from Austin Rettig.

Vince Macaulay’s latest spell as London Lions’ head coach began with a win as his side overcame the challenge of DBL Sharks Sheffield for an 81-73 success.

Brandon Peel had 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Jack Isenbarger finished with 15 points and 12 boards as both players excelled in starting roles.

Bristol bounced back from Saturday’s loss against Newcastle with an 83-91 win on the road against Leeds as Rohndell Goodwin led a second half fightback with 24 points for the visitors.

“We were missing that last ingredient against Newcastle and I wanted to see that final piece in Leeds,” said Andreas Kapoulas.

“How we responded could be a defining moment for our season and we wanted to get back to a winning record.”

It was a second loss on the weekend for Force as they were also beaten 92-65 at Surrey Scorchers with Jordan Williams putting on a show in his 19-point effort.

Plymouth also suffered two defeats on the weekend as their Trophy exit was followed by a 70-83 loss at home to Cheshire Phoenix. The game was tied at 56 heading into the final period, but Phoenix took over for their seventh win as Malcolm Riley and Raheem May-Thompson shared 24 points apiece.