In a great weekend of BBL action, Bristol Flyers won twice to move back into the playoff pack, while fellow new boys Leeds Force enjoyed a huge result with victory at high-flying Cheshire Phoenix.
It was a pair of comeback wins which made the Flyers’ weekend and in both cases Bree Perine was the main man.
Perine had 34 points on Saturday as the Flyers recovered from a 51-41 half-time deficit at home to beat Plymouth Raiders, 88-84.
On Sunday afternoon he was at it again. Flyers trailed 43-32 at Durham Wildcats but Perine led the fightback with 24 points as Bristol rallied to a 78-73 win, and move up to seventh in the table.
“It was very pleasing to get two big wins, which now makes it three consecutive wins in the league,” said delighted Flyers’ coach Andreas Kapoulas.
“Coming into this weekend, we knew it was very important for us to win to have hopes of a playoff spot, so we knew it was crunch time and it was an all-round team effort.”
Kapoulas added: “We brought Perine in for a reason; we always knew he was a good player but he had an adjustment period and I think he’s finding his rhythm now.”
Leeds Force kept up their playoff hopes with one of the results of the season after they beat Cheshire Phoenix on the road, 78-76, but they had to withstand a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback from the home side.
Leeds stunned the home crowd as they built a 71-52 lead with seven minutes remaining, but Cheshire stormed back to within one point, 75-74, with a minute remaining. Behind James McCann, who led Leeds with 25 points, the Force were able to hold on for the win.
Cheshire were at least able to take one win from the weekend, overcoming an 37-point haul from ex-Phoenix star Dominique Coleman to win 109-81 at Surrey United.
After last season’s disappointment in missing out on the playoffs the Glasgow Rocks are determined not to suffer a similar fate this time around and they took full advantage of two home games at the weekend.
Reggie Middleton led all scorers with 18 points as the Rocks beat Sheffield Sharks 72-64 and then Tayo Ogedengbe was the main man on Sunday for Glasgow with 18 points as they stunned Worcester Wolves, 89-60, the Wolves’ biggest defeat of the season.
That defeat means Leicester Riders now have sole possession of second place in the championship.
Rob Paternostro’s side won twice at the weekend; following up a 76-50 success at Leeds Force on Friday with a narrow 85-81 win over Durham on Saturday.
London Lions lost a chance to earn a big scalp on Friday evening, after they lost a lead in the final minute away to Newcastle Eagles.
Thanks in part to a 30-point, 15-rebound haul from Makal Stibbins, the Lions led 87-84 with a minute to play, but were stunned by an 11-0 run from the Eagles, who went on to claim a 94-87 victory.
The Eagles are now 29-1 in their last 30 games, the best record over a 30-game span since Kingston went 30-0 in the 1990-91 season.
The Lions though bounced back on Sunday to record a comfortable 104-65 win over Surrey United.