Plymouth Raiders’ hopes of reaching the BBL Play-Offs received a boost at the weekend after they won twice to move within six points of eighth place.
The Raiders began and ended a spell of three games in four days with victories over Durham Wildcats, either side of a 106-86 defeat at Leicester Riders.
Pierre Hampton had a big weekend for the Raiders, following up his 29-point haul in Thursday’s 94-87 win with 18 points in Sunday’s 75-67 road victory.
“We were dealing with injuries and illness the whole weekend, which makes it all the more remarkable,” said Raiders’ coach Jay Marriott.
“We didn’t have Brent Benson and Jordan Clarke for two of the games, which arguably is a lot of our firepower, and then we lost Ben Mockford to illness as well.
Marriott added, “Brent and Jordan weren’t 100%, they just made a last-minute decision to play [Sunday] because they really wanted to win, and credit to those guys for playing through the pain barrier.
“The guys had to play some really heavy minutes over the four days and I shudder to think how many minutes Josh Wilcher played.”
In the defeat away to Leicester, Riders were led by 26 points from Tyler Bernardini and 24 from Rashad Hassan.
For Leeds Force, their Play-Off dream ended on Friday following their 84-54 defeat at home to Worcester Wolves. Jamal Williams had 20 points for the Wolves, who outscored Leeds 26-5 in the second quarter to take control of the game.
Leeds bounced back on Saturday to record a 76-73 win at Surrey United, James McCann the top man with 23 points, while Dominique Coleman had 24 in a losing effort.
League leaders Newcastle Eagles continued their relentless charge towards retaining the Championship title with another two victories to take their current winning streak to 18 games.
Despite missing the injured pair of Andre Jones and player-coach Fab Flournoy for both games, the Eagles followed up a 101-62 success over Surrey United on Friday with a 117-87 win from Sunday’s visit to Manchester Giants.
Andy Thomson led the way against United with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while there was also double-doubles for Darius Defoe (19 points and 15 rebounds) and Charles Smith (15 and 10).
Away to Manchester, Scott Martin top-scored with 22 points, one of seven Eagles who reached double figures in scoring.
The Eagles’ run-in to the title was made a little easier on Sunday afternoon as Worcester Wolves were handed an 88-70 defeat by London Lions.
Drew Sullivan put in a great performance for the Lions with a 22-point, 11-rebound haul that strengthened their hold on fifth place in the standings.
It capped a great weekend for the Lions who also won 85-63 at Bristol Flyers on Saturday, behind 23 points from Lovell Cook.
Dustin Salisbery had 22 points to lead his side as Cheshire Phoenix improved their chances of finishing in the top three with a 77-68 win at Glasgow Rocks on Sunday.
It capped a miserable weekend for the Rocks, whose six-game winning streak was ended on Friday after they lost 91-88 at Sheffield Sharks.
The top scorers for Sheffield were BJ Holmes and Mike Tuck, who both had 22 points.