In a busy weekend of BBL action, London Lions and Leicester Riders joined Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Cup Semi-Finals, while in the Championship, Plymouth Raiders got a much-needed opening league win.
Lions continued their recent dominance over Worcester Wolves with a 77-70 victory on the Wolves’ home court as Jaron Lane and Nick Lewis led the way with 19 points apiece as London beat Worcester for the fifth straight time in all competitions – booking their first Semi-Final appearance since the 2009-10 season.
Wolves’ Perris Blackwell led all scorers with 27 points and 14 rebounds, but was one of only two Wolves players to reach double figures in scoring.
In the other tie, the Riders held on to defeat Sheffield Sharks, 62-60, after a tense finale in which both teams struggled to put points on the board in the closing minutes.
Sharks had a chance to send the game to overtime in the final seconds, but Antone Robinson’s lay-up rimmed out. Drew Sullivan led the Riders with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Jerrold Brooks had 27 points for the Sharks.
In the BBL Championship, there was drama down in Devon as Plymouth Raiders edged Glasgow Rocks, 76-75, in a game which saw the lead change hands numerous times.
Plymouth sealed their first win of the season thanks to Daryl Corletto’s late three-pointer, which capped a game-high 23-point haul for the Raiders’ player-coach.
“It was amazing to finally get over the line,” said Raiders’ Josh Wilcher.
“We’ve been close a few times but just fell short and we really had to work hard for this one.
“We really needed a bucket and gave it to the right man. We have tremendous faith in Daryl in this group.
“He hit the shot and the crowed reacted accordingly – the place went nuts and our fans were amazing.”
He added, “We’ve been saying a lot that we just needed that one win to get us going.
“We feel we took a big step forward today and now really looking forward to the next few matches!”
It wasn’t a fruitless weekend for the Rocks, who won 67-58 at Bristol Flyers on Saturday, behind 20 points from Will Hall.
The Flyers saw Cardell McFarland exit that game with an ankle injury and even though he was absent on Sunday, Bristol still managed to come away from Surrey Scorchers with a good win, 80-72. Mathias Seilund led the Flyers with 18 points while the game’s top scorer was Surrey’s Tayo Ogedengbe with 21 points.
Sheffield Sharks recorded a 91-70 victory over Manchester Giants on Friday, thanks in part to Antone Robinson’s double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Finally, Leeds Force enjoyed their best weekend of the season as they won twice to move up to fourth in the Championship standings.
Force handed Plymouth Raiders a 91-72 defeat on Friday and then followed that up on Sunday with an 82-74 victory at Cheshire Phoenix.
Not only was it Leeds’ first road win of the season but the victory leaves Cheshire still looking for that elusive first win in their new venue.
Louis Sayers was the main man for Leeds against Plymouth with 20 points against his former team, while D’Andre Bullard had 19 in the win at Cheshire.