Their first home win of the season could not have come at a better time for Cheshire Phoenix who wrapped up the last BBL Cup Semi-Final spot following their 72-60 victory over Bristol Flyers on Sunday.
The Flyers were looking to make the Semi-Final for a second straight year, but the Phoenix had other ideas as they overcome a slow start to take the lead and build a comfortable double-digit advantage.
Kinu Rochford led Cheshire with 16 points, while Flyers’ Tyrone Lee had a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort.
It wasn’t the only success for the Phoenix last weekend as they ended a five-game losing streak in the BBL Championship with a 94-76 thumping of Worcester Wolves – thanks to a monster 36-point haul from Cheshire’s Akeem Ellis.
John Lavery’s side dominated for most of the game and their half-time 55-34 lead proved too big an obstacle to overcome for the Wolves.
Newcastle Eagles are off to the best start in franchise history and victories over Sheffield Sharks and Manchester Giants have now pushed their record to 10-0 in the Championship.
Scott Martin’s 21 points led a balancing scoring attack in an 87-78 win over the Sharks, while Stuart Thomson also scored 21 in the 119-81 victory away to Manchester.
Leicester Riders also remain unbeaten and moved to 7-0 after their 76-68 win at Glasgow Rocks, TrayVonn Wright impressing with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Leeds Force took their current winning streak to a club-best three games on Friday after they outlasted Surrey Scorchers, 73-63, behind 21 points from Rob Marsden.
“It wasn’t anywhere near our best performance of the season, but we dug in when it mattered,” said Force coach Matt Newby, whose side remain fourth.
“Surrey dictated the tempo throughout the first half, but in the second half we showed a lot of grit and determination, coming up with the appropriate level of intensity on defence.”
He added, “If you can get a few wins in a row it can make a difference and give the team some confidence, and it also gives individual players some confidence in what they are doing.”
London Lions missed a chance move fourth after splitting their games at the weekend.
After losing to Manchester Giants a fortnight earlier, the Lions got their revenge as a 20-point haul from Nick Lewis inspired his side to an 85-60 victory.
Lewis added 16 points on Sunday and Lions were led by a game-high 27 points from Kai Williams, but they were unable to prevent an 87-80 defeat away to Glasgow Rocks, who were led by 18 points apiece from Kieron Achara and Warren Gillis.
“We’ve lacked discipline at times and we’ve allowed teams to push back at us when we give up easy baskets, even in this one,” said Achara.
“Better teams know how to kill opponents off. We need to do that more often.
“But I’ve seen progress, particularly over the last five games.”
He added, “Now we’re finding ways to win and even if it’s ugly, we’ll take that.”
Finally, Worcester Wolves are back in the win column after a hard-fought 91-80 success at Plymouth Raiders. Wolves’ Perris Blackwell recorded a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Raiders’ player-coach Daryl Corletto led all scorers with 24 points.