In a packed weekend of action in the British Basketball League, Sheffield Sharks saw their fine run halted and Newcastle Eagles edged closer to another final.
Sheffield Sharks went into their match-up with London Lions having won their last ten games in a row, but ended up tasting defeat for the first time since November after losing 90-84.
Alex Owumi was the main man for London, leading the way with 20 points and keeping alive the capital side’s hopes of finishing in the top four. Meanwhile Sharks’ Mike Tuck led all scorers with 24 points.
Leeds Force saw their losing streak come to an end on Friday as they won for the first time in six games with a narrow 79-77 victory over Glasgow Rocks, a result which moved the Force into eighth place.
Rob Marsden had 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Force overcame an 11-point deficit in the third quarter with a 15-0 run that turned the game in their favour.
By Sunday evening, the eighth and final playoff spot was in the control of Plymouth Raiders as they continued their resurgence with a 75-62 victory over Leeds, with player-coach Daryl Corletto leading the way with 21 points.
Glasgow Rocks were able to salvage one win from the weekend after they held on to defeat Surrey Scorchers, 88-82.
GB International Kieron Achara had a huge game for the Rocks scoring 30 points and giving head coach Sterling Davis a victory in his 350th game in charge.
“It wasn’t pretty for us,” Davis admitted.
“There were stretches of good defence but offensively, we’re a little messy right now and we need to sharpen up. But hopefully a win gives us some confidence.”
Worcester Wolves claimed their fourth straight championship win with a 79-74 victory at Manchester Giants, but were made to work for it.
Behind a combined 47 points from Ingus Bankevics (26) and Callum Jones (21), the Giants came close to recording an upset, but Wolves’ nerves were steadied late on when Ashton Khan scored five points in a row to put his side ahead for good.
Leicester Riders won their fourth game in all competitions as they overcame a 29-point performance from Akeem Ellis to claim a 91-76 victory at Cheshire Phoenix.
TrayVonn Wright, Neil Watson and Tyler Bernardini all scored 19 points apiece for the Riders who remain second in the table.
Finally, Newcastle Eagles’ recent blip appears to be over after they avoided a third straight championship defeat.
The Eagles brushed aside a short-handed Bristol Flyers, 106-66, with Andy Thomson enjoying a 24-point night.
“[Bristol] had three key guys out but they played hard as they could with a lot of grit and grime,” said Eagles’ Joe Chapman, who finished with 19 points.
It capped a good weekend for the Tyneside club who moved a step closer to the BBL Trophy final after their first-leg Semi-Final win over Worcester Wolves.
Eagles will take a seven-point advantage into next Sunday’s tie, after Charles Smith’s game-high 18 points helped the Eagles to a 73-66 victory in a back and forth game.
“It was a great win for us,” said Chapman.
“We lost to them the last time we played them so we made adjustments and came back focused this week.”