British Basketball League 2015-16 round up (week 31)

The 2015-16 BBL Championship is in the books and this is how a dramatic final weekend of the regular season played out.

Friday saw Leicester Riders take on Newcastle Eagles in front of a packed house at the LCS Arena.

The Riders knew victory would secure them the BBL Championship while the Eagles needed a win to extend the race until Sunday.

In a close game, it was only in the final minutes that the Riders were able to pull away, a 10-0 run putting the game out of reach en-route to an 84-73 victory.

Jamell Anderson led all scorers with 18 points as the Riders claimed their first league title since 2013.

Leeds Force went into the weekend looking to secure their first Play-Off appearance and they got off to a great start with a 92-77 victory over Manchester Giants, the ever-impressive Marek Klassen pouring in 34 points for Leeds.

Elsewhere on Friday, the battle for third place was settled as Worcester Wolves lost 99-90 at home to Cheshire Phoenix, while Sheffield Sharks beat Surrey Scorchers, 101-77.

Cheshire’s Danny Huffor had 38 points as his side swept the season series against Worcester, while Mike Tuck led the Sharks with 22 against Surrey.

Only one game was slated for Saturday as Bristol Flyers took on London Lions and it was the side from the capital that prevailed with a comfortable 78-65 victory, Nick Lewis the high man with 19 points.

Into the final day and Force knew a win in Surrey would give them a Play-Off spot regardless of results elsewhere.

But Scorchers were looking to finish the season on a high in front of a full house with victory for special guest, Brian Dux, the former Guildford Heat star who was back in town for the first time since a car crash that ended his playing career in 2007.

Behind 19 points from Klassen, Force were pushed all the way by Scorchers, before escaping with a 72-68 victory.

“Credit to [Surrey] they fought very hard,” said Leeds captain Armand Anebo.

“We made it hard for ourselves today, that’s the bottom line.

“I am so happy about making the Play-Offs; it’s such a big achievement for the team and the club.”

That victory officially eliminated Plymouth Raiders, whose game against Sheffield Sharks tipped off an hour later.

Despite missing out the Raiders were still able to finish with a win, player-coach Daryl Corletto leading the way with 25 points as they cruised to an 84-76 victory over Sheffield Sharks.

London Lions locked up sixth spot with a 72-63 defeat of a Leicester Riders, who rested key players while Glasgow Rocks beat Worcester Wolves, 80-69.

Cheshire Phoenix rounded off their regular season in style, defeating Newcastle, 105-84, with Kinu Rochford going off for 40 points.

“All we talked about during the week was we know it wasn’t in our hands to finish sixth, so the focus was to get two wins,” said Phoenix coach John Lavery.

“We wanted to have some momentum going into the Play-Offs and we were able to do that.”

Finally, Manchester Giants ensured they would not finish bottom of the BBL after rounding off their season with a 78-60 defeat of Bristol Flyers.