Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro admits that while most people look forward to the holidays and a break from working day to spend time with loved ones, his side has been focusing on reaching the British Basketball League summit.

A heavy period of four games in eight days has seen the Riders secure wins as they head into the Christmas period top of the table with nine straight wins.

And Friday’s 88-78 win on the road to Surrey Scorchers gave Paternostro and his players the perfect gift to conclude a busy stretch of games.

“I think everyone knows that it is hectic around this time of year,” Paternostro said. “Off the court and around the holidays’ people are trying to make plans so in a lot of ways it was a tough break for us to get four games before Christmas.

“As a player, I loved the fact that we were able to get a break around this time. We went hard though and have got four wins, which by the end of the season could prove vital. It is what it is though, I was happy that I was able to use the whole squad that can do a job and do it well.”

And the Riders’ form has led them to the top of the BBL table, overtaking the early pace-setting Newcastle Eagles, who had won their first nine games but have since lost their last three, including a narrow defeat to Leicester.

“We’ve played 12 games so far and we’ve won 11 and for the BBL, that’s good going, especially with the period that we have had,” Paternostro said.

“We looked at the schedule against London, Newcastle, Glasgow, Surrey and of course Leeds in the middle of that those were our last games before Christmas and we’ve passed the test with flying colours.”