Continuing the opening weekend of the 2009/10 BBL Championship season, there were opening game victories for the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders, Guildford Heat and Worthing Thunder on Saturday evening as the season begins to get into full swing.
Leicester enjoyed a comfortable 113-93 victory over the Sheffield Sharks at the John Sanford Centre. Leicester lead for much of the game and a 12-3 tear in the final period gave them an unasailable 111-89 lead with 1:15 remaining in the game. Bradd Wierzbicki picked up where we left off at the end of the 2008/9 campaign by leading the Riders scoring with 32 points, but it was new signing Taurean Minor who grabbed the headlines with an opening night "triple- double" performance of 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Guildford Heat were made to work hard in their opening contest of the campaign but eventually ran out comfortable 65-95 winners over the PAWS London Capital at the Capital City Academy. A 12-0 tear midway through the third period took the score out to 48-61 and ended the resilience of the home side as the Heat were able to run out comfortable winners.
In the other game of the night, Worthing Thunder got their campaign off to an explosive start with a 104-84 victory over the Airwaves Plymouth Raiders. In a closely-fought match-up, the Thunder eventually broke the game open in the final period when a three-pointer from new-signing Sherrad Prezzie-Blue instigated a 13-0 burst to take the score out to 96-74 and despite a valiant attempt from the visitors to get themselves back into the game, the home side ran out victorious.
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders 113-93 Sheffield Sharks
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders 113 (31,64,90) (Wierzbicki 32, Johnson 22, Minor 19)
Sheffield Sharks 93 (29,48,73) (Cook 36, Toney 19, Patton 14)
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders got their 2009/10 BBL Championship campaign off to a winning start in emphatic fashion thanks to a 113-93 victory over the Sheffield Sharks at the John Sanford Centre on Saturday evening. The visitors took an early lead at 4-5, but they did not lead again in the game after that as the Riders went on a 10-2 burst to take the score out to 14-7 midway through the first period. The Sharks came back into the game and tied the game at 29-29, but the Riders netted the final basket of the period to lead 31-29 after the first quarter. In the second period Jason Johnson netted six points in a 10-0 tear for the home side to take the score out to 45-35 before a further 6-0 run saw the Riders close out the first half leading 64-48 going into the locker rooms at the half. In the second half the Sharks attempted to close the gap and got to within eleven points at 70-59, but the home side continued to keep their noses in front and lead 90-73 going into the final stanza. In the final period the Sharks again closed the gap to thirteen points at 99-86 but a 12-3 burst from the home side took the score out to 111-89 with 1:15 remaining in the game and the Riders held on for the comfortable victory. Bradd Wierzbicki (pictured) led the scoring for the Riders with 32 points and he was ably assisted with a triple-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists from new signing Taurean Minor. Mike Cook led all scorers in the game with 36 points on his debut for the Sharks.
PAWS London Capital 65-95 Guildford Heat
PAWS London Capital 65 (19,34,44) (Gariba 15, Ataha 14, Knysas 9)
Guildford Heat 95 (22,44,71) (Langhorne 16, Martin 15, Sandell)
Guildford Heat had to work hard to eventually pick up their opening win of the 2009/10 BBL Championship season with a 65-95 victory over the PAWS London Capital at the Capital City Academy on Saturday evening. In a closely fought opening half, the visitors led by ten points at 34-44 going into the locker rooms. In the second half the Heat broke the game open through some solid defense and good execution on the offensive end to outscore their hosts 10-27, including a 12-0 run to take the score out to 48-61, in the third period to lead 44-71 going into the final stanza. In the final period the home side tried valiantly to get themselves back into the game but the Heat stayed strong down the stretch and held on for the comfortable victory. Kenny Langhorne led all scorers in the game with 16 points for the Heat, while Ibrahim Gariba (pictured) led the Capital scoring with 15 points personal.
Worthing Thunder 104-84 Airwaves Plymouth Raiders
Worthing Thunder 104 (23,49,73) (Zafirov 22, Makalainen 19, Prezzie-Blue/Bratton 18)
Airwaves Plymouth Raiders 84 (23,46,68) (Gall 25, Flato 19, Valencia 16)
Worthing Thunder got their BBL Championship campaign off to a winning start with a 104-84 victory over the Airwaves Plymouth Raiders at the Worthing Leisure Centre on Saturday evening. A closely fought opening period saw both teams trading baskets throughout the quarter to leave the sides level at 23-23 at the end of the opening ten minutes of basketball. In the second quarter the home side opened up a slender six-point advantage at 48-42 but the visitors trimmed the deficit back to just three points at 49-46 going in at the half. In the second half a three-pointer from Sherrad Prezzie-Blue for the home side to open the third period sparked a 16-4 tear for Worthing to take the score out to 64-50 midway through the period. The Raiders came back at them in the closing stages of the quarter and a 12-4 run for the visitors saw them close the deficit to just five points at 73-68 going into the final stanza. In the final period Ville Makalainen bagged the first five points of the quarter for the home side to give them a 78-68 lead early in the period, but the Raiders came back again and closed to within nine points at 81-72 with seven minutes remaining. The game was broken open at that point as another Prezzie-Blue three-pointer kick-started a 13-0 burst for the Thunder to take the score out to 96-74. The visitors tried valiantly to get themselves back into the game after that point, but Worthing saw the game out from the foul-line to give the home side the perfect start to the season. Petroslav Zafirov led the scoring for the home side with 22 points, but it was Allister Gall (pictured) who led all scorers in the game with 25 points for the Raiders.
BBL Championship Table
P W L Pts
1= Guildford Heat 1 1 0 2
1= Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders 1 1 0 2
1= Marshall MK Lions 1 1 0 2
1= Newcastle Eagles 1 1 0 2
1= Worthing Thunder 1 1 0 2
6= Everton Tigers 0 0 0 0
6= Glasgow Rocks 0 0 0 0
6= Essex Pirates 0 0 0 0
9= PAWS London Capital 1 0 1 0
9= Airwaves Plymouth Raiders 1 0 1 0
9= Sheffield Sharks 1 0 1 0
9= Worcester Wolves 1 0 1 0
9= Cheshire Jets 1 0 1 0