Friday 9th December

There were two big wins on Friday night at both ends of the BBL Championship.

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle produced an impressive display to take down Leicester Riders 73-92 on the road in front of the BBC cameras as Deondre Parks top scored with 26 points.

Meanwhile, Bristol Flyers picked up their first win since September after Aaron Cosby netted 28 points on his home debut in a 96-79 win against Leeds Force.

BBL Championship
Leicester Riders 73 (13,30,46) (King 22, Bernardini 10, Washington 9)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 92 (19,40,67) (Parks 26, Fletcher 24, Defoe/Jackman/Martin 12)

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle put on a show in front of the BBC cameras after recording an impressive 73-92 road win against Leicester Riders.

Fab Flournoy reached the landmark of 2000 career assists as his side increased their lead at the top of the BBL Championship.

The Eagles came through a physical affair, but lost Scott Martin to an ankle injury while Flournoy and Darius Defoe both had momentary scares.

Deondre Parks and Rahmon Fletcher combined for 50 points, while Orlan Jackman tallied 12 points and 12 rebounds in a strong display.

After a tight opening, the Eagles began to edge away and a mid-range jumpshot from Defoe put his side 9-17 ahead in the first. The Riders battled back in the second to briefly lead, but a 10-2 close saw the visitors lead by 10 at the interval.

Newcastle started the third with a 12-4 burst to extend the gap to 18 points and would further increase their advantage to 46-67 by the end of the period.

Another Parks three made it a 28-point game, although the Riders did threaten an unlikely comeback after going on a 19-2 run. However, the Eagles wrapped up an important victory to improve to 13-2 in the league.

Their attention now turns to the BBL Cup as they stay on the road to face London Lions in the first leg of their Semi-Final clash, on Sunday.

BBL Championship
Bristol Flyers 96 (27,49,78) (Cosby 28, Ali 19, Smith/Boggs 12)
Leeds Force 79 (20,42,58) (Sanders 24, Marsden 16, Sandoval/Harris 11)

Bristol Flyers ended a run of 11 consecutive league defeats as they recorded a convincing 96-79 win over Leeds Force.

Andreas Kapoulas’ side stormed clear in the third period en route to their first win since the opening weekend of the season.

Aaron Cosby justified his recent addition with a game-high of 28 points including a composed 11-12 from the free throw line on his home debut with five other players in double figures.

The home side never trailed in the contest and got off to the required start with an 8-0 run inside the opening ninety seconds.
Bristol increased their lead into double figures late in the second before a strong finish from the visitors cut the gap back down to seven at the half.

It was in the third where the damage was done as the Flyers went on a decisive 18-1 run, capped by a three from Cosby to make it 67-45.

The lead was as large as 27 points at one stage before Force rallied to reduce the deficit, though there was to be no way back.

Jermaine Sanders netted 24 points in the loss for Leeds as they drop to 3-8 ahead of Sunday’s home encounter with Plymouth Raiders, while Bristol are now 2-11.

Saturday 10th December

Quincy Taylor left it until the last three seconds to cap an amazing comeback as Surrey Scorchers beat Glasgow Rocks, making it three BBL Championship wins in a row and inflicting a first defeat in thirteen on Rocks.

BBL Championship
Surrey Scorchers 77 (15,36,59) (Taylor 24, Neighbour 17, Bowie 14)
Glasgow Rocks 75 (28,46,70) (Watson 26, Elechi 14, Achara 11)
Surrey Scorchers produced a scintillating finish to beat Glasgow Rocks 77-75 on Saturday night, with Quincy Taylor – who scored 24 points – hitting the crucial basket with just three seconds to play. It is the first time in more than two years, or nine games, that Scorchers have beaten Rocks; and avenged their defeat in the BBL Cup semi-final last week.


The Rocks led this game from the first minute until those final three seconds, having hit the first seven points and leading 19-9 when Neil Watson hit four first quarter three-pointers, as he and Kieron Achara shared 18 early points.


Scorchers gave a hint as to what would come, getting back to 30-26 on a run of nine unanswered in the second stanza, capped by Will Neighbour’s triple after Taylor had scored consecutively. But Anthony Elechi and Hayden Lescault responded, sharing the points as Rocks went 8-2 to lead 46-36 at the half, shooting 60% from the field and 45% from three-point range.


But they couldn’t shake off the Scorchers, who prevented them from extending their lead through the third and start of the fourth quarter, before exploding in the last five minutes. Albert Margai sparked a surge of 11 straight points, with Jay Bowie scoring five in a row to get Scorchers back to within one shot at 72-70.


Scorchers were defending with intensity and held their visitors scoreless for six minutes, restricting them to just five fourth quarter points. They forced the Rocks into 22 turnovers in the game, scoring 39 of their points from those.


And that was epitomised in the latter stages. Trailing 75-72 inside the final minute, they forced Rocks into a shot clock violation and, after Taylor scored, squeezed another turnover out of Gareth Murray with nine seconds to go.
Emerging from a timeout, Taylor floated the ball over the defence to put the Scorchers up with three seconds to play and was fouled, making his free-throw. Watson missed the final shot for the Rocks, who suffered their first defeat in 13 games. Scorchers have now won three league games on the bounce, strengthening their position in the final Play-off spot.

Sunday 11th December

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle have the upperhand in their BBL Cup Semi-Final, while Cheshire Phoenix and Plymouth Raiders picked up big wins in the league.
The Eagles scored the final six points to beat London Lions 80-87 ahead of the second leg at Sport Central.
Meanwhile, Cheshire racked up 41 points in the first quarter en route to a 103-83 victory against Manchester Giants as Frank Eaves netted 21 points on debut.
Plymouth also broke the century mark in their 87-104 success against Leeds Force with six players in double figures.

BBL Cup, Semi-Final 1st Leg
London Lions 80 (Hassan 30, Taylor 19, K Williams/Niktash 9)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 87  (Fletcher 23, Parks 19, Jackman 14)

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle will take a seven-point lead into the second leg of their BBL Cup Semi-Final clash after defeating London Lions, 80-87.
Deondre Parks netted a big three in the final period and scored the final points of the game in a 6-0 close to the game.
The Eagles were without Christian Behrens and Scott Martin, who picked up an injury in Friday’sgame while the Lions handed a debut to GB centre Zak Wells.
It was the visitors who made the stronger start and led by double figures by the end of the opening period. The Lions fought back in the second with an improved offensive display, but would still trail by 13 at the half.
London made their move at the start of the third to close to within four with a 13-4 opening. The Eagles restored their double-digit cushion before the lead was cut back down to four.
A three from Kai Williams put the Lions up 71-70, but Newcastle hit back with a 10-2 run. It was back to a one-point game at 80-81 before Eagles’ late blitz.

Rashad Hassan top scored with a game-high 30 points with the Lions needing to overturn a seven-point deficit in order to reach the BBL Cup Final.

BBL Championship
Cheshire Phoenix 103 (41,58,83) (Eaves 21, Brown/May-Thompson 19)
Manchester Giants 83 (20,39,57) (Okoro 17, Jones/Traianos 14)

Cheshire Phoenix climbed two spots in the table after beating Manchester Giants 103-83 on Sunday.
The home side racked up a scintillating 41 points in the first period on 77% shooting to storm clear of their opponents.
Frank Eaves made an immediate impression on debut and finished as the game’s top scorers with 21 points with five players in double figures.
Cheshire went on a 10-0 run in the first quarter to begin to pull away and had a 21-point lead by the end of the period. The scoring cooled down in the second but the hosts had already racked up 50 points with over six minutes to go in the half.
The visitors edged the second quarter to narrowly reduce their deficit as they trailed by 19 at the interval.
Another burst put Cheshire further clear in the third with the game already seemingly beyond the Giants, who kept up their fight by taking the fourth quarter.

Jerelle Okoro led the Giants with 17 points as they fall to 3-9 after a run of defeats.

BBL Championship
Leeds Force 87 (14,33,61) (Marsden 33, Sanders 19, Sandoval 15)
Plymouth Raiders 104 (25,50,77) (Nicholas 21, Corletto 20, Grady 19)

Plymouth Raiders recorded their seventh league win of the season after beating Leeds Force 87-104 on the road.

All five starters hit double figures in the win, led by Donte Nicholas’ 21 points, while Cory Dixon added nine rebounds and seven assists to his 18-point haul.

Last time out, the Raiders defeated the league leaders, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and passed the century mark again in points for another convincing win.

It was an even start in the opening period before Plymouth closed with a 9-0 run to begin to pull away. The lead continued to grow and reached 20 points on a three from Corletto.

The visitors netted five triples in the opening four minutes of the second half to lead by as many as 31. Leeds responded with an 11-2 run and cut the gap to 16 ahead of the fourth.

Another burst saw Force reduce the deficit to single figures at 74-81. However, the Raiders produced a strong finish to wrap up the victory.

Rob Marsden finished with 33 points and 13 rebounds for Leeds, but they dropped their second game on the weekend to fall to 3-9.

  PL W L Pts
1 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 15 13 2 26
2 Leicester Riders 12 10 2 20
3 Glasgow Rocks 11 9 2 18
4 London Lions 10 8 2 16
5 Plymouth Raiders 12 7 5 14
6 DBL Sharks Sheffield 13 7 6 14
7 Worcester Wolves 13 5 8 10
8 Surrey Scorchers 16 5 11 10
9 Cheshire Phoenix 11 3 8 6
10 Leeds Force 12 3 9 6
10 Manchester Giants 12 3 9 6
12 Bristol Flyers 13 2 11 4