North East Connected

Results: Sunday 24 April – BBL Play-Offs

Glasgow Rocks, Sheffield Sharks and Cheshire Phoenix came through their Quarter-Final encounters to join Leicester Riders in the battle for a place in the Molten BBL Play-Off Final.
Cheshire saw Esh Group Eagles Newcastle briefly take the lead on aggregate on their way to a 96-87 victory as the defending champions fell just short despite 34 points from Darius Defoe.
Meanwhile, Sheffield Sharks were beaten 78-75 on the road against London Lions with Demond Watt posting 32 points and 22 rebounds as his side went down by 21 points on aggregate.
Also, Glasgow moved into the last four despite suffering an 88-83 defeat away at Worcester Wolves with a heavy first leg deficit proving too much to overturn.
BBL Play-Offs Quarter-Final, second leg
London Lions 78 (18,39,65) (Watt 32, Lewis 11, K Williams 10)
Sheffield Sharks 75 (25,37,50) (Robinson 19, Brooks/Barber 15)
Sharks win 169-148 on aggregate.
Demond Watt inspired London Lions to a 78-75 home victory against Sheffield Sharks, but it wasn’t enough to advance in the BBL Play-Offs.
The home side led by 15 points at the end of the third quarter before running out of steam as the Sharks closed in and completed a 169-148 win on aggregate.
Watt dominated the glass and finished with a monster double-double of 32 points and 22 rebounds to lead the Lions to victory on the night.
It was the Sharks who carried the momentum of their 24-point first leg win into the early stages and a trio of 3-pointers helped establish a 15-5 advantage. The Lions battled back in the second with a 14-2 start to the period with Watt completing an early double-double with a number of offensive boards.
At half-time, London had a slender advantage but still trailed by 22 points with it all to do in the second half. The Sharks lost their captain late in the third as Mike Tuck was ejected just as the Lions began to re-build their momentum.
Kai Williams netted a three to beat the third quarter buzzer to cut the deficit to single figures on aggregate with the home side up 15 on the night.
However, the Sharks battled back and levelled the game at 73-73 on the back of a 12-2 run. Olu Babalola and Nick Lewis then ensured the Lions would finish with a win against their former side with key scores down the stretch, although their hopes of going through were already over.
Antone Robinson led the way for the visitors with a 19-point and 10-rebound double-double as Sheffield return to the last four of the Play-Offs.
BBL Play-Offs Quarter-Final, second leg
Worcester Wolves 88 (32,49,77) (Aaron 20, Jackman/Blackwell 14)
Glasgow Rocks 83 (15,40,59) (Gillis 14, Grabau/Achara 13)
Rocks win 173-141 on aggregate.
Glasgow Rocks moved into the Semi-Finals of the BBL Play-Offs despite suffering an 88-83 defeat in the second leg away at Worcester Wolves.
Trailing by 37 heading into the tie, Worcester increased hope of an unlikely comeback after building a 22-point lead early in the second.
However, the Rocks fought back and with an impressive 24-11 final quarter effort, they were able to secure an overall 173-141 success. Glasgow had five players in double figures, led by Warren Gillis’ 14-point haul.
Worcester came out fighting early on with a point to prove and quickly established a double-digit advantage with Jordan Aaron scoring 10 of his game-high 20 points in the opening period to help his side into a 32-15 lead.
The home side continued to give themselves hope and a strong finish to the third made it 77-59 in their favour ahead of the final quarter.
However, Jay Couisnard fouled out to all but end any glimmer of hope with the Rocks sealing their progression in style with a 12-2 close including three straight 3-pointers from Riley Grabau.
BBL Play-Offs Quarter-Final, second leg
Cheshire Phoenix 87 (33,46,72) (Rochford 27, Huffor 16, Aliu/Ellis/Taylor 13)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 96 (26,50,71) (Defoe 34, Smith 26, Fletcher 17)
Phoenix win 191-187 on aggregate.
Cheshire Phoenix survived a late surge from Esh Group Eagles Newcastle as they advanced to the BBL Play-Offs Semi-Finals with an overall 191-187 victory despite losing 87-96 on the night.
The home side led by 20 points on aggregate at the end of the first quarter, but the Eagles stormed all the back and took the lead when Charles Smith’s three made it 77-91 inside the final two minutes.
However, Cheshire were able to hold on by keeping their nerve at the free throw line to ice the overall victory and set up a last four showdown with Leicester Riders next weekend.
Kinu Rochford led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while the Eagles had a combined 60 points from Smith and Darius Defoe, who racked up 34 points as the comeback effort came up just short.
The defending Play-Off champions were once again without starting duo Scott Martin and Andy Thomson and found themselves in a 20-point hole as they trailed 33-26 after the opening period. Newcastle turned it around in the second to lead by four on the night at half-time to keep their hopes alive.
Back-to-back triples from David Aliu tied the game at 58-58 in the third, and his side were able to edge ahead by one by the end of the period to extend their aggregate cushion to 14 points ahead of the final quarter.
An 8-2 start to the fourth was soon followed by a 10-0 run to close within a single point in the tie. Smith went 1-of-2 from the free throw line before netting a big three to fire Newcastle ahead on aggregate.
Cheshire regained their composure with a quick score from Rochford and after Fab Flournoy split a pair of free throws, overtime beckoned with less than 20 seconds remaining.
However, clutch free throws from Akeem Ellis followed by an important steal from Quincy Taylor allowed the home side to wrap up the victory and seal their spot in the Semi-Finals.
  PL W L Pts
1 Leicester Riders 33 29 4 58
2 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 33 28 5 56
3 Sheffield Sharks 33 20 13 40
4 Worcester Wolves 33 19 14 38
5 Glasgow Rocks 33 19 14 38
6 London Lions 33 16 17 32
7 Cheshire Phoenix 33 16 17 32
8 Leeds Force 33 14 19 28
9 Plymouth University Raiders 33 13 20 26
10 Bristol Flyers 33 9 24 18
11 Manchester Giants 33 8 25 16
12 Surrey Scorchers 33 7 26 14
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