The London Lions recorded their highest ever winning margin beating Leeds Force, 44-128 on Friday night at the Carnegie Sports Centre.
The Lions headed into Leeds on a fantastic run of form, unbeaten in the Championship in their last six fixtures including statement wins over the newly crowned champions Leicester Riders and top two hopeful’s Newcastle Eagles.
Leeds Force has one win all season and has yet to record a victory in 2018.
The Lions started the game with their five strongest starters led by MVP candidate Justin Robinson, who celebrated signing a new contract with the Lions by scoring 12 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing 7 assists in the win.
The visitors set the tone from the outset, the same way they have all month, that every game they play is their biggest game of the season as they chase the second seed in the playoffs.
The Lions got out to an 11-point lead midway through the first period as the starters shared the scoring.
Vince Macaulay, the Lions Head Coach, made full use of his bench as his side host playoff-bound Worcester Wolves on Sunday and travel to the Champions next Friday.
Despite the changes in personnel, the Lions made easy work on the Force who were held to their lowest score of the season.
The Lions finished the first quarter with a 21-12 advantage but would move up a gear in the second quarter scoring 36 points conceding just 13 to lead it 57-25 at halftime.
The Lions topped the third quarter in similar form, keeping Leeds to single digits in a strong defensive stand whilst scoring another 33 points, Andre Lockhart and Flo Larkai making an impact on the game putting it out of sight of Leeds early, extending the lead to 40 points early in the quarter.
The Lions kept pushing their winning margin in the final quarter, putting in a professional performance but clearly enjoying their basketball with some flashy finishing and full-court passes.
The most remarkable moment of the game, however, came at the final buzzer. With the Force trailing by 81 Leeds regained possession and with 7 seconds remaining in the game Mo Williams, contrary to traditional basketball etiquette, went for a layup which he missed.
Lamar Roberts gathered the rebound and just before the buzzer sounded Jerelle Okoro launched a full-court shot which incredibly went in to cap off the 84-point victory, the Lions’ largest ever winning margin in Championship play.
The Lions gave good minutes to all 11 players, Everyone got on the scoresheet, with eight of the side in double digits in scoring, with Brandon Peel, Cory Dixon and Jonathan Thompson the game’s top scorers with 17 points each. Despite the glut of points, only one Lion recorded a double-double, Flo Larkai bagging 16 points and 11 rebounds in his 16 minutes of play.
The Lions are back in action on Sunday at 4 pm, hosting playoff-bound Worcester Wolves at the Copper Box. Tickets are still available at ticketmaster.co.uk.
(Report; D. Paul,Picture; Jon Thompson courtesy of G. Hodges.)
Lions Scorers; Thompson 17, Dixon 17, Peel !7, Ekperuoh 16Larkai 16, Robinson 12, Okoro 12, James 5, Roberts 4, Guede 2.
Force Scorers; Sinani 15, Brownell 11, Williams 7.