BBL Play-Off Final
Leicester Riders 81-60 London Lions (12-14, 39-28, 57-43)
Leicester Riders retained their Play-Off title thanks to an impressive display that saw them overcome London Lions 81-60 at The O2 – led by MVP Trayvonn Wright.
During a tight opening quarter, the lead swayed back and forth as Cory Dixon and Brandon Peel kept the Lions score moving. The Lions missed a number of opportunities at the rim to increase their lead and you felt they were going to need their free flowing offence. The quarter ended with Lions ahead 12-14
In the middle of the second quarter Leicester produced a decisive 10-2 run to seize the game’s momentum. Peel had an attempted dunk to end the half but it was blocked by an impressive Trayvon Wright. Leicester outscored London 27-14 during that quarter.
In attempting to get back in the game the Lions could not nail their perimeter shots, glimpses from Paul Guede and Justin Robinson in patches was not going to be enough and Hampton and Bernardini for Leicester were able to pile on the pressure as the lead grew.
The victory marks the Riders’ fourth BBL Play-Off Final win and also completes the team’s 2017-18 treble, having already secured the BBL Trophy and BBL Championship – the club’s second consecutive treble winning season.
The Lions will feel disappointed not to have taken advantage early on but will look back at a season that seemed derailed in December but sparkled to life for the best ever in the club’s history.
“We are disappointed” said Coach Vince Macaulay, “We wanted to exhibit ourselves as who we are and the way we have been playing, credit Riders for making it tough, and we knew they would, but we could have played better”. Asked about if Flo Larkai’s ejection affected the Game, Macaulay added “No it didn’t but I think the referees would want to take that decision back as it was a horrible one against a model professional.”
TrayVonn Wright took MVP honours for his 11 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks off the bench, whilst Brandon Peel led all scorers with 22 points adding an impressive 13 rebounds
Lions scorers – Peel 22, Guede 10, Dixon 7, Thompson 6, Robinson 4, Ikhinmwin 3, Lockhart 2, Ekperuoh 2, James 2, Roberts 2, Okoro 0, Larkai 0.
Riders Scorers – Holder 20, Hampton 19, Bernardini 17