BBL Trophy Quarter Final
London Lions 88-77 Cheshire Phoenix (23-21, 42-37, 64-51)
Close to 3,000 fans saw the London Lions present the BBL Cup and then advance into the BBL Trophy Semi-Finals following their 88-77 home win against Cheshire Phoenix.
The Lions are now just one round away from making it into their second major BBL final this season but first will have to face Manchester Giants in a two-legged affair.
The Lions came flying out of the blocks with the first 7 points of the contest forcing a Phoenix time out. The visitors slowly got into the game before we saw injuries for both teams. Phoenix’s Daniel Norl left the game with an ankle injury not to return, whilst Justin Robinson suffered an injury to the eye which saw him leave the game to return later.
Jonathan James replaced him, promptly draining a triple and the Lions looked like having a solid lead at the end of the first quarter before Latinovic hit a half court buzzer beater to close the deficit to 23-21.
The game got tighter in the second quarter as the visitors would take 17 free throws in the half, Robinson returned to keep the Lions’ scoring going as did Ladarius Tabb, at half time it was a 42-37 lead to the Lions.
The third saw the Lions comfortably up, Jordan Spencer draining a triple and assisting Tabb for a dunk. Lions shut down Latinovic to just 33% shooting in the game and the third ended 64-41.
In the fourth Louis Sayers and Disraeli Lufadeju were the pick of the Phoenix players and for the Lions Kervin Bristol was his imperial self on his way to a 12 point 11 rebound double double.
Cheshire came close to pulling it back near the conclusion of the game, down by just eight points with two minutes remaining. A 5-2 run from Cheshire saw them pull that gap to just five with under one minute of play left but four Justin Robinson free-throws and a dunk from Brandon Peel saw the recent BBL Cup champions take one more step towards another BBL final.
Key stat – Lions were fast on the break, converting 23 points, and also shot an impressive 95% (19/20) from the free-throw line.
Game hero(es) – Jordan Spencer knocked down 21 points during the contest and also aided London’s win with an additional seven assists, whilst Tabb notched up 10 points and 10 boards.
Lions scorers – Spencer 21, Robinson 17, Bristol 12, Peel 11, Tabb 10, Lockhart 5, Guede 5, James 3, Larkai 2, Okoro 2, Ikhinmwin 0, Roberts.
Phoenix scorers – Sayers 13, Allen-Jordan 12, Latinovic 11