BBL Cup Final
London Lions 68-54 Radisson RED Glasgow Rocks (15-10, 30-20, 54-41)
London Lions re-captured the BBL Cup title they won back in 2008 with a 68-54 win against Radisson RED Glasgow Rocks, at Arena Birmingham.
Vince Macaulay was head coach the last time the Lions won the Cup and his side continued its season dominance over the Rocks, having previously won both meetings between the sides this campaign. London improves its record in finals to 2-5, while Glasgow’s wait for another title continues as the side collect a tenth runners-up medal since the franchise tasted Play-Off success 16 years ago.
The Lions, leaders of the BBL championship, were never behind as they consigned the Rocks to their 10th successive defeat in a BBL final.
The Lions were ferocious on the defensive end to open up the game, holding the Rocks to just 10 points in each of the first two quarters. Glasgow’s total of 20 points at the half set a new record for the lowest points total at the half in Cup Final history.
Brandon Peel top scored for the Lions with 21 points to win the Most Valuable Player award.
“This is arguably the greatest moment of my career so far as a Lion,” he said. “I didn’t come from a very winning background, so this means everything to me right now.”
The first half set the tone for the low-scoring affair, London coming out on top 30-20, with Glasgow relying on their Scottish contingent of Kieron Achara, Gareth Murray and Alasdair Fraser for 14 of their points.
American forward Peel, the only player to reach double figures in the first half, added 10 more points in the third quarter as the Lions pulled away to a 13-point lead.
He also finished with 14 rebounds in a fine all-round performance while Justin Robinson added 13 points and seven assists. However the key defensive display came from Kervin Bristol who manhandled, Rocks’ Ali Fraser, holding him to just 4 points whilst patrolling the air space around the Lions’ basket.
Although the Rocks reduced the arrears to seven points (54-47) at the start of the final period, the Lions again upped their offensive rebounding effort to go on a 7-0 run and win their first BBL silverware for 11 years.
Kenny Carpenter finished with 13 points and Bo Zeigler 12 for the Rocks.
“It’s very special for the club and all the individuals on the team,” said Vince Macaulay, Lions head coach. “Yes, we’re winning a title now with the guys you see in yellow, but you’ve got to remember the people who helped us get here along the way.”
Glasgow coach Daryl Wood said the Lions “took away a lot of our strengths” adding: “I think we treated this as a final rather than a game of basketball … we need to take some key learning points away from today.”
The Lions will have under a week to celebrate this achievement as they are back in action on Saturday at the Copper Box Arena to face the Cheshire Phoenix in the Quarter-Finals of the BBL Trophy. Tip off is at 7.30pm with the Ladies team playing beforehand.
Lions scorers – Peel 21, Robinson 13, Bristol 12, Tabb 12, Spencer 3, Lockhart 3, Okoro 3, Guede 1, Ikhinmwin, Larkai 0, James, Roberts,
Rocks scorers – Carpenter 13, Zeigler 12, Achara 11.