BBL Trophy Final

London City Royals 90-82 London Lions (11-15, 36-38, 56-53, 72-72)
Emirates Arena, Glasgow. After Overtime

The London Lions let the BBL Trophy slip out of their hands into the gleeful hands of the City Royals after a thrilling overtime contest at the Emirates Arena In Glasgow.

The Lions miss out on the chance to add to the BBL Cup title they won earlier in the year, whilst the Royals claim a Trophy in their first season in the BBL.

The Royals started the game the better, taking advantage of the missing Kervin Bristol to power on inside whilst the Lions took a little time to make the adjustment after Bristol’s admission into hospital. However great defence holding the Royals to just 4 field goals in the first quarter enables the smoother Lions offence to take the lead at the end of the quarter 11-15 with five different Lions already on the scoresheet.

In the second quarter, foul trouble began to play a part as the Lions were being bullied inside by Ashley Hamilton and Matthew Bryan-Amaning. 7 points from Hamilton rolled up and it was Amaning that gave the Royals the lead at 24-23 with 6 minutes of the quarter left. Brandon Peel responded with a two before Jordan Spencer splashed a three to put Lions back ahead. 25-28. The fouls on Lions were now leading to free throws as the Royals would eventually shoot 19 free throws in the game to the Lions’ 15.

Robinson and Hamilton exchanged three’s before the exciting Ladarius Tabb increased the lead once again, it was Amaning who reduced the deficit to 36-38 at the half. The second half was nicely tee’d up as 21 British players were contesting this final as well as the two Head Coaches being British.

Hamilton was the standout performer at the half for the Royals with 16 points aided by Amaning who was working hard in the key against the Lions’ reserve big men, Flo Larkai and Lamar Roberts. For Lions, Peel had 11 and Tabb 9.

In the third, Amaning would have his best quarter with 10 points and a number of rebounds and blocks as the Royals took it 20-15 despite Tabb’s points and a pair of three’s from Robinson, the Lions missed a lot of shots in the quarter and found themselves trailing 56-53 going into the final quarter.

Ironically, this was a great defensive quarter from the Lions, as they now found ways to unbalance the Royals, they missed 8 of their first 10 possessions to start the quarter as Andre Lockhart dragged the Lions back with 4 straight points and Robinson gave the Lions the lead at 61-62 with 7 minutes to play.

Coach Macaulay was rotating vigorously to prevent people fouling out whilst maintaining great intensity. Hamilton would tie at 62 before Lockhart and Robinson opened up a 5 point lead at 62-67 with five minutes to play.

Paul Guede found Tabb to extend the League before that man Hamilton dunked again. Ed Lucas hit a three to close to 67-69 with now three minutes remaining. Both teams had given an incredible effort and for the next two minutes no one could overcome the defence, it was left to Joe Ikhinmwin to hit a three to make it 67-72 before Hamilton dunked with 24 seconds remaining, Time out Royals 69-72.

The Lions defended the possession well, then with just 6 seconds left Lucas inexplicably was left loose to knock down the triple and take the game to overtime 72-72.

The momentum instantly shifted over to the Royals. They hit 8 unanswered points as the Lions could not recover from the blow and the rest of overtime played out even as Royals won 90-82.

Despite the Lions having 89 shots to the Royals’ 61 and taking 20 offensive rebounds, they couldn’t hit at enough of a rate to build a big lead at any time. The Royals found more joy under the basket and shot the ball with a much greater efficiency than the Lions, connecting on half of their field goal attempts.

Hamilton was key to the Royals success, scoring 25 points and adding 14 rebounds, deservedly being made the MVP. Robinson led Lions with 20 points 6 rebounds and 4 assists whilst Tabb had a double double of 19 points and 11 boards.

The Lions now travel to Plymouth on Sunday before returning to the Copper Box next Tuesday the 19th, to face the Royals in what will be a game with some extra spice.

Lions scorers – Robinson 20, Tabb 19 Peel 15, Lockhart 8, Spencer 6, Ikhinmwin 6, Larkai 4, Guede 3, Okoro 1, Roberts 0, James 0, Ekperuoh.

Royals Scorers – Bryan-Amaning 26, Hamilton 25, Neighbour 12.

Box score.