London Lions 104-89 London City Royals (21-19, 44-48, 76-66)
Copper Box Arena 12 January 2020
London Lions overcame London City Royals to take Sunday’s derby and stay clear at the top of the table in front of a very large Copper Box crowd.
Once again, GB International Ovie Soko led his side to victory, knocking down 32 points and capturing nine rebounds, likely earning himself a spot in the next All-Star Five lineup, and just one rebound off obtaining what would’ve been his third double-double since joining the Lions in December, and his second of the weekend having picked one up on Friday.
After four minutes of play in the first quarter, the teams were tied at 8 apiece with no one making inroads. By the time Jordan Whelan had come off the bench to hit a driving lay up, the home side had the edge 15-12. Four points each from Soko and Andre Lockhart meant at 21-14 the Lions had an edge, however that only served to heat up the visiting Royals. A 5-0 finish from Ed Lucas and Kyle Carey reduced the deficit at the end of the quarter to 21-19 and a glimmer of what the Royals had in store in the second.
From 29-27 after three minutes the visitors hit four three pointers in a row as they opened up a lead of their own, 34-36 as the Lions tried to plug the gaps whilst Buay Tuach netted his first points at home. Two more triples from Elvisi Dusha meant the Royals had an unlikely lead going into half time, 44-48.
The Lions had been careless in that quarter and that was certainly addressed in the break. The triples started to rain in from the opposite end as Justin Robinson sandwiched his two either side of one from Jules Dang-Akodo tieing the game at 54. Joe Ikhinmwin broke that and the Lions showed good footspeed to score a couple in transition and the lead was 10 at 69-59. A further 5 unanswered were capped by a Soko triple and as the Royals steadied, the quarter ended 76-66.
An injury to Ali Tew saw him leave the game at the end of the third. The home side extended their lead as Tuach brought the house down with a thunderous dunk igniting the crowd who were enjoying the Lions display. The lead peaked at 17 when Soko nailed his second triple and from there the Lions saw the game out moving to a 6-1 record at the top.
Brandon Peel managed to pick up a double-double for himself however, posting 14 points and 12 rebounds and league MVP Justin Robinson was key also to the Lions’ win, finishing with 26 points and six assists.
Report; Duncan Hooper, Pics; Carol Mir.
The Royals had Orlan Jackman on 20 and Ed Lucas on 18. Lions are back in action this Friday when they host the Surrey Scorchers at the Copper Box. Tickets available HERE;