London Lions 100-99 London City Royals (26-25, 53-46, 79-78)
Copper Box Arena
Friday 1 November 2019
The London Lions conquered previously undefeated local rivals London City Royals, 100-99, in a tense encounter, as roared on by the loudest home crowd in some time, Jorge Romero hit a running three pointer to hit the final score in the game and bring up the hundred.
In a game that the home side had dominated for most of the first half, Vince Macaulay’s men shrugged off the lack of significant inside presence to hit the Royals in the mouth first.
Brandon Peel and Justin Robinson with their usual efforts were ably assisted by Romero, Dang-Akodo and a simmering Allen-Jordan. Smooth Lions offence put players in position to score whilst Joe Ikhinmwin and Peel sought ways to hold off the Lavrinovic twins and the versatile Will Neighbour to lead 26-25.
Tough defence by Dang-Akodo and Allen-Jordan on Royals; Matt Scott limited the influential American to just 4 first half pints as the Lions went into the locker room 7 points to the good, 53-46.
The third quarter saw Lions struggle to contain the post play of Darius Lavrinovic, not so much from scoring but opening opportunities for team mates on the perimeter, Orlan Jackman nailed a pair of threes as did Kyle Carey. Entering the fourth quarter it was a one point Lions lead 79-78.
The fourth saw Royals hit back hard, more from Jackman and a pair of Neighbour scores saw a 10-0 run. Lions chased hard to no avail and took rushed shots as the lead ballooned and at 86-99 with 4.22 left of the fourth.
The Royals would not trouble the scoreboard anymore. An unsportsmanlike foul by Carey on Andre Lockhart saw the Lion hit from the free throw line. Two Romero defensive rebounds led to Allen-Jordan scores. Then as panic set in amongst the Royals, Coach Lloyd Gardner was hit for a technical after several warnings before Matt Scott grabbed Romero on a drive mid-court, all of a sudden it was 95-99 as Romero’s running floater dropped. Then that man Allen-Jordan again came up with a huge block on a Scott three point attempt, which led to Peel being fouled on the rebound, 97-99 with a minute left.
The noise was now deafening as the crowd roared, Justin Robinson grabbed the defensive rebound off a Jackman attempt, drove hard and hit Romero running down the wings, the Spaniard nailed the three and brought the roof down and a timeout to the Royals, 100-99.
Out of the time out, Royals found Lavrinovic under the basket, as he turned he was called for a charge smacking Allen-Jordan in the face. Lions ball. As the home team ran a play, Lockhart slipped and the ball bobbled out of bounds. Scott came forward and missed his three. With the last possession, Lions ran it through and as the ball came to Robinson, Scott stole it and as Royals charged up to try and win, out of nowhere, Lockhart stole the ball but ran it out of bounds with 1.5 seconds left. Royals took their last time out and found Scott on the baseline as he turned he was smothered by sub, Jordan Jackson’s 6’10” frame and his attempt fell short as L:ions defence stood strong to take the win.
Robinson’s 23 points led the Lions, whilst Peel had 22 and 14 boards. Jackman led the Royals with 24 points while Neighbour chipped in with 17.