Match Report: Lions II vs Essex Rebels

London Lions II continued their excellent start to the men’s NBL Division One season wit a 76-69 home victory against Essex Rebels, on Saturday.

Bradley Kaboza came off the bench to again lead Lions with 20 points, adding seven rebounds. Jase Harrison had six boards and five assists to go with his 16 points, while Elijah Maynard had 13 points and seven rebounds,  Brandon Tchouya finished with 10 points and eight boards while conversely Ignas Juskevicius had eight rebounds to go with his ten points. Matthew Ashley led the visitors with 18 points and five rebounds, while Rory Winter had 15 points, five boards and four assists.

Despite the victory, coach James Vear was far from impressed with his side’s performance:

“It was a good win but over-all it was a pretty poor performance” he admitted. “We started really well and we were up by about 15 in the first quarter but we took out foot off the gas and became a bit complacent. We let their main guys take over, Tom Child and Rory Winter played well and their new American, Ashley, got going in the second half.
“I said to the guys that we’ll need to be better than that if we have play-off aspirations, but it’s good that they agreed. We got some good stops down the stretch, and it’s a good win against a side who I think will move away from the bottom of the table and challenge for the play-offs.”

A good start proved crucial for Vear’s team as Harrison sunk a triple to make it 11-6 after four minutes before scores from Kaboza and Harrison extended that advantage to 17-6 a minute later, and despite Ashley’s triple the hosts led 20-14 at the first break.

Reese Sundimalt opened the second period scoring and Kaboza made it a double-digit lead with a pair at the foul line as Lions led for the whole quarter before Juskevicius’ lay-up sent London into the locker room leading 38-33.

Maynard and Winter exchanged triples as Lions reached the mid-stage of the third period with a 51-44 lead and Harrison hit a three to keep the hosts ahead 59-53 going into the final two minutes of the period.

Denilson Caschili, scored the Land of Plenty to give Lions a 62-54 lead at the final break but Ben Winter’s drive saw the visitors make it a four point with five minutes remaining. Kaboza struck from downtown to steady the hosts’ nerves and scores from Maynard and Kaboza made it an 11-point game with four minutes left.

Mayo Adeyeye cut that lead to five with two minutes on the clock as he hit back-to-back baskets but that was as close as they came as they were held scoreless for the rest of the game, with Kaboza wrapping up the win at the foul line.