The Only Way is London as the Lions Hold the Essex Rebels to Single-Point Totals in Three out of Four Quarters to Claim Dominating 92-33 Mother’s Day Victory. Player of the Game, “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan Records 18-Point, 4-Rebound Performance.
The London Lions obliterated the Essex Rebels 92-33 in the first game of the Mother’s Day Doubleheader. As the saying goes, “Defence wins championships.” Although London’s offensive firepower was on display, their stifling defence was ultimately too much for the Rebels to overcome.
The Stella Kaltsidou-coached 2-way squadron stole the ball off the Rebels 18 times and grabbed a total of 30 defensive rebounds. These feats helped the home team generate 28 points off turnovers and 26 fast break points.
The Londoner’s good fortune started at the tipoff after vet Azania Stewart won the contest, poking the ball to Katsiaryna Snytsina, who then sent a football throw-in-esque pass to the welcoming hands of GB star Holly Winterburn for an open layup.
Winterburn’s bucket ignited a 17-0 tidal wave of offensive might that zapped the confidence out of the Colchester-based outfit. However, the Lions' offensive brawn was galvanised by their suffocating defence, generating the first three of their 18 total steals during the early run.
One of the main benefactors of this early thievery and overall stifling defence was Player of the Game, “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan. The former South Carolina Gamecock star put the Lions 9-0 ahead, with a 3-point make, after Taylor Murray picked the pockets of Essex captain Andrea Kohlhaas for her second consecutive steal. London then forced Essex into bad shots that the Londoners turned into fast break points.
Kiki’s poorly contested triple capped off the 17-0 charge that Rebel forward Claire Paxton didn’t close out quickly enough on. The Rebels had to wait until the 05:21 mark of the quarter to record points on the board, albeit via a free throw shot. Essex had to wait an additional one and a half minutes to book points via open play. By that time, London held a commanding 20-5 lead and kept on going from strength to strength.
London’s tsunami scoring output continued as they wrapped up the quarter on a 13-4 run. This surge was highlighted by Skipper Shanice Beckford-Norton's right-hand reverse-and-1 layup and Country music-loving guard Leslie Vorpahl's buzzer-beating floater to end the period (33-9).
The Rebels got off to a good start in the second quarter when their opening action, off an initial dribble-hand-off and a brush screen, allowed big Sune Swart to drive baseline and blow by Ty Battle for a 2-point layup (33-11).
Although London got back to stifling Essex’s offence, forcing them into bad shots and turnovers, they, too, struggled to convert their chances and were forced into turnovers. At the 06:49 mark of the second quarter, Ashleigh Munns turned Winterburn’s unforced turnover into a fast break transition 3-point make off Megan Haines’ assist (33-14).
Winterburn made up for her earlier mishap, scoring London’s first points of the period (36-14). The Rebels' return fire at the charity stripe at the 06:15 mark was the last time they scored in the period (36-16). From then on, until the end of the quarter… The Only Way was London!
The Lions went on another 17-0 run in the last six minutes of the quarter (55-16), hitting two 3-pointers, grabbing two steals and six defensive rebounds, and blocking one shot. A quarter-ending-buzzer-beater, this time from Azania Stewart, once again capped off this almighty 2-way surge.
The Londoners held the Rebels to seven points, in the third quarter, for the second consecutive period. The Lions accumulated five steals and two blocks during this time, continuing to apply pressure on the Rebels. Chantel Charles’ quarter-ending block on Megan Haines was a testament to the tough and unforgiving defence the Lions played throughout the quarter.
Although London scored fewer points and conceded more points in the fourth quarter than they did in the previous three (16-10), there was absolutely no comeback in sight. The lowest the Rebels cut the lead to during the fourth quarter was 54 points. Unfortunately, that soon got extended to 61 points with 01:35 left on the clock but then cut to 59 points with 35 seconds left in the game.
Celebrating her first-ever British Mother’s Day was Player of the game, “Kiki” “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan, who connected on three 3-points, and all three of her charity stripe shots to record an 18-Point, 4-Rebound, 2-assist and 1-steal performance. Playmaker, Holly Winterburn recorded 15 points whilst dishing out seven assists, grabbing six rebounds, and three steals.
2-way queen Taylor Murray literally stole the show on the defensive end with a game-leading five steals to go with one block, three assists, five rebounds and eight points. Katsiaryna Snytsina contributed seven points, three rebounds, and four assists and helped suffocate the Rebel defence to three huge steals.
Point guard Leslie Vorpahl knocked 57% of her field goals off the bench, on her way to ten points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals. Skipper helped the bench mob with nine points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Ty Battle contributed eight points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.