Plymouth City Patriots
London Lions

London Lions Blow Out Plymouth City Patriots 102-51. Player of the Game, Mo Soluade, Shines in Road Win, Shooting 75% from Long-Range En Route to an 11-Point, 6-Rebound, 5-Assist Performance. Whole Team Combines for 33 Assists. 

After their hard-fought win against Manchester, the capital city favourites travelled to Devon’s port city for their regular season clash with the Plymouth City Patriots. The encounter, London’s fifth in nine days, saw the Lions claim their twenty-fourth victory of the regular season and extend their lead at the top of the standings.

Although Coach Ryan Schmidt’s men drew first blood via Sam Dekker’s opening alley-oop dunk off Miye Oni’s dime, they soon found themselves 4-2 down. However, this initial lead didn’t last long as Berkshire native and eventual Player of the Game Mo Soluade tied the game shortly before Jordan Taylor sunk the first of his two triples (4-7). 

London Lions' now-famed defensive identity was on full display throughout the game and got off to a great start when Dekker picked off former London City Royal Elvisi Dusha’s sloppy pass. The combo forward turned the Albania national team player’s live ball turnover into a fast-break transition alley-oop dunk when he laid the rock off to Oni, who hit big man Josh Sharma with a high-IQ dime for the flush (4-11). 

The Lions finished the game with thirty-three total assists, some of which were seen during their early run to an 8-18 lead. London’s eighteenth point came after the team’s sublime ball movement around the arc, eventually finding skipper Aaron Best on the wing, who gave up his good shot for Josh Ward-Hibbert’s better wide-open corner three opportunity. Jonathan “Jono” Komagum’s pushed the London advantage to 8-20 shortly before former London Lion Jules Dang Akodo simmered local frustrations with Plymouth’s tenth point. 

The second quarter saw the London light up the Plymouth Pavilions like a Christmas, sinking seven total triples, once again via excellent ball movement. Vojtech Hruban got the Lions off to a great start connecting on a contested triple via Best’s assist. Aaron Best, who finished the game with ten points and five rebounds, continued his tyranny, knocking down back-to-back triples to earn the Londoners a well-deserved 10-30 control on the game. 

Tomislav “Zuba” Zubcic followed up on the captain’s exceptional solo run with a triple of his own after Rashad Hassan’s bucket (12-33). Dekker’s Soluade-assisted corner trey ball completed the Lions' 17-2 surge, which gave them a healthy 12-38 lead. 

Although sporting a 26-point lead, London had to battle several through suspicious calls to remain focussed and not enable Plymouth to claw their way back into the game. Alas, said calls, following Hassan’s open play bucket, allowed the southwest England outfit to close the gap to twenty-two points. However, talisman Sam Dekker quietened the Patriot fans when he hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back up to twenty-five points 16-41). 

Both teams spent the next two minutes trading buckets during a 4-6 rally in favour of the Lions, but more suspicious calls continued to hamper the Londoners. Subsequently, the home-town favourites were sent to the charity stripe four times in the last 90 seconds, cutting the visitor’s advantage back down to twenty-five points. 

By the end of the second period, the London Lions found themselves dominating the Plymouth City Patriots in several key categories, including 3-point shooting (42%), assists (17), rebounds (23), points in the paint (14), and bench points (24).

The visitors got the third quarter off to a furious 7-2 start in front of the shell-shocked Plymouth fans, who assumed the end of the second quarter was the beginning of a comeback. The run included fine-tuned defensive runs, which were ruined by another errant foul call. This time Team GB star Josh Sharma was the victim after his seemingly clean block shot was called a foul. 

Undeterred by the calls, the Lions blazed the Patriot defence going on an 11-6 charge to give themselves a 35-68 hold on the game. After that, more sublime ball movement ripped through Plymouth’s defensive walls, including an action that saw Zubcic dime a wide-open Komagum in the low post (35-70). Best hit a long-range 2-pointer with 34 seconds left on the clock via Komagum’s hustle, heart and hard work on the offensive boards, creating second-chance opportunities for the team and eventually the skipper (38-72). 

The fourth quarter was the Lions second best defensive quarter, holding the home towners to eleven points. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Londoners as they initially struggled to connect from open play before Sharma’s put-back dunk off Jordan Taylor’s missed contested layup (42-76). 

Soon after, London went on another run (8-0), resulting in a 46-87 lead, highlighted by Josh Ward-Hibbert’s Hruban-assisted 3-pointer. Hassan’s 2-point bucket stopped the run momentarily, but his brace was let down by Plymouth’s shaky defensive walls, which allowed the visitors to go on a 10-0 surge (48-97). Dusha’s 3-pointer at the 02:25 mark was the last time Devon-outfit scored in the game. London ended the game on a 5-0 run to claim their third regular season win against Plymouth and yet another 100-point victory.  

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