Sevenoaks Suns
London Lions

The London Lions Overcome First & Second Quarter Scares to Beat Sevenoaks Suns 69-91. Player of the Game, Leslie Vorpahl, Achieved WBBL Career High Totals of 16 Points and 8 Assists to go with 4 Rebounds and 1 Steal.

Less than a week after winning the 2023 WBBL Trophy, the London Lions returned to regular season action, picking up a 69-91 win against a highly competitive Sevenoaks Suns side.  

In basketball, the final scores don’t always tell the whole story, as many people would look at the game’s result and assume the encounter was a walk in the park for the Lions. However, this clash was far from it! Sevenoaks caused the Lions many problems throughout the first half of the clash, taking a 22-21 lead into the second quarter and trailing by just three points going into the halfway break.

The first quarter was an absolute tussle that saw the Suns constantly keep the Lions at bay as they attempted to wrestle the lead back from Sevenoaks. 2023 WBBL Trophy Final MVP “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan and Azania Stewart got things going for the Lions (0-4) shortly before Suns’ guards Renee Busch and Judit Fritz returned fire, taking a 6-4 lead following their back-to-back triples. 

London would fight back into the game, tying the score twice (6-6 and 8-8) before Janice Monakana connected from long-range to give the Suns a three-point lead (11-8). The Renee Busch-captained outfit spent the next four minutes keeping London at bay but failing to extend their advantage to more than three points. 

London took a brief lead after Ty Battle’s and-1 efforts (16-17), but back-to-back trips to the free throw line for Busch allowed the Suns to snatch the advantage back (20-17). This time, a third trip to the line by Fritz helped push Sevenoaks to forge three points ahead (22-19) before Battle, who finished the game with 15 points, cut the lead down to one point before the end of the period.

After Brittany Hodges helped the Suns extend the lead back to three points at the beginning of the quarter (24-21), Sevenoaks were forced to wait almost three minutes to score again. Unfortunately, the Lions couldn’t take full advantage of their tightened defence, recording only two points during this time whilst missing four well-orchestrated opportunities (24-23).

Holly Winterburn and Leslie Vorpahl helped London take a brief lead (26-28) at the 06:16 mark of the quarter, shortly before the Suns tied the game and pushed two points ahead (30-28). Sevenoaks then held onto their advantage for just over two minutes, taking a beatable eight-point lead (38-30) into the last three minutes of the quarter. 

London would change the game's momentum, going on a ferocious 14-0 surge with less than 40 seconds left in the period (38-44) but conceding three points toward the end of the period (41-44).

Katsiaryna Snytsina opened the third-quarter account for the Lions (41-46), but the Suns fought their way back into the content, taking a 49-48 lead two minutes later. Monakana and Hodges helped Sevenoaks forge five points ahead (55-50) before the Lions snatched the lead back one minute later (55-58). London went on the blitz of the Suns' defence to the tune of a 12-4 surge to take an eight-point advantage into the last quarter. 

Vorpahl opened the quarter with a layup, followed by Chantel Charles’ two makes from the free throw line (59-71). The Suns attempted to fight back but couldn't shave the lead down further than 12 points (67-79). London closed the game on a 10-2 run to give the visitors the 69-91 victory.

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