Contrasting games for NBL Lions

Division One team also in action on Sunday

London Lions’ NBL Division One teams face contrasting games this Saturday as the women host CoLA Southwark Pride and the men travel to Oaklands Wolves.

Southwark has started the season in excellent form, with wins against Reading Rockets, Anglia Ruskin University and Thames Valley Cavaliers seeing them go joint top the table with Loughborough Riders.

Molly Lavin leads a balanced offence for the Millwall-based side, averaging 12.5 points per game, adding five rebounds and two assists.

The women also face a home National Cup game on Sunday as they face Division Two side Northampton Titans – who have won their only game this season.

Lions’ men will face an Oaklands team who are one of five sides tied in seventh place with a 1&2 record, with their win coming at Loughborough Riders a fortnight ago and Mike New junior’s 23 points led them to a 85-79 success. However, Wolves’ five losses in league and L Lynch Trophy games have come by an average of 50.8 points.

In common with Lions, Wolves are built around an academy with three senior players. New, son of Lions’ legend Mike New, leads them with 19 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and one steal per game.

“It’s a busy weekend for us with a double head and Oaklands will be a tough game on Saturday” said coach James Vear. “I think they have started to find their feet and beating Loughborough in Loughborough is not easy. We’ve spent this week preparing for the game and looking at what they do.”

The game will see the debut of Elijah Maynard, and Vear is delighted that the  American guard is finally with his team: “Elijah is early in his Lions; career but he has the raw tools to be pretty good for us” he said. “He practiced with us on Thursday and he’s excited to finally be playing. We’re pretty much at full strength now, with the exception of Chem Emer who’s out until Christmas.”

There’s also a derby game at University of East London as UEL Lions host Barking Abbey Lions in Division Three.

Vear’s team are also in action on Sunday lunchtime as they travel to Sussex Bears in the National Cup third round.

Lions received a bye to the last 32, while Sussex finished strongly to win 73-70 at London United and have also won their opening two Division Two games.

“Bears are a tough one of the road” said Vear. “They’ve been in the National League for a number of years, and we played them with our second team. They’ve got a group of players who’ve been there a long time and have an experienced coach in Gary Smith.”

Some of Lions’ junior sides are also in National Cup games on Sunday.

The under-18 boys host Reading Rockets II at UEL while the under-16 boys are home against Baltic Stars II.