Difficult weekend for young Lions
Division One side taste defeat in three games
It was a difficult weekend for Lions’ two NBL Division One teams as they lost their three games.
The women suffered a heart-breaking 57-56 home loss against Worcester Wolves, on Saturday.
Fatmata Janneh’s had taken her personal tally to a season-high 31 points with 32 seconds remaining but she was called for a foul on Carolina Marques with a couple of seconds on the clock and the visiting player missed the first free-throw before hitting the winner.
Earlier in the game, the young Lions had overcome a 21-16 first period deficit to lead 34-33 going into the locker room. Wolves fought back and it took a Nicholle Lavinier pull up jump shot to keep the home side within three at 44-41 heading into the final break.
Lions trailed by five heading into the final 2:46 before Lavinier hit another triple to set up the grandstand finish.
Janneh added ten rebounds for a double-double, along with three assists and as many steals. Lavinier finished with nine points while Clementina Odom had 13 rebounds to go with her four points. Shanice Turner and Chandre Nunez each finished with 12 points for the Wolves.
There was no joy for the men immediately afterwards as they lost 93-75 against strugglers Loughborough Riders.
Elliott Maynard led James Vear’s team with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Bradley Kaboza added 16 points and seven boards. Brandon Tchouya had 12 points and six rebounds but foul trouble limited leading scorer Jase Harrison had he left the game after just 17 minutes of action due to foul trouble, finishing with ten points and three assists. Justin Hedley led the visitors with 19 points and four assists, missing a double-double by a single rebound.
A tight first period saw Maynard give Lions a late lead only to a three point play from Hayden give Riders a 25-24 advantage at the first break. Tchouya made it a one point game with 4:17 remaining in the first half before Riders finished strongly to go into the locker room 46-39 ahead.
Loughborough’s lead grew to 54-41 with an 8-1 run to start the second half and they never looked back as they outscored the young London team 21-16 in the third period and 26-20 in the fourth.
The following day saw a better performance but it wasn’t enough to prevent Vear’s side going down 94-85 at Worthing Thunder.
Harrison was back on form with 24 points, five assists and four points, while Maynard added 20 points and six boards. Kaboza finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Tchouya added 12 points along with four rebounds and as many assists. Jarred Dixon led the hosts with 24 points, eight boards and four assists.
Maynard hit a triple and then drove to the hoop as Lions played their best basketball of the game in the first period, leading 8-3 after two and half minutes. Tchouya and Kaboza joined in the three-point barrage before Harrison drained from downtown to send Lions into the first break leading 28-25.
Maynard sunk a pair at the foul line to give London a three point lead a minute into the second period but proved to be as good as it got for Vear’s team as Thunder went on an 8-0 run to take the lead. Kaboza hit a three to give Lions a two point lead into the final minute of the half but former Lion Zaire Taylor answered from downtown before Jorge Ebanks free-throw gave the hosts a 46-44 half-time lead.
Dixon scored the first eight points of the second half to take the lead into double figures before Harrison’s trey broke the run, and Thunder went into the final break 63-58 ahead.
Hafeez Abdul’s trey capped a 10-0 run to start the fourth period as the home side opened a 17-point lead but three point plays from Tchouya and Harrison saw Lions get the deficit down to ten with six minutes remaining
A pair of Kaboza free-throws made it an nine point game with just under two minutes left before a rare four-point play from Harrison cut the deficit to eight before another former Lion, Ish Fontaine, hit a triple ended any thoughts of a comeback.