With another incredible few rounds of BBL action is in the books, let’s recap the winners and losers of the weekend, and what it means for the playoffs.
The Cheshire Phoenix had mixed results on the weekend, losing 95-81 to the Plymouth Raiders Friday night but getting a big win over the inconsistent London Lions at home 111-94. The Raiders top scorer Friday was Anton Gray with 26 points plus 11 rebounds in a disciplined game from the Plymouth outfit sending Chester’s lights out shooters to the line only 10 times all game.
The Worcester Wolves were perfect again this weekend, and are unbeaten now in their last 8 games, dating back to the start of February, an incredible run which has seen them beat the best sides in the league including Newcastle and Leicester. The Wolves got the better of both Glasgow and Newcastle this weekend to secure their place as the in-form team as we close in on the playoffs.
The Wolves win over the Newcastle Eagles was particularly dominant, Friday night, with a 126-97. The Wolves took the lead mid-way through the first quarter and never looked like giving it up as Trey Ziegler dominated in scoring, bagging 37 points in 27 minutes.
Also on Friday night, the Leeds Force won the battle at the bottom, beating the Manchester Giants at home with a scoreline of 88-80. Jack Isenbarger’s 29 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists proving the difference in Leeds, but he was shut down by the soaring Bristol Flyers on Saturday as Leeds would pick up the loss 85-77. Jermaine Sanders would top score for Leeds against Bristol with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists in the losing effort.
The Sheffield Sharks only played once this weekend, being soundly beaten at home by the Glasgow Rocks, falling 55-84. The Scottish side was lead by the scoring of Kieron Achara’s 24 points and 10 rebounds in a low-scoring game in the Steel city. Glasgow’s second game of the weekend was that loss to the Wolves where once again Achara was the driving force for the Rocks, scoring 19 points in the losing effort. Jernel Kennedy capped a great weekend for the Wolves with a double-double, 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The league-leading Leicester Riders picked up to double-digit victories this weekend, with an 88-71 home win over the Raiders and a 71-85 win away to the Surrey Scorchers. Brandon Clark top-scored Saturday night with 18 points for the Riders and it was GB veteran Andrew Sullivan who would lead the scoring against the Scorchers with 19 points off the bench.
Mike DiNunno of the Cheshire Phoenix wins the SplitFocusSports.com player of the week honours for an incredible 40 point night against the London Lions at home. DiNunno who slew the Lions two weeks ago at the Copper Box, with a contested 3 pointer at the buzzer, was dominant again draining 8 three pointers and a perfect 10 from 10 at the line.
The action this weekend has left the Riders comfortably at the top of the standings with a 24-4 record with 3 games remaining. The Eagles, Rocks, Sharks and Wolves are all comfortably in the playoffs with the Lions and Raiders only requiring one more win to punch their ticket to the postseason.
The chase for the 8th seed in the BBL is red hot with 3 teams battling for the final remaining playoff berth. The 3 remaining rounds of BBL basketball will decide which of the Surrey Scorchers, Bristol Flyers and the Cheshire Phoenix will play post-season ball.
The Scorchers currently hold the 8th seed with a 13-17 record but with only one game left to play, against the Phoenix on the 15th April. The Flyers, currently 9th, are looking good for the playoffs with 3 games remaining and a 12-16 record. The Flyers require 2 wins from their last 3 games.
The third team in the mix is the long shot Cheshire Phoenix, riding high after some massive wins, but still with only a 9-19 record with 3 games to play. They have a road and home series with the Flyers this weekend which could settle the fate of both teams. If the Phoenix fail to win both games they’re out of the playoff picture. If the Flyers split the series, their season will go to wire away at the Sheffield Sharks on the 14th in the biggest game of the regular season.
The race for the playoffs could not be any closer as we look forward to another incredible slate of games in the BBL this week.
Splitfocussports will have a post-match report of the London Lions Newcastle Eagles clash as well as a full roundup of next weekend’s crucial games.