Lions maintain off late Phoenix rise


BBL Championship
London Lions 89-79 Cheshire Phoenix (15-18, 34-17, 25-18, 15-24)
Lions – Zubčić 19, Soko 14, Sharma 13; Phoenix – Austin 26, Anderson 15, Teague 12

After shedding a detailed 7Days EuroCup contest in opposition to Gran Canaria earlier within the week, the London Lions received a much-needed 89-79 win over Cheshire Phoenix.

The win for London maintains their grip on the highest spot within the BBL Championship and builds some momentum heading into the BBL Cup Finals on Sunday.

Luckily for the house crew, the Cheshire Phoenix travelled to the CopperBox Enviornment with some our bodies lacking. 

James Worth stepped in for regular coach Ben Thomas – who was away from the crew to welcome his new child into the world; Lloyd Daniels broke his hand in observe; and sickness hit others within the locker room.

Cheshire’s Larry Austin put in an enormous effort with 26 factors to maintain the guests within the struggle, however Tomislav Zubčić’s 19 factors led a balanced Lions assault.

After being named MVP, the Croatian prime scorer informed Azania Stewart on the printed: “It was a troublesome sport coming off the loss in EuroCup, however we managed to provide our effort and get the win.

“It’s undoubtedly been a troublesome schedule, however we’ve got virtually a full crew, so it’ll be simpler to play with a full roster.”

The Lions’ Jordan Taylor opened up the competition with an in-rhythm, mid-range bounce shot coming round a display on the left aspect. 

This was adopted by back-to-back drives from Taylor and his teammate Luke Nelson.

Josh Sharma confirmed his vary for the crew by stepping out behind the three-point line after the defence collapsed on Nelson when the purpose guard discovered his approach to the bucket on an out-of-bounds play. 

The guard handed out of the drive, and the ball discovered its approach to the massive man on the prime of the three-point arc.

It was an good early stretch for the house crew, however it didn’t take lengthy for the travellers to heat up. Cheshire’s Tahjai Teague received a number of pictures to go, and Jamell Anderson scored from three-point territory. 

Getting again to what the gang loves him for, Sharma threw down a dunk off a slick cross from Nelson, which was instigated by Sam Dekker choosing the pocket of Teague on the opposite finish.

The Phoenix pushed forward because of some Larry Austin motion – he received concerned as a scorer and a defender and assisted Teague to go up 15-11 with two minutes to go, and Cheshire completed the primary ten minutes with the lead.

London’s bench mob helped them get again into the sport within the second quarter. Ovie Soko attacked the rack, and Lions coach Ryan Schmidt unleashed Mo Soluade from distance – he hit three out of 4 pictures from three for 9 fast factors in his first 10 minutes.

This helped open up a niche for the house crew. Taylor discovered Sharma for one more large dunk on the alley-oop, and Tomislav Zubčić scored 5 fast factors after a few free throws and a three-pointer.

Teague scored for Cheshire, however as the primary half closed, Taylor recognised the dwindling clock and received into the lane for a walk-off layup.


The second half started for London with a Taylor-Sharma pick-and-roll, however the Phoenix have been nicely ready for a lob play – the veteran Lions level guard recognised the paint defence and located Dekker vast open within the nook.

Sharma punished the Phoenix by getting open on a fast-break alternative for a transition dunk, then blocked Austin and Evans on successive defensive possessions.

As is commonly the case, the Lions’ defence locked down, and inside two minutes, a 21-point hole had opened up. 

That’s when Zubčić stepped up. He’s not identified for attacking the paint, however Taylor served up an open lane for the ahead to get a layup and a foul. He was left vast open on the perimeter for 3 on the following possession. And eager to point out off his versatility, he demanded the ball on the low publish and hit a turnaround fadeaway in opposition to robust defence. 

The Phoenix saved battling regardless of the rising hole as Maceo Jack received to the road for a few free throws.

Cheshire’s Jamell Anderson handled the strain nicely on the following play. He saved the deflected ball within the nook with no actual angle and created sufficient separation on a baseline drive to search out Jack on a cross-court cross for a troublesome fadeaway.

Austin then received to the road for a number of units of free throws. He hit 4 straight and the Phoenix upped the defensive strain to drive some Lions turnovers.

Austin saved this momentum going into the fourth quarter and opened up the ultimate body with a layup to chop the hole to 17.

Cheshire continued to chip away and have been inside 11 with three minutes to go. However London’s Sam Dekker drove your complete size of the court docket for a layup to maintain the opponents at bay.

A beautiful cross from Cheshire’s Will Neighbour to a baseline-cutting Teague saved the strain on London, and a Jack steal pushed the ball forward to Austin to get free in transition – he received fouled on the layup and scored the free throw.

Cheshire missed back-to-back open threes as the sport clock dipped under a minute, which led to a Soko layup to maintain the lead at 13, which put it out of attain with 30 seconds to go.

The late problem gave the Lions a contest that may have helped sharpen their minds going into the BBL Cup Finals on Sunday, however it marked Cheshire’s fourth loss to London this season.

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