Scotland’s Glasgow Rocks won two away matches in two days to climb to sixth in the British Basketball League standings and keep their title hopes well and truly alive.
Great British forward Kieron Achara was instrumental in each game this weekend, top-scoring in both matches with a points total of 47 overall. Both he and Donald Robinson combined frequently against Plymouth Raiders, combining with 30 points in the first twenty minutes and maintained pressure on the home team even after Plymouth rallied to a 5-point gap at one point. A 15-2 comeback from the Raiders put Glasgow on edge and within one point from victory but Achara’s men held on and continued their momentum from a win against London Lions last week. The match against Surrey Heat was much the same, holding the hosts at arms length and stopped them getting within more than 4 points from the Rocks.
Elsewhere, the defranchised Cheshire usurped fellow strugglers Manchester Giants with a tight 83-81 win at the Northgate Arena. Alif Bland was one of the BBL’s top players this weekend and his late, late shot from beyond the 3-point line gave Cheshire the last-minute win. The victors move above their rivals in the table, as well as climbing above Durham Wildcats, who have now played the same amount of games.
Leicester Riders took advantage of Newcastle Eagles’ inactivity this week to build up a 4-point lead in the table following wins against Manchester and Mersey Tigers. Both Leicester and Newcastle have only slipped up once this season, but the Eagles have played two less matches and can recover the deficit in the weeks to come. Even so, Leicester will be heartened in the way they prevented Mersey from scoring any more than 40 points in the one-sided game. Their own Connor Washington was also in fine form against the backmarkers, scoring seven triples from eleven attempts, five assists, three rebounds and two steals.
In a high-scoring match, Plymouth Raiders held London Lions with a 10-point lead. Most sides would have crushed their opponents by totting up 98 points, but they weren’t expecting the hosts to notch up 108. Plymouth’s win sends them up the table above Worcester Wolves, with London falling in the opposite direction.
There’s starting to be a real worry for me that Mersey Tigers won’t manage to grab a single win in this championship. They host Surrey Heat next Friday and travel to London Lions on Sunday, but I can’t seem them improving their stature in either fixture. Whilst the real action is going on with the Newcastles and Leicesters of the game, it’s important to focus on the strugglers once in a while and hope they won’t fade into complete obscurity. A successful BBL needs to be a competitive one.