Basketball: Force fend off Surrey to keep double-digit win target on track

Dwayne Camille.
Dwayne Camille.
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Leeds Force withstood a comeback from Surrey United on Saturday night to propel us to 11th place in the BBL Championship.

Led by a huge 23 points from our point guard James McCann and an incredible team defensive performance in the third quarter, Force came away with a 76-73 win.

In a back-and-forth first half, neither team managed to establish any kind of advantage with Surrey edging it 35-34.

After a rally call from coaches Matt Newby and Samit Nuruzade at the half-time break, we came out as a different side for the second half.

One of our staples for this season has been our defence and we have always known that it’ll be key to winning games.

After Saturday’s game we are now the best defensive team in the league, conceding just 74 points per game.

And it was the defence that really shifted momentum in this game with an unbelievable display in the third quarter.

Holding Surrey to just six points in the third quarter gave Leeds an impressive 14-point lead going into the final stanza.

Due to technical issues, the game was not broadcast on BBL TV as originally scheduled, but that didn’t stop both teams putting on a show.

Surrey’s Dominic Coleman put the team on his back and after three consecutive three pointers, Force’s lead was down to just two points with five minutes to play.

Leeds’ former player Sam Attah did all he could to lead his team to victory and even put Surrey up by two points with 1:37 left to play in the game.

The lead was short lived and McCann tied the game at 68-68 from the free throw line.

With the stage set and his whole family in the crowd, Dwayne Camille stepped up to the spotlight.

Just one night after his career-high, 15-point performance against Worcester Wolves, Camille once again continued his fine form by hitting a huge three-pointer with less than one minute to play.

Surrey were forced to foul to chase the game, but Hall and McCann both kept their cool to seal the game.

Since moving to Leeds from London to play for the Force, Dwayne has been the perfect example of how hard work pays off.

When he first came to the programme he went from being the last guy off the bench at the start of the season to a starter in the play-off final.

Then this season has been a similar story. With a bolstered roster for the professional league, Dwayne slipped down the rotation and has played limited minutes for most part of the season.

Where that might discourage some people, it has just spurred him to compete harder for his spot.

And last weekend he was rewarded by coming up trumps when it mattered.

Despite mainly being known for his skills on the defensive end of the floor, Dwayne shot 4-8 from the three-point line over the last two games. His development is testament to his attitude and just proves to all young people that hard work really does pay off.

Now with just four games left to play in the season, we will try to achieve our ultimate goal of double-digit wins in our first season.

We will need every single one on the roster to step up and produce some season-best performances.

Our next game comes on Easter Sunday in a war of the roses clash.

Despite Manchester being two places above Leeds in the table, we are currently leading 2-1 in the series.

The stage is set for another fantastic game.

So, if you’re not busy this Sunday, why not head over to the Soccerdome in Manchester to help spur us onto victory.

Mika Turunen.

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