Late-game turnaround is measure of Leeds Force’s true class – Sayers

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After last week’s heartbreaking one-point loss to the Worcester Wolves, we were eager to get back on court and get ourselves a win.

London Lions were always going to be a tough team to do that against but we had been proving to be a not-so-easy-to-beat team as well in recent weeks, so confidence levels were high.

The first quarter got off to a somewhat slow-paced and mundane start and the crowd struggled to get into the game.

It was a back-and-fourth affair until the closing minutes when Lions opened up a six-point lead (21-15).

As the second quarter got underway, it was obvious that the crowd were looking for something to cheer about.

Unfortunately, the early stages of the period didn’t give them what they wanted as the visitors continued to extend their lead.

However, we managed to pull back a few points before the close of the half with the help of some beautiful post moves courtesy of Rob Marsden.

We went into the break down by five points (38-33).

The Lions remained in control of the game for the majority of the third quarter, making play after play and responding to anything we threw at them.

Until, in true Force fashion, we closed a nine-point gap to a single point in the closing minutes of the period as Armand Anebo drained a three- pointer with seconds to go!

The fans had finally been given a reason to cheer and we didn’t want them to stop until the final buzzer.

We ramped up the defensive pressure and really focused in on offence.

Lions stayed around for some time, but the energy from a boisterous home crowd was just what we needed for a final push.

We took the lead at the five- minute mark in the fourth quarter and never looked back! The game finished 73-65.

Force’s top scorer on the night was Kwan Waller, who finished with 17 points. And Rob Marsden put in a great shift with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The night’s most impressive performance was that of Marek Klassen, who racked up a triple double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

After securing the win against the Lions, we now have three away games on the bounce – and all in the space of nine days. The first of those is a trip to Scotland as we endeavour to claim the head-to-head versus the Glasgow Rocks.

Next up is a midweek game in Sheffield where we hope to keep our play-off aspirations afloat, and not to be devoured by the Sharks.

To cap off a tough week we head back to Glasgow on Sunday, March 27 in an attempt to turn the Rocks to rubble.

The next time you see your Leeds Force at the Carnegie Sports Arena (Friday, April 1) we’ll be facing the London Lions once again.

Whoever wins this game will take the all-important head-to-head and give themselves a better chance of making the play-offs.

It would be great to see you Leeds fans out in force on game day to lend a helping hand in our effort to tame those Lions one more time.

Andrew Hambleton.

Andrew Hambleton joins Leeds Force ahead of new season