Play-off chasing Force manage to keep Giants at arms’ length – Sayers

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Coming off the back of a thrilling win the previous against the Bristol Flyers, Leeds Force were determined to make it two wins in a row this week in our game against the Giants.

Despite Manchester being bottom of the league, we’ve seen them give some strong teams something to think about in recent weeks so we were not going to be complacent.

There was a sense of anticipation in the air as fans arrived at the Carnegie Sports Arena hoping for even half as much excitement as the week before.

As the stands began to fill and tip-off drew nearer, the team locked in.

The first quarter was reasonably close all the way through until the final couple of minutes where we were propelled ahead by three baskets in quick succession, including a buzzer beating three-pointer from Eddie Matthew!

We picked up right where we left off and managed to extend our lead to as much as 17 points in the second quarter.

Our energy on defence made it difficult for the Giants to get into rhythm offensively.

As we started to get stops, it led to some easy baskets in transition and, therefore, a comfortable lead at the half-time break (50-33).

The third quarter followed suit as we continued to increase our lead.

We were executing on offence, getting stops on defence and were feeling very comfortable.

However, Manchester are a team that can put points on the board in a real hurry and we knew a run was likely to come at some point so we remained focused. Sure enough, to start the final period, the Giants came back to life and before we knew it the deficit was only seven points.

So, with just four minutes left in the game, it was a case of knuckling down and finishing the job.

The visitors wouldn’t get any closer than that for the rest of the game and a flurry of three-pointers from Marek Klassen, Kwan Waller and yours truly (Louis Sayers) made sure of it! The game finished 84-70 as Force took the win.

Force’s top scorer on the night was Rob Marsden, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

He was followed closely by Waller and Klassen, who had 17 points each. Klassen was just two rebounds shy of a triple-double performance with 13 assists and eight rebounds to go with his double-digit scoring.

Elsewhere in the BBL last weekend there was some silverware up for grabs as the Leicester Riders and the Newcastle Eagles faced off in the BBL Trophy Final. It was not long ago that they faced each other in the BBL Cup final when Newcastle came out on top.

This time was a different story as Riders’ forward, Drew Sullivan, led his team to victory on the back of his MVP performance (22 points, seven rebounds).

It proved difficult for the Eagles to top the Riders on the night as five Leicester players finished with double-figure scoring.

This weekend (Friday, March 4, 7.30pm) Leeds Force take on the Worcester Wolves in a game that will definitely be worth a watch.

The Wolves are currently third in the BBL Championship and will be no easy task for us.

Hopefully, we’ll see as much support at the Carnegie Sports Arena this weekend as we have done in the last two weeks.

Andrew Hambleton.

Andrew Hambleton joins Leeds Force ahead of new season