Basketball: Plymouth Raiders 83 Leeds Force 73: Force look sluggish as Raiders rally late on
Leeds Force couldn't reproduce the display that saw them beat Newcastle Eagles on Friday as they fell away to the Plymouth Raiders 83-73, writes ARIF AHMED.
A 600-mile round trip nd Force tired in the final moments. Rob Marsden top scored with 21 points including a massive 14 rebounds for his second double double of the weekend.
Sluggish Force struggled to reproduce the fast-paced ball play they showed 48 hours earlier. The opening quarter was tight. Leeds managed to get in front only once in the opening exchanges.
Marsden was the key figure for Leeds as he consistently found the basket. The scoreboard looked even at the end of the 1st before Anton Grady scored two quick-fire baskets to give his side a two-point lead. Those baskets gave the Raiders the momentum.
Plymouth pushed out to six points ahead before Jack Isenbarger came to the fore again for the Force with three big triples. With just over a minute left in the half Leeds went on a 6-0 run, their biggest at that stage to turn the game around and go in at the break 38-40 ahead.
Leeds carried that run over into the 3rd, turning a 6-0 run into 10-2 early on to regain their six-point lead.
Donte Nicholas and Corey Dixon replied for Raiders which brought the game back within two points.
Leeds tried to keep their noses in front but were pulled back late in the quarter through Anton Grady.
Eddie Matthew then came up with two carbon-copy baskets from the corner to give Force the lead again.
Plymouth again showed their resilience as they levelled the score with just 30 seconds left in the quarter.
The scoring wasn’t done there as Aidan Appleyard popped up in the corner to sink an important triple to give Force a three-point lead.
Plymouth blew the Force away in the opening minutes of the 4th quarter – a 12-2 blitz earning a seven-point lead. Leeds kept going and got the deficit down to two with 90 seconds left, but as the Force went on the attack Plymouth hit them on the counter to win the game comfortably in the end.