Basketball: Back-to-back wins are the next target for Leeds Force

Leeds Force captain 'Armand Anebo.
Leeds Force captain 'Armand Anebo.
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Leeds Force have proven they are competitive. Leeds Force have won a few games.

They have even gone on the road and claimed big scalps in Sheffield, London and Cheshire. The next challenge for the BBL rookies is to turn those three elements into a sequence.

For all their progress – their surprise wins at the Copper Box against the Lions and last Sunday against the top-four Phoenix – Leeds Force have yet to win back-to-back games.

That desire will fuel their trip to Bristol for a date with the Flyers tonight that pairs the two 2014-15 BBL inductees together.

“When you get those big wins you tend to get a bit complacent,” said captain Armand Anebo. “When we won in London for instance, two nights later we had to follow it up in Manchester and we couldn’t. We were a bit flat. Believe me, we are fighting hard to get those back-to-back wins. But you only get to that stage by taking it one game at a time, focusing on what’s in front of you will help in the long run.”

On certain occasions in their inaugural year among the basketball elite, Force have won on the Friday, but faltered 48 hours later. Last weekend proved the exception to the norm.

“We certainly played really well on Sunday against Cheshire,” observed the 27-year-old Ivorian-born forward, “whereas on Friday it was one good half against Leicester Riders and that was it. We got deflated a little bit too easily and kind of got demoralised by it all.

“If we are going to stay competitive we need every man to be focused from the get-go.”

Enhancing their defensive strength is seen as key to the offence: “Defensively we have been strong and that is where we are going to win games. If we stay focused for the full 40 minutes we should be able to take more scalps. In order to win games more consistently we need to do two things; play hard on defence and play with pace offensively.”

Tonight’s visit offers the chance to make up ground on the top eight – Leeds trail by three wins with nine games remaining – and the chance to get one over on a team they came up from the national league with. Anebo said: “We know each other really well, so it’s going to be a really technical and tactical game. When we played them here we felt everything was really slow, and that’s where we need to work hard this week.”

And as the club’s on-court general, Anebo has had an added duty: “When you lose games you doubt yourself and are trying to find answers to what went wrong.

“Is it me? Am I doing the right things I need to be doing in the leadership role?

“But I feel as though I’m getting there. I’m more vocal than I was and I’m really pleased with that aspect. I feel I’m growing into the role.”

Eric Curth

No respite as poor Force are thrashed