LEEDS Force returned from the Christmas break and claimed a 91-76 win over the Manchester Giants which moved the club back into the British Basketball League top eight.
The first game back after Christmas is always a tough one as preparation is never as simple as it usually is. But after more than two weeks since the last time the Force played, we were eager to get back on court and determined to leave with a win.
The Giants came out firing and earned themselves a seven-point lead early on in the first quarter.
But as we settled down, we got ourselves back into the game in no time with the help of some exciting offence from Kwan Waller; who fired in two three-pointers in quick succession.
It was a back and forth scoring affair from then on with the first quarter finishing all tied up at 21-21.
However, Force started to make their run in the second quarter with their usual display of tough defence leading to scoring at the other end.
The score reflected this with a 32-17 second-quarter split. Having shaken the rust off, we went into the half-time break 15 points ahead (53-38).
Having established a comfortable lead, we stepped back on court for the second half focused on not just maintaining it, but increasing it. The Giants were obviously going to try and make sure that didn’t happen so the next 20 minutes were going to be interesting.
The home side’s defensive intensity was ramped all the way up and managed to create a few turnovers.
Having said that, our ball movement on offence proved to be something the Giants struggled to guard against, which resulted in a number of open shots for us and ultimately increased our lead. The third quarter finished 74-56.
The final quarter was just a case of doing our job and closing the game out. We knew they would try to make a final push to get back into the game but we played solid defence and executed on offence to secure the victory (91-76).
Kwan Waller was top scorer on the night with 26 points while Rob Marsden added 17 points of his own.
As I mentioned previously, the first game back after Christmas is a tricky one. It was important for us to come in, make no excuses and get the job done, and that’s what we did.
Elsewhere in the BBL this week, the Plymouth Raiders managed to claim a victory against Surrey Scorchers in a high scoring game which finished 102-96. Raiders’ player/coach Daryl Corletto led his side in scoring with 27 points, followed closely by Corey Dixon who had 25 points in his debut for the club.
The performance of the game was by Raiders’ point guard, Josh Wilcher who toyed with a triple double stat-line with 16 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds.
The Worcester Wolves took on London Lions in what turned out to be a thriller!
The game finished 79-75 in favour of the Wolves after a late surge which saw the hosts go on a 10-0 run. The Wolves were led by Javier Mugica’s stellar 20 point and 17 rebound performance.
After the victory over the Giants, Leeds Force have re-entered the play-off picture this week as we moved into joint seventh place. Next week we’ll be travelling to Leicester to take on the Leicester Riders who are currently sitting comfortably in second place having lost just one game all season.
This will be a real test and one that we are looking forward to.