Force start new season with a fine victory

Matt Newby
Matt Newby
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A superb performance from Leeds Force secured county bragging rights after beating the Sheffield Sharks 79-58 at the Carnegie Sports Arena.

The stand-out performer was debutant Jack Isenbarger who grabbed 28 points in the afternoon, 14 coming in the final quarter.

Sitting not far behind him was Rob Marsden, Rob Sandoval, Clayfell Harris and Eddie Matthew who all finished on eight points each.

Coach Matt Newby starting five consisted of three new faces but they played as if they had been on the court with each other all season, rather than making their first league start together.

Leeds Force controlled the first half of the game as the new-look side found each other in pockets of space excellently, as they took the lead in the game.

A six-point run culminating in baskets from Marsden, Sandoval and a Harris dunk turned a deficit into a lead for the Force.

They extended that lead to as much as nine as they kept the Sharks on the back foot with two triples from Matthew.

A late rally from Rob Poole for the Sharks made it a five- point game at the break.

The Sharks extinguished the Force’s lead 90 seconds into the third quarter but two Marsden triples soon after put the Force back in front.

Kyle Odister’s triple temporarily reduced the Force’s lead but a basket and two successful free throws from Disraeli Lufadeju made it a 10- point gap going into the last.

The Force extended the gap to a game-high 22 points after going on a 10-0 run with Isenbarger sinking two triples from the corner.

Leeds held on for their first win against their local rivals and bag their first two points of the season and inflicting a second defeat of the opening weekend on Sharks.

Sheffield lost on Friday night to Leicester Riders, who lifted the BBL Championship and BBL Trophy last term, and brushed aside Sharks 85-54 with 11 different players getting on the scoresheet for Riders.