Leeds Force split the double header with a win against Glasgow Rocks (79-77) and a loss to the Plymouth Raiders (75-62).
The weekend started with a match-up against the Rocks. The visitors were considered the favourites in the contest but we had other ideas.
The closely contested first quarter saw the teams go back and forth and was definitely a sign of things to come. With the help of 10 first-quarter points from Force’s forward, Rob Marsden, the period finished 19-19 and was all to play for.
We started the second quarter strongly with some early offence from Kwan Waller and Marek Klassen which put us ahead by six points. However, it wasn’t long before the Rocks made a run of their own and closed the gap once again. We headed into the half-time break trailing by three points as the score stood at 38-35 to the Scots.
The third quarter started with the Rocks taking control and just five minutes in, their lead had been increased to 11! We found ourselves in a hole but we knew we were more than capable of pulling it back. So in the remaining five minutes of the third quarter, a fantastic display of energy and effort saw us go from being down by 11 to leading by four!
The momentum we’d created in the third was carried over into the fourth and we continued to pile on the points. With just over two minutes left in the game we were ahead by 12 points and the game seemed to be well in the bag. But if we know anything abut basketball, it’s that it’s never over until the final buzzer sounds. The Glasgow Rocks strung together three long-distance efforts along with some easy ones at the free-throw line and were well and truly back in the game.
It was calm and confident free-throw shooting by a number of Force players that ultimately sealed the deal. The game finished 79-77 to Leeds Force.
Force’s standout performers were Rob Marsden with 24 points and 10 rebounds, Marek Klassen had 18 points, eight assists and a huge seven steals, while Kwan Waller also showed up with 21 points to help his team.
The second game of the double header was a tough one. It was a long journey down to Plymouth to take on the Raiders but despite the gruelling road trip, we were feeling good and ready to make it two out of two.
The first quarter was a low scoring affair and finished 13-12 to the Raiders.
We could see just by the first quarter that it was going to be a battle.
The home side pushed their lead out to as much as 12 points in the second quarter before Force closed the half with a sequence of exciting play and closed the gap to three points (30-27). It was the third quarter where the game unfortunately got away from us. The Raiders suddenly found their form and deviated from the low scoring display that the first-half had brought. They racked up 27 points to our 17 to extend their lead to 13 going into the fourth.
The crowd were energised and continued to propel their team forward which made the task of a come back even more difficult. Despite our best efforts, the home side did a good job of executing and closing out the game. The final score was 75-62. This weekend coming, Force have no games scheduled but we’ll be back on court before you know it.