Leeds Force - Louis Sayers: Feel the Force - Play-off dream remains alive as tough test awaits against Leicester Riders

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IT WAS great for us to take the season series against the London Lions after winning 
74-69 on Friday night!

A loss to the Lions would have put an end to our play-off journey as they are the team we are trying to close the gap on as the season draws to a close.

So, with everything on the line, we went into the contest with something to prove.

The opening period was close from start to finish as both teams knew the importance of the game.

Neither side wanted to give the other an inch anywhere and be the first to show any sign of weakness.

Our forward line had the touch early on as Rob Marsden, Zak Wells and Armand Anebo all knocked down shots.

Our efforts paid off as we finished the quarter with a two-point lead with the score at 23-21.

The Lions fought back and closed the gap early in the second quarter, however, before taking the lead.

They were up by as much as five points for the majority of the quarter but we were determined that we were not going anywhere and managed to end the half by pulling back to within two points of them as we trailed 35-33.

We came out for the second half with fire in our eyes and the momentum shifted very quickly.

With scoring coming from all over the floor, we went from being down by two points to leading by seven with seconds remaining in the third period.

A quick basket from the visitors, however, meant that the final quarter would begin with the game all to play for with us just ahead at 54-49.

We were able to pick up from where we left off in the third, though and – with just under eight minutes remaining in the game – we were winning by nine points.

However, we knew that the talented Lions side had more than enough firepower to close that gap in a hurry so we stayed locked in.

Sure enough, our lead slowly dwindled and the Lions were starting to look more and more comfortable.

With just over two minutes to go they were holding a two-point lead until back-to-back three-pointers from myself put us up by one and then up by four points going into the final minute.

The cool and confident free-throw shooting in the closing moments from Kwan Waller and Marek Klassen sealed the deal for us and the final buzzer sounded.

Our next game is against the Leicester Riders and will take place at the Carnegie Sports Arena this Friday. It is sure to be a tough match-up for us.

The last time we played the Riders we felt as though we didn’t do ourselves justice.

It’s another important game but it’s also an opportunity for redemption against a very strong side.