Leicester Riders 92 Leeds Force 60: Force go down fighting to restore pride against the champions

Rob Marsden
Rob Marsden
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Leeds Force put in a strong display against the Leicester Riders as they took on last year’s league winners but went down 92-60.

A week ago the Riders put the Force to the sword but this time round they were in more of a game as coach Matt Newby tweaked his tactics and his side showed more of what they can do. Rob Marsden and Jermaine Sanders top scored for the Force with 14 points each, but were outscored by Riders captain,Tyler Bernardini, who had 25 points to his name.

Leicester started the game in the same fashion as the first game a week ago as they raced into a seven-point lead before the Force got themselves on the scoreboard.

Marsden got the first basket for the Yorkshire side thanks to a lay up to reduce the lead to five.

The basket gave the Force some momentum as Marsden and Rob Sandoval combined to reduce the Riders’ lead to just three.

Bernardini put an end to that run as he sank a triple to double the lead to six. Andrew Thomson then sank a triple of his own to make it nine.

Another charge from Leeds late in the quarter got the gap down to five before two late free throws from Andrew Sullivan and Shane Walker made it 26-17.

The second period was a close affair and Leeds had a strong start to the third as Clayfell Harris, Jermaine Sanders and Sandoval all got baskets to make it just a seven-point game.

Regular baskets though from Leicester kept cancelling out the Force’s charge as the lead built to 18 going into the final 10 minutes. Leeds ran out of steam in the final quarter but, despite the scoreline, it was a much better performance and no capitulation.