eeds Force registered their lowest points tally of the season in a 87-59 BBL defeat against Cheshire Phoenix – suffering a third defeat in four weeks against their cross-Pennine rivals,
Force raced into an early lead through a pair of scintillating spinning finishes from Allie Fullah and Tre Bennett, as Leeds looked to dish out some instant payback following a last-gasp defeat in Cheshire a week ago.
Leeds’ early momentum was snatched away following Raheem May-Thompson’s emphatic steal and slam, as Phoenix gradually began to assert themselves.
Dynamic American duo Bennett and Tavarion Nix combined to unlock the Cheshire defence before home debutant Rafail Tsourakis threw down a ferocious put-back dunk to power Force into a strong seven-point advantage.
All three new signings electrified a buoyant home crowd with Chris De Souza’s defence-splitting bounce pass threading through Obi Kyei before Tsourakis converted a long-range triple to end the opening 10 minutes.
A quick-fire nine-point salvo to open the second quarter saw the fiery Phoenix punish the faltering Force before Tsourakis’ long-range treble breathed life into Force’s hopes of charging back into contention, before a vital six-point spurt from CJ Gettys marched Phoenix into a double-digit half-time lead.
Force powered into the second half with a spectacular treble from Eric Curth, before a flurry of points from GB international Orlan Jackman and the unstoppable Gettys ballooned Cheshire’s lead to a towering 20 points.
Smelling blood, Phoenix continued to lay siege to the Leeds basket with Gettys single-handedly battering the lifeless Leeds into third quarter submission.
Refusing to give in, Nix carved Cheshire apart and despite a sea of triples from the hard-charging Tsourakis, a disastrous defensive effort saw Gettys and ex-Force threat Rob Sandoval ruthlessly punish the hesitant Force as Leeds ended their three-game series against Cheshire with a whimper.