Easter Sunday brought a fest of BBL action, as Surrey Scorchers shocked the Newcastle Eagles while London Lions, Bristol Flyers and Leicester Riders all won on the road at the expense of Worcester Wolves, Glasgow Rocks and Manchester Giants respectively.
The Scorchers hosted the Eagles in the first slice of action of the day, and they ended up being the only team to win at home, as they beat second-placed Newcastle by 20 points, with captain Tayo Ogedengbe leading the scoring for the game with 23 points, while Martelle McLemore, Tony Hicks and Lacey James combined total tallied up to 44 points.
Hicks also managed a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, the only player in the game to do so as the Eagles had just Justin Gordon and Rahmon Fletcher reaching double-digits for scoring.
Gordon managed 16 points, while Fletcher’s total of 20 was supplemented by six assists and four rebounds as four Eagles failed to score off the bench with Darius Defoe and Cortez Edwards managing a combined 12 points – but the biggest issue for Newcastle was their struggles from behind the arc, sinking just 14% of their three point attempts compared to Scorchers’ 47%.
Just as the final buzzer sounded in Guildford, tip-off commenced not long after in Worcester and the Lions and Wolves matched each other throughout the game until the third quarter where the visitors pulled away by five points, but the home side equalled their third quarter total in the final period to send the game to overtime – which saw Vince Macaulay’s side pull through and clutch up under pressure.
Orlando Parker led the scoring for the Lions with 22, with DeAndre Liggins dropping 18 points and nine assists and Dirk Williams following closely with 17 points as well as three big blocks on the defensive end.
Forward Elijah Burns really impressed off the bench for the Wolves as he scored a team-high 24 points as well as grabbing seven rebounds, a total only beaten in the game by Lions centre Chris Tawiah’s 12 and on his own team by Mike Parks Jr’s tally of eight – which was accompanied by 17 points in one of two near-double-doubles for the home team, with Maarten Bouwknecht’s 19 points and eight assists also coming close.
Meanwhile in Glasgow, the Flyers continued their hot run of form after beating Leicester in the week, with a fairly comfortable victory which saw five members of the roster scoring eleven points or more.
Josh Wilcher and Denzel Edozie dropped a combined total of 33 points off the bench, while Raphell Thomas-Edwards and Josh Rogers scored five and two respectively to make it 40 points coming from outside the starting five, an impressive feat while Justin Baker managed 14 points in 20 minutes with an 83% field goal percentage.
Player/Coach Gareth Murray scored a team-high of 16 points, but the most impressive performance arguably in the entire game came from Boban Jacdonmi, who scored 14 points and grabbed a huge 16 rebounds as the Rocks tried to come-back in the third quarter, scoring 31 points in ten minutes – but they unfortunately seemed to tire out before they could help create a grandstand finale.
The final game of the night was edged by current Championship leaders Leicester Riders, as they hung on to beat 10th placed Giants who were inspired by an incredible 36 points, nine rebounds performance from Justin Satchell – which proved to somehow just be short of enough to secure an important victory for his team.
William Lee had an impressive outing, scoring 19 points while going 80% from the field, as well as putting up nine rebounds – a total only bettered by Darien Nelson-Henry, who’s double-double consisting of 18 points and ten rebounds proved crucial as the Riders managed to fight off a late come-back from the Giants.
Alex Ouandie was at the fore-front of the late charge, as he knocked down two clutch threes and contributed a few more points in the final quarter, but not even he could get close to Satchell’s stat-line as he also scored 81% of his shots from the field and missed just one free-throw, while Jordan Whelan scored 18 going 26% and David Ulph impressed again on the backboards, grabbing 15 rebounds.
Paul James’ Plymouth Raiders are now level on points with second place the Newcastle Eagles, following victory over the Cheshire Phoenix on Saturday night.
Phoenix led the game by three points at the end of the first quarter, but a strong second quarter display by the Raiders turned the game on its head, as they won the quarter by 15 points.
Ricky McGill led for the Raiders with 23 points along with four assists, four rebounds and three steals and he was provided great help from captain Ashley Hamilton who had 19 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Will Neighbour also had a strong performance for the hosts, with fifteen points off of seven from nine shooting, and Denzel Ubiaro came off the bench to provide ten points.
For Cheshire, captain Jalen Hayes had another strong performance with a 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists display, while shooting an efficient 62% from the field.
Jimbo Lull also had a 23 point performance for the visitors, while guard Mike McCall put up 20 points and seven assists.
Cheshire put on a late fight back, and closed the game down from a 15 point to a five point deficit, but it wasn’t enough to stop Plymouth securing their fifteenth win of the season.
With the league-leading Leicester Riders not in action on Friday night, the three other teams in the top four all took the opportunity to close the gap, with two games live on Sky Sports, while there was also a key win at the other end of the Play-off race.
Newcastle Eagles closed out the night under the lights with a big 98-78 home win over their northernmost rivals, Glasgow Rocks, as the backcourt of Cortez Edwards (25) and Rahmon Fletcher (22) combined for half of their points, Fletcher adding 11 assists.
After Glasgow held a surprise lead in the second quarter, Eagles hit the last 11 points of the half and held their visitors scoreless for three minutes, as Evan Maxwell scored six in that run before Fletcher and Edwards ran the floor to beat the buzzer for 42-34 at the break.
The game was settled when Fletcher scored six points in an 11-2 finish to the third period, as Eagles improved to 15-8 with a third straight win.
Meanwhile, Plymouth Raiders produced a big late comeback to beat Surrey Scorchers 98-90 on the road, despite being short-handed, to make it eight wins in a row in league play.
The teams traded big runs throughout a game that saw ten lead changes, and Raiders found themselves in a five-point hole inside the final four minutes.
But they finished on a huge 15-2 surge, sparked by an ‘and-one’ play from Mike Morsell, before Will Neighbour hit a corner three that gave Plymouth the lead back at 90-88.
Raiders closed the game out at the line, as Morsell scored 16 of his 19 points in a second half that Plymouth won 56-41, while Ashley Hamilton had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds, with 6 assists, off the bench and Rickey McGill led the scoring with 20.
With games in hand, London Lions returned to form to move to 13-7 as Dirk Williams and DeAndre Liggins shone in the early tip-off on Sky Sports, beating B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 93-81.
Lions asserted themselves straight out of the blocks, leading 14-4 as they held Sharks scoreless for nearly four minutes and attacked the rim early, scoring 12 quick points in the paint through Orlando Parker and Chris Tawiah.
They never trailed thereafter, and the lead peaked in the third period when Lions were again quick out of the locker room, leading 57-40 when Williams hit three triples, including two back-to-back to cap an 8-0 burst.
Williams led all scorers on 25 points, making 5-6 (83%) from long range to condemn his former team to a fifth defeat in six; while Liggins scored 18, with 10 assists and four steals.
Finally, Worcester Wolves in seventh put further daylight between themselves and the eighth-placed Bristol Flyers as they won the M5 derby 77-72 away from home, taking the head-to-head with Flyers in the process as guards Maarten Bouwknecht and Lamarr Kimble scored 19 each.
There were 14 lead changes in the game and Wolves hit the last nine points of the third period, seven for Kimble, to establish a 59-52 lead heading into the decisive fourth period.
They needed that cushion as Flyers came back to temporarily regain the lead on a Ben Mockford three-pointer inside the final three minutes; but it was Bouwknecht who came up clutch as he made a big shot to put Wolves back in front at 73-72 with a minute and a half to play, before icing all four of his free-throws down the stretch.