A historic 14 consecutive wins for the Mens Professional team and a place in the WBBL Trophy Final for the Womens team followed two Junior National League fixtures as the U14s and U16s were in action this weekend.
Leicester Riders 97 – 38 Leicester Warriors II – Basketball England U16 Boys East Midlands (D.Carr, 23pts. O.Gill, 16pts. J.Cowley, 14pts)
Yet another strong performance from the U16s boys team proved testament to their hard work and determination throughout the season. Taking on a developing group of Leicester Warriors II players, the Leicester Riders U16s stormed to victory in a charismatic defensive performance. An opportunity to allow developing players more court time, Coach Tahir Hajat gave an opportunity to the younger and less experienced players to start the game. It was a tough start for the Riders as they let the game slip to a 0-9 run from the Leicester Warriors II boys, however going on a run of their own to close out the the 1st quarter with a 16-15 lead. From this moment on the Riders displayed sheer class as they enjoyed spurts of great defence play leading to blistering offensive transition leaving the score at half-time 36-24.
The Riders have almost made it their tradition to start the 3rd quarter strong and this fixture was no different from any other as Jacob Cowley, Shae Parnell and Dane Carr pushed the Riders to a 75-30 lead at the end of the 3rd, registering a 39 points in the corner. Jacob Farrington also had a strong performance with a foul on the 3pt line leading to three made free-throws, with big bench performances from Bence Katona, Patrick Taylor and Isaac Birch. The game was completed with humbling efforts from Owen Gill as the final score reached 97-38.
Derby Trailblazers 67 – 65 Leicester Riders – Basketball England U14 Boys Midlands I (M.Banwo, 19pts. G.Emejuru, 10pts, 11rebs)
The u14s boys exciting race to make the play-offs came to an end this weekend as they featured in an extremely close affair with local rivals Derby Trailblazers. The Trailblazers were placed 2nd just above 3rd place Riders and have had a great season so far. Starting the game with confidence and composure is extremely important in competitive basketball and the Riders struggled to have their impact on the game early on falling to a 22-7 deficit at the end of the first. After a reassuring team talk with Coach Pable Vazquez the Riders rallied behind each other and registered an impressive 9-25 quarter score taking the half-time score to take the lead 31-32. Big plays from new centre Giovanni Emejuru and stand out guard Moyo Banwo saw the young Riders battle on throughout the 3rd with Derby leading the quarter 50-46.
It all came down to the final quarter, where both teams battled tooth and nail to become victors in this contest. Strong performances from Howard Dayman and Raphael Fabien helped to keep the Riders in touching distance. Alas is was the Derby Trailblazers that had the edge and closed out the game with a 2pt victory, 67-65. A great game to watch for all involved.