Playoff 2nd Leg Preview- Riders vs Patriots

The Riders face the Plymouth City Patriots in the BBL Playoff quarter-final, the second of two legs. The first leg was played in Plymouth, an 86-71 Riders win. The return fixture is at the Morningside Arena, tipping off at 4pm on Sunday. 

Get your tickets here!

Season so far- Riders

The Riders locked up the one-seed with five games to spare, winning the BBL Championship by a franchise-record 16 point margin. Leicester earned their 25-2 record with the BBL’s best offence and defence, making them the third team in BBL history to lead the league in points scored and conceded. They put up 91 points per contest while giving up 72, dominating on both ends. 

To tip off the postseason, the Riders put in a dominant away display against Plymouth. Despite a difficult shooting start, Leicester kicked into gear through the final three quarters, shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three in the game. 

Read our report from the win!

Patrick Whelan kicked off his postseason campaign with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Geno Crandall’s six-point fourth quarter sealed the first-leg advantage. The win was the Riders’ 37th straight against Plymouth, a streak dating back to December 2012. 

Having won the BBL Cup and the league title earlier in the year, the Riders are going for their fourth-ever treble in the playoffs. With a commanding lead going into the second leg, they will look to continue their red hot home form to secure a spot in the semi-finals. 

Season so far- Patriots

After a 0-8 start to the season, a Patriots’ miraculous turnaround earned them a playoff place, going 12-7 since. A dramatic “win or go home” game against the Newcastle Eagles, with the winner taking the final playoff spot, secured 8th place for Plymouth.

They jumped out to a hot start to their postseason, forcing an early Riders timeout with a 10-2 run to start the game. But they left themselves with work to do in the second leg, as the Riders came back to take a 15 point lead by the final buzzer. 

Kent State point guard Troy Simons led the team with 16 points, while his backcourt teammate Anotnio Williams put up 15 points, nine assists and 5 rebounds in a stat sheet stuffing performance. The Patriots’ offence struggled for consistency against the BBL’s best defence, shooting 44% from the field and going 4-16 from three. 

A monumental turnaround is needed to get Plymouth back into the tie, as they attempt to make the second round in their first season as a franchise. 

One to watch- Riders

Scoring ten straight Riders’ points to end the third quarter, Zach Jackson played a pivotal role in building the Leicester lead in the first leg. The Omaha graduate finished with 14 points, going 5-7 from the field in the win. 

Jackson averaged 18 points per game in his senior year at Omaha, before the Kansas born small-forward progressed to the Ukrainian league in his first pro season. Jackson is playing in his second Riders season and averaged 10 points per game this year. 

An elite scorer, Jackson is a threat from anywhere on the court, able to make big plays at the rim and score efficiently from deep. He is capable of exploding for monster performances, with a season-high of 28 coming against the Bristol Flyers earlier in the year. 

With his defence, scoring and team-first attitude, Jackson is the epitome of what makes Rob Paternostro’s side the BBL’s premier outfit. 

One to watch- Patriots

In his third Plymouth season, Rashad Hassan has been on a tear, having averaged a monster 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds this season. He enters this game after dominating down low in the first leg, putting up 15 points and seven rebounds. 

Hassan is a former Rider, who played his first two pro seasons in Leicester. He averaged 18 points a game in his second season, before going on to play for the London Lions and Rueil in the French third division. 

Hassan averaged 19.2 points per game in his first two Plymouth seasons and helped them to 21-9 record last year. His contributions towards winning are needed now more than ever for the Patriots, as they look to make a comeback against the league champions. 

Club Statement

In the third quarter of tonight’s game our Head Coach Rob Paternostro was attacked by a spectator at Plymouth Pavilions.

We would like to thank the medical staff who attended to Rob for their swift response. 

Both Leicester Riders and Plymouth City Patriots strongly condemn the actions of the spectator. There is no place for this behaviour in our game. 

The matter is currently being investigated by the Police.    

Riders win Playoff first leg in Plymouth

The Riders tipped off their BBL playoffs campaign with a win in Plymouth, beating the Patriots 86-71 in the first leg of the quarter-finals. 

Patrick Whelan led the team with 19 points and seven rebounds in his first BBL playoff game, his strong third-quarter setting the tone for Leicester. The Riders won the third 25-18, building their lead before maintaining their advantage in the fourth. 

Reigning MVP Geno Crandall also put up big numbers in the win, scoring 18 points. His defensive efforts also showed in the box score, as the Gonzaga graduate, who finished the season ranking top 10 in steals per game, added another four to his season tally. 

After scoring just 12 in the first quarter, the Riders’ BBL-best offence clicked into gear and scored at a 100 point pace the rest of the way. They hit eight threes in three periods after not hitting one in the first, and shot their foul shots at an efficient rate, making 22 of 24. 

They held the Patriots to under 20 points in each quarter, despite a 16 point performance from Kent State point guard Troy Simons. Plymouth struggled to lock in from deep, going 4-16 from three, and turned the ball over 14 times. 

But it was the hosts who jumped out to a quick start, hitting their first five shots to build a quick 10-2 lead. Leicester endured early offensive struggles, starting 1-6 for two points in five minutes. They hung in the tie through their work on the defensive end, as the Patriots went 1-6 after their hot start. But six turnovers in the quarter meant the Riders trailed 17-12 after the first. 

The sides traded buckets to start the second, as Conner Washington got the quarter started with the Riders’ first three of the game, taking the lid off the basket. After former Rider Rashad Hassan responded with two quick Plymouth baskets down low, Washington drained another deep shot to tie the game three minutes into the second. 

The score continued to swing back and forth to close the half, which was concluded in style by Crandall. Isolating against the bigger Hassan, he jab-stepped before cooly draining a three in his face, taking a 37-36 lead entering the locker rooms. Crandall scored 10 points in the first half to lead Leicester to a narrow advantage. 

Three fouls in two minutes to start the second half sidelined Crandall, so it was Patrick Whelan who stepped up in the third. He scored eight points, including two threes to stretch the lead to eight. 

Zach Jackson closed the quarter scoring 10 straight Riders points, as a 10-2 run closed the period to put Leicester up double digits. The Omaha graduate drained a three as the clock ticked down, making it 64-52 in his team’s favour. 

Whelan and Jackson continued their form in the final period, scoring a basket each to get the action underway, as the Riders kept the Patriots at arm’s length in the fourth.

Crandall concluded the tie with a tough finish at the rim for his sixth points of the quarter, as the Riders carried a strong advanatge into the return leg. 

The Riders look to seal the deal in front of their home crowd on Sunday, as they host the second leg of this fixture. A win on aggregate score would see them advance to the semi-finals, as Leicester aim for the treble.

2022 Play-Off tees available Sunday!

Our 2022 Play-off tees are available for collection from 11.30am on Sunday, ahead of the WBBL game against Nottingham Wildcats (at 12pm) and BBL home Play-off Quarter Final versus Plymouth City Patriots (at 4pm).

A huge thank you to our tees sponsors – Jelson Homes, Torr Waterfield, Premier Logistics, Mather Jamie, 5or6, bespoke LED and RDL Technologies for supporting this years’ tees and covering the costs. This generosity means that all donations this year will go to the Riders Foundation.

The tees give a nod to Eric Robertson who sadly passed away this year, with Robertson 22 on the back of the tee.

The club can also confirm that your BBL ticket will also get you into the WBBL fixture. You can buy tickets here.

BBL confirm entertainment for Play- Off Final

With just over two weeks of epic action still to take place on the court to confirm the teams that will be contesting the British Basketball League (BBL) Play-off Finals at London’s 02 Arena, the BBL is delighted to announce the special guest performances that’ll take place during the event.

Concluding an epic season of action with this showpiece event in the capital on Sunday, May 15th , it has been announced that UK artist and producer Ayo Beatz will perform during the half-time show during the BBL Final, and UK dance group Flawless will perform during the interval of the WBBL

Ayo Beatz has produced records for some of the biggest artists in the world, such as Jason Derulo, Labrinth and Wiley, with his recent hits including ‘Habits’ in collaboration with Wes Nelson. Flawless were finalists of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 and have since gone on to develop a leading reputation for their high-energy and exciting performances.

Between both finals will be the BBL Slam Dunk Contest, featuring some of most talented high-flyers in the world, including:

  • 2021 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final Dunk Contest winner, Piotr ‘Grabo’ Grabowski from Poland
  • The best dunker in Britain, Joel ’The Royal Guard’ Henry
  • Europe’s most promising dunking prospect – 21-year-old Bartek Szwed from Poland
  • Leicester Riders’ Chris Yapo, who starred in the BBL Cup Final Dunk Contest

Tickets are continuing to sell fast for this fantastic event in London, and you can get yours at

BBL Playoff Preview- Riders at Patriots

The Riders face the Plymouth City Patriots in the BBL Playoff quarter-final, over two legs. The first leg will be played in Plymouth, taking place at 7pm on Friday. The return fixture is at the Morningside Arena, tipping off at 4pm on Sunday. 

Get your tickets here

Season so far- Riders

The Riders enter the playoffs as the 1-seed, having been crowned BBL champions in the league season. They won the title by 16 points, the biggest winning margin in BBL history. Their 25-2 record won the league with five games to spare, as they secured the league against their playoff opponents. 

The Riders are also the third team in BBL history to lead the league in points scored and conceded. They put up 91 points per contest, while giving up 72, dominating on both ends. 

GB sharpshooter Patrick Whelan has led the team on the year, scoring 15.3 points per game on 48% from three, his efficiency from deep ranking the 12th best all time. The reigning MVP Geno Crandall has pulled the strings, also enjoying an emphatic season. His 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds have been pivotal to Leicester’s success. 

In their last game of the season, Leicester faced their playoff opponents, winning 92-82. Bench tandem Conner Washington and Mo Walker led the team. Washington put up a season-high of 20 points, while Walker dominated inside with 17 points and nine rebounds. 

Walker saw the game as a scouting opportunity ahead of the postseason. “They’re a feisty team, they play really physical. We’ve got to do a better job in the playoffs, keeping them out of the paint and just defending better.” 

Having won the BBL Cup and BBL Championship so far this season, the Riders look for the treble in the playoffs. 

Season so far- Patriots 

In their first BBL season, the Plymouth City Patriots booked their place in the playoffs. A dramatic “win or go home” game against the Newcastle Eagles, with the winner taking the final playoff spot, secured 8th place for Plymouth.

They bested the Eagles 80-72 at home, in a tense affair. It was a four-point game with a minute and a half remaining before the Patriots closed with a 6-2 run to seal the victory. Rowell Graham-Bell closed the year with a season-high 26 points and 11 rebounds, backed up by former Rider Rashad Hassan, who put up 25 points and 12 rebounds.

After a 0-8 start to the season, a Patriots’ miraculous turnaround earned them a playoff place, going 12-7 since. They get to the free-throw line the most in the BBL, and can build on their 80.6 points per game by improving their foul shooting, as they currently knock down just 70%. 

Facing a mammoth task, taking on the league champions over two legs, the Patriots will rely on Antonio Williams’ scoring to challenge for the win. His 18.6 points per game in the season ranked second in the BBL, as he looks to continue his form in the postseason. 

One to watch- Riders

Reigning BBL and BBL Cup Final MVP Geno Crandall will look to kickstart his postseason with a win, after putting up 13 points and 6.8 assists through the season. His assist tally ranks fourth in the BBL, and his index efficiently third, as he shot 50% from the field and 39% from three. 

Last season, the Gonzaga graduate pulled the strings in the backcourt, averaging a BBL best nine assists in the playoffs. His team-high 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists sealed the league title for the Riders, and he is set to help the team through their playoff push. 

Crandall is an elite offensive talent, with his flashy playmaking skills dominating highlight reels. He pushes the tempo quickly in transition to set up teammates for easy buckets, and has active hands defensively averaging  1.8 steals. With his ability to read the passing lane and take the ball from the opposition, he is a fantastic asset to Rob Paternostro’s side on both ends of the floor.

One to watch- Patriots

The BBL’s second-ranking scorer and third-ranking assist maker Anontio Williams has been integral to the Patriots’ playoff push this season. His 8.32 assists per game ranks 15th for a single season in BBL history, as he looks to lead Plymouth on a postseason run.

Williams put up big numbers in his last game against the Riders, with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The Chicago born guard did not take a three in the game, attacking the rim to shoot 11 free throws. 

Williams is a third-year pro, having spent his first two professional seasons in Estonia. The Kent State graduate scored 15 points per game in his senior year, and 17 points as a rookie. 

In his first BBL postseason, Williams will look to help his team defy the odds, as they attempt to best the league champions over two legs. 

Previous meeting

The teams have faced off five times in all competitions this season, with the Riders winning every affair. 

They last met in the Riders’ final game of the season, a 92-82 Riders win. Conner Washington put up a season-high of 20 points, and Mo Walker dominated inside with 17 points and nine rebounds. 

For Plymouth, Antonio Williams put up 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The Patriots will rue missed opportunities in the game, as they shot 56% from the free-throw line. 

Leicester currently possesses a 36 game win streak over Plymouth, dating back to December 2012. It is the longest winning run against an opponent in BBL history, and they look to extend it in this one. 

Riders beat Patriots in final league game!

The Riders concluded the league season with a win, beating the Plymouth City Patriots 92-82. They finish the season with a 27-2 record, their best ever winning percentage.

The Riders’ bench tandem of Conner Washington and Mo Walker led the team with 34 points between them, as Washington scored a season-high 20 to lead the team in scoring for the first time this year. The duo put up 23 points in the final quarter to seal the win, coming up big in the clutch.

The win marks the 36th straight against Plymouth, a streak which dates back to December 2012! It is the longest winning run against an opponent in BBL history, and completes a 5-0 season sweep. 

The victory also maintained the Riders undefeated home record this season. They are 13-0 at home in the league, making the Morningside Arena a formidable place to visit for teams entering the playoffs. 

Plymouth had two scorers put up 20 points in the defeat. They will rue missed opportunities from the free-throw line, as they made just 14 of their 25 foul shots. 

Offence ruled the early goings, as the teams traded baskets for an 8-7 Patriots start in the first two minutes. Crandall got the Riders’ offence flowing, dishing no-look passes to find open shooters in a back and forth first quarter. Following his season-high performance in his last game, Kimbal Mackenzie finished off the period with a rare breakaway slam cut a narrow Riders’ deficit to one. 

In the second, Mo Walker got the crowd on its feet with a monster putback slam for his ninth points off the bench. The play kickstarted an 8-2 Riders’ run, as the home side took the lead. 

Zach Jackson beat the buzzer with a long two to end the half, sending the Riders into the locker rooms up 48-41. Darien Nelson-Henry led the team with 10 in the half, as the Riders won the period 24-16. 

Leicester took a double-digit lead to start the second half, as Patrick Whelan scored five quick points. 

The Patriots, fighting for playoff contention, battled back into the tie. They commenced a 12-2 before tying the game at 60, as Williams scored seven straight points for Plymouth. 

In response, the Riders’ backcourt clicked into gear, as Conner Washington and Mackenzie scored five quick points. Deji Adekunle drove to the hoop for two Plymouth points to end the third, as the sides entered the final quarter with the score 66-63 in favour of Leicester. 

Washington started the fourth as he finished the third, draining a three to stretch the Riders’ lead. Building off his point guard’s play, Walker got to work down low, bruising his defender for three baskets from the post. 

Walker’s play rebuilt the Riders’ lead to double digits, putting them in a solid position to see the game out. Walker and Washington combined for all but two of the Riders’ 23 fourth-quarter points, getting it done at the free-throw line. The duo’s play was enough to get the Riders over the line, as they secured their ninth straight win.

“I feel like I’m in tip-top shape, and the team’s playing good right now”, said Walker post-game.

Walker has averaged 14 points and six assists in his last eight games, as he prepared for a playoff run.

“I’ve been patient, and the guys are really looking for me. I’m just playing my game, not forcing anything and playing team basketball.”

With the league season concluded, the playoffs are now upon us! The first leg of the quarter-finals will be played on the road, with the date and opponent yet to be decided, and the return fixture will be played at the Morningside Arena on May 1.

Tickets available for the Riders’ first home playoff game are available here!

BBL Championship preview- Riders vs Patriots

Season so far- Riders

The Riders conclude their league season against the Plymouth City Patriots, looking to finish their title-winning year with a 25-2 record. A win in this one would maintain their undefeated home record, as they head into the offseason looking for the treble. 

Leicester is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak and comes into this game off the back of two straight blowouts. Most recently, the Riders dominated in Glasgow, beating the Rocks 101-86. 

Click here to read the match report from the win! 

They had 11 different scorers, five putting up double-digit points. Riders’ tandem of Mo Walker and Kimbal Mackenzie combined for 32 points off the bench, with Walker leading the team with 17 points. 

The Riders have been the BBL’s premier outfit this year, boasting the best offensive and defensive record in the league. In this game, facing the Patriots will provide crucial intel going into the postseason, as they are a potential first-round matchup in the playoffs. 

Season so far- Patriots

After a 0-8 start to the season, the Patriots’ miraculous turnaround has left them in hot contention for a playoff spot. They are 11-6 since, and enter this game after back to back wins against the Surrey Scorchers and Glasgow Rocks. 

Three Patriots scored over 24 points, as American big man Rashad Hassan’s 31 points led them to a 115-105 win. They shot 62% from the field and 44% from three in an emphatic offensive effort. 

It has been another American native, Antonio Williams, who has led the team this season. The Kent State graduate leads the BBL in scoring with 18.9 points per game, picking up a Player of the Month award in the process. 

With this being Plymouth’s penultimate game of the season, a win would place them in a solid position to qualify for the postseason. 

One to watch- Riders

Canadian/British big man Mo Walker put on a show down low in his previous game. His 17 points off the bench against the Rocks came in just 15 minutes, as the Minnesota graduate went an efficient 6/9 from the field. 

Walker is playing in his third Riders season, having gained previous experience in Latvia, France and the BBL for the Worcester Wolves. Walker averaged a monster 18 points and nine rebounds per game for the Wolves. He led the league in rebounds and was the BBL’s fifth-highest scorer per game.

Standing at 6’10”, Walker dominates down low. His paint presence translates to both ends of the floor, using his size to bully the best big men the BBL has to offer. Walker has given the Riders double-digit points off the bench 13 times this season, as he makes big contributions in limited minutes. 

One to watch- Patriots

In his third Plymouth season, Rashad Hassan has been on a tear, averaging a monster 17.6 points and 7.4 assists. He enters this game after his second 30 point performance of the season, and his eight occasion scoring over 20.

Hassan is a former Rider, who played his first two pro seasons in Leicester. He averaged 18 points a game in his second season, before going on to play for the London Lions and Rueil in the French third division. 

Hassan averaged 19.2 points per game in his first two Plymouth seasons and helped them to 21-9 record last year. His contributions towards winning are needed now more than ever for the Patriots, as their last two games of the season are pivotal. 

Previous meeting

The team’s last met in April, in a significant game for the Riders. They were crowned league champions after beating the Patriots 77-60.

Geno Crandall led the Riders in the game with 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals- a stat sheet stuffing performance. Leicester shot 41% from three to torch Plymouth, taking a historic road win. 

For the Patriots, Antonio Williams led them in defeat with 20 points and five rebounds. They shot 36% from the field and 20% from three on a tough shooting night.

Riders beat Rocks on the road

The Riders won their final road game of the league season, beating the Glasgow Rocks 101-86. Having previously wrapped up the league title, the win is crucial for maintaining the team’s winning rhythm.

Leicester’s tandem of Mo Walker and Kimbal Mackenzie combined for 32 points off the bench, with Walker leading the team with 17 points. Mackenzie’s 15 points and six assists marks his best statistical performance of the season, as Glasgow’s defence found no answer for the Canadian. 

The lead rose to as much as 27 points before Glasgow’s late flurry of threes cut the game closer.  After taking a double-digit lead in the first half, the Riders controlled the game until the final buzzer. 

They shot 54% from the field and dominated the glass, doubling their season average with 14 offensive rebounds. Leicester had 11 different scorers, five putting up double-digit points, as coach Rob Paternostro split the minutes and the offensive load. 

The win improves the Riders’ record to 24-2, as they extended their winning streak to eight. The Glasgow loss dents their recent hot form, as the hosts entered the game having won nine of the last ten fixtures, and casts doubt on their playoff hopes in the process. 

Glasgow’s Jordan Harris led the game with 19 points in his side’s defeat. The first-year pro out of the University of Georgia went 9-13 from the field and used his elite athleticism to create a multitude of highlights at the rim. 

There was little to separate the scoreline through the opening period, as the sides felt their way into the game in the early stages. There were seven lead changes in the first quarter, one just one point in it with eight minutes gone. 

The Riders closed out the first with a 9-2 run, earning an advantage to end the period. Walker made the difference off the bench, getting to work down low as his matchup, Vance Johnson, picked up two early fouls. 

The Rocks fought back, with Vance Johnson and Jordan Johnson making up 18 of the team’s 22 initial points. Vance Johnson had nine points and six rebounds in a dominant first quarter display. 

But the second period belonged to Leicester, as they kept their opponents at arm’s length until the half. BBL MVP Geno Crandall turned up the style, handing-off an audacious 360 dish to Patrick Whelan down low to make it an 11 point affair. 

Whelan led the Riders into the locker rooms after a 13-point second quarter. The score was 53-44 at halftime, leaving Leicester in a commanding position. 

The Riders started the second half testing a new lineup, playing three guards in Crandall, Mackenzie and Whelan. Mackenzie rewarded his coach’s decision, draining a three to get things underway.

Another three from the Bucknall graduate five minutes into the third gave the Riders a 14 point advantage, their biggest of the night. The Rocks, led by six quick points from Harris, chipped away at the lead, cutting it to single digits. However, the Riders remained in control, responding to Glasgow’s blows with big shots of their own. 

Leicester ended the third with a 13-0 run, led by eight more points from Walker. His three ended the quarter with the Riders leading 83-61. 

With Leicester up 23 in the fourth quarter, Loughborough and Charnwood’s Louie Jordan and Evan Walshe checked into the game to log key BBL minutes. Both got on the scoresheet quickly, with Walshe driving to the hoop before making a tough finish for two, before Jordan drained a three from the corner. 

The Riders return home for the league finale on Friday. They face the Plymouth City Patriots, hoping to maintain their rhythm entering the postseason.


The weekend saw the Riders take on the Sevenoak Suns and Cardiff Met Archers on back to back days. On Friday the Sevenoaks Suns outlasted the Riders with a 62-42 win, but the Riders bounced back on Saturday to defeat the Cardiff Met Archers 88-58.

Against Sevenoaks the Riders struggled from the field, only shooting 22%. Though it should be mentioned that the Rider’s signature defense held the Suns to only 37% from the field. 

The Riders found themselves just behind the Suns throughout the whole game, despite three Riders scoring in double figures they just couldn’t manage to find the bottom of the basket. Three Suns also scored in double figures but they found themselves edging the Riders out and winning the game.

Against the Archers the Riders learnt from their loss. Scoring over double the points they scored against Sevenoaks. They were led by Makana Stone who had 21 points and 7 rebounds. Combine that with beautiful all-around games from the rest of the team and you have the blueprint for a convincing Riders victory. 

They maintained their defensive intensity and used that momentum to propel their offensive games to new heights. When the Riders play like they did on Saturday, they’re near unstoppable. 

Key difference-maker Hannah Robb had a monstrous starling of 7 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 steals! The Riders were clicking on all cylinders. The Riders beat the Archers in every hustle stat. Including 25 bench points to the Archers 9. It was clear from the first quarter that the Riders would have control of the game. 

If this weekend’s action proves anything for this team is that they can learn from their mistakes and always bounce back. Though as the playoffs loom ahead the Riders are going to have to lock in and be the team we know they can be. 

The Riders continue to keep their heads held high. Sitting with a 14-8 record they hold the 4 seed and are definitely a team to look out for come playoff time. Keep the energy up ladies.

Match Report written by Rob Field

Riders at Rocks- BBL Championship preview

The final two games of the season are set to be useful for Leicester, as they will be played against two of the Riders’ potential first-round playoff matchups, the Glasgow Rocks and the Plymouth City Patriots. 

The games will provide the Riders will key information about their opponents heading into the postseason, starting with the Rocks on Tuesday night. 

Season so far- Riders

The BBL Champions are gearing up for the playoffs, after winning the league with four games to spare. Having lost just two of their 24 games, they are the BBL’s premier outfit and have the luxury of casting their attention to the postseason. 

Statistically, the Riders lead the league on both ends, scoring 90.6 points per game while giving up just 70. But it was their three-point shooting that saw them through their last game, a dominant 103-67 win against the London Lions. 

Leicester knocked down 16 threes in the game, and 11 by halftime, besting their season average of ten a game. All the Riders starters scored double-digit points in an emphatic team display, led by 18 from Marc Loving. 

GB sniper Patrick Whelan leads Leicester on the season scoring 15.2 points per game. The William Jewell graduate is not taking the last two games of the season for granted, having locked up the league title.

“At this stage of the season, we can try some different things having won the league already. We can test some different looks and that’s going to help us going into the playoffs, seeing how to guard certain actions. We’ll be ready.” 

Season so far- Rocks 

The Rocks are caught in a five-way scrap for the final playoff spot, as the season winds down. They sit in sixth position with a 12-13 record, with just four points separating fifth and eighth in the table. 

Their disparaging home and away form has led to their near-.500 record. Their home form ranks among the best in the league, as they boast a 9-3 record. However, away from home, their record is 2-11, leaving them with inconsistent form. 

In their previous game, however, the Rocks picked up a crucial win on the road against the Sheffield Sharks. Down one with 0.5 seconds remaining, Jordan Harris put in a lob pass on the inbound to snatch a win, a monumental basket for the Rocks’ playoff chances. 

 Harris is one of four Rocks players to average over 15 points per game this season, helping Glasgow to the third-ranked offence in the BBL this season. Jordan Johnson leads the team with 18.8 points per game, his 15 points against the Sharks snapping the former G-Leaguer’s seven-game streak of scoring over 20 points. 

With the playoffs firmly in their sights, a win against the league champions would go a long way in securing a postseason spot for the Rocks. 

One to watch- Riders

Leading the team with 18 points in his previous game, Marc Loving lit up the Morningside Arena in Leicester’s blowout win. The Ohio State forward went 6-12 from the floor and hit two threes, and made the play of the game with an acrobatic 360 layup to send the home crowd, and the bench, into a frenzy. 

Loving is averaging 12.6 points and four rebounds on the season, and a steal and a block per game. Head coach Rob Paternostro loves the way Loving fits seamlessly into his lineups. 

“Marc’s a great all-around basketball player. He doesn’t go hunting his shot, he just tries to play the right way,” said Paternostro. “If he gets an open look, he’s taking it. I love his floor game too. His shot is amazing, and the way he plays the game is very intelligent. He’s a player that helps us in many ways.” 

Loving is a former G-League forward, having played with the Agua Caliente Clippers and the Delaware Bluecoats after his four years at Ohio State. Standing at 6’7”, Loving is a danger to defenders all over the court, able to rise up from anywhere to make shots. 

With a season-high of 32 points coming against the Cheshire Phoenix earlier in the year, Loving is capable of a monster night whenever needed, and will put on a show with his shot-making ability each and every night. 

One to watch- Rocks 

Leading Glasgow with 18.8 points per game, Jordan Johnson has taken his team into playoff contention this year with his elite scoring ability. Johnson ranks second in the BBL’s scoring charts, and his 8.2 assists per game ranks third in the league. 

With his scoring and playmaking ability, johnson has amassed nine double-doubles this season and put up a season-best performance against the Scorchers with 32 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds early in the year. 

The former G-Leaguer played his rookie year with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers after graduating from UNLV, before playing last season in the Netherlands. 

Johnson is a shifty, pass-first point guard, who dished the 23rd most assists in the country in his senior year in college. Shooting 50% from the floor, Johnson plays with high IQ, taking good shots consistently while focused on making the right basketball play. 

Previous meeting

The Riders last faced the Rocks back in Febuary, in a statement Leicester win. The Riders were up 30 by halftime, and cruised to a 105-76 road win, despite the absence of MVP Geno Crandall. 

Whelan and Loving led the team with 23 and 22 points respectively, as the Riders knocked down 15 threes in the game. Former Rider Ali Fraser scored 17 in his team’s defeat, going 7-15 from the field. 

Riders beat Lions in dominant display

The Riders made it seven wins on the bounce with a cracking Easter Sunday display, beating the London Lions 103-67. 

All of Leicester’s starters scored double-digit points in an emphatic team effort. Marc Loving led the team with 18 points in 27 minutes, while Geno Crandall put up a near double-double with 16 points and nine assists. 

The league champions put on a clinic from wire to wire, blowing out their opponents to maintain their hot form entering the postseason. The Riders hit 16 threes on the game to torch the visitors.  

For the Lions, it was their fourth straight loss as they struggled to contain Leicester’s league-leading offence. Italian sniper Lorenzo Cugini led the team with 16, going 8/16 from the field. 

Crandall pulled the strings to get the game underway, the MVP scoring or assisting on five of the Riders’ first seven baskets. The MVP’s play led Leicester to an explosive 18-8 start, with Zach Jackson’s back to back threes establishing the double-digit lead.   

Crandall’s play extended through the entire first period, as he scored eight points in his first seven and a half minutes of play. He was bested only by Jackson, who led the Riders’ early three-point barrage to drain three of their seven made triples, as the Riders finished the first up 33-15. 

The Lions fought back in the early stages of the second, playing through their star guard Isaiah Reese. Reese, London’s leading scorer on the season, had ten points midway through the quarter, as they cut their deficit to 10.

Crandall checked back in to retake the reigns and made an immediate impact. The Gonzaga graduate drove hard to the rim, before laying in an acrobatic finish through heavy contact for an and-one play. 

With momentum back under them, Leicester continued their red hot three-point shooting. The Riders entered the game making 10 threes per game, a tally they had bested by halftime having made 11 entering the locker rooms. 

Loving made the play of the game with a circus shot in close, making his 16th points of the first half. He met Julian Washburn at the rim, pulling off a 360 layup to get the fans on their feet. The strong finish to the quarter capped off an astonishing offensive display, which put the Riders up 62-37 by halftime. 

The three-point shooting remained locked in out of the locker rooms, as Patrick Whelan kicked off the second half with back to back triples. He and Nelson-Henry combined for 10 points unanswered to start the third, putting Leicester up 35. 

The Riders clicked into an offensive rhythm, swinging the ball around the court in a display of elite ball movement. The Lions showed heart, finishing the third with a 10-2 run, but the score entering the final period was 83-55 in Leicester’s favour. 

Leicester kept their foot to the floor in the fourth, starting the period with a 10-1 run. Holding a 39 point lead, young prospects Louie Jordan and Greg Wild checked into the game to log valuable BBL minutes. 

Jordan got the crowd up late, draining a three from the corner with two minutes remaining. A minute later, Jubril Adekoya sealed the deal with a three of his own, breaking the 100 point mark for his team. 

“It’s nice to have the league wrapped up, and now we can play a bit looser. Tonight we were on point for most of the game,” said Whelan after his 13 point performance.

“We showed to the league that we’re not messing around. We’re here to win every game, and that’s what we’re going to try and do every time we go out there. We’ve always got out foot on the pedal.”

With just two games remaining on the schedule, the BBL Championship season will be concluded in the coming week for the Riders. They head to Glasgow on Tuesday to take on the Rocks, before returning home to take on the Plymouth City Patriots on Friday, in the final game of the year. 

Rob Paternostro granted all-star testimonial game

The club have announced they have granted Head Coach Rob Paternostro an All-star Testimonial Game in celebration of his achievements in his 14 years at the helm. 

The game will take place on Saturday, June 11 – 6pm tip, and will follow a kids coaching session led by Coach Rob at 3pm.

The game is set to be very competitive, with squads made up of current BBL players, Great Britain Internationals and Riders legends!

To round off the day’s festivities, an after-party will be held at the arena, with a DJ set until 12pm.

Ticket prices are set at £20 for adults, £17.50 for concessions, £7.50 for children and £17.50 for the training camp.

“We are all thrilled to be able to grant Rob a testimonial event. He has had unrivalled success as our head coach and we are sure he will achieve even more in the years to come,” commented Managing Director Russell Levenston.

“He’s a hall of fame level coach and we’re excited to put on this event as a celebration of his achievements so far. He’s a passionate and competitive coach and we expect the game to be similar!”

“Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for players being announced… there’s a few surprises in there that not just the Riders fans, but the whole BBL will be excited about seeing.”

Rob has enjoyed a prosperous basketball career, dating back to his high-school career in his home city of Waterbury, Connecticut.

He attended Holy Cross High School, and was named into the All-State second team in his senior year after amassing over 1000 points in two seasons.

Rob then spent a successful four years at New Hampshire college, becoming their all-time assist leader to earn a spot in their Hall of Fame.

He became the first player in his college’s history to receive the NEBCA Bob Cousy Award, and won a total of seven individual awards for his performances in his senior year.

After turning pro, Rob joined the BBL in 2000, where he started a multi-year stint with the Birmingham Bullets. In 2006, Paternostro was first welcomed into the Riders’ franchise, spending the season running the point for Leicester. 

After a further playing season in Birmingham, Paternostro hung up his jersey and was appointed head coach of the Riders.

In his first year, 2008/09, he recorded Leicester’s best-ever top-flight league finish up to that time, and the following season he became the first coach in franchise history to record back-to-back 20-win seasons.

His performances in his first coaching year made him the first Riders coach to win the BBL Coach of the Year. Five years later, Paternostro turned his club’s good performances into silverware. 

The Riders secured their first treble-winning year in 2013, winning the BBL Championship, BBL Cup and BBL Playoffs. Since then, Rob has led Leicester to the most successful period in franchise history. 

Paternostro has won 16 trophies in his 14-year coaching stint at the club and has six Coach of the Year awards to his name, making him the Riders’ most decorated coach. The Riders have won five of the last six league titles, the most successful stint for any club in BBL history.

Rob brings passion, intensity and character to the Leicester sideline, and will hope to add yet more silverware to the Riders’ trophy cabinet in years to come.

Tickets on sale here.

BBL Championship Preview- Riders vs Lions

Season so far- Riders

The BBL Champions are gearing up for the playoffs, after winning the league with four games to spare. Having lost just two of their 24 games, they are the BBL’s premier outfit and have the luxury of casting their attention to the postseason. 

Statistically, the Riders lead the league on both ends, scoring 90 points per game while giving up just 70. They locked in defensively to win the title against the Plymouth City Patriots, holding their opponents to 60 points. 

Patrick Whelan has led the scoring for Leicester, the GB guard scoring 15.3 points per game. But it was reigning MVP Geno Crandall who led them over the line, putting up 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists against the Patriots. 

Crandall scored 23 points in the Riders’ previous fixture against the Giants, putting on a show on their coronation night as league champions. 

Coach Rob Paternostro explained the team’s mindset in the closing stages of the season: “We’ll take it day by day, and game by game. We’ll make sure everyone is healthy and in a nice rhythm. I think we’ve earned the right to do that.”

Season so far- Lions

Entering the season with expectations of challenging for the title, the London Lions have endured a disappointing season thus far, going trophyless with just one piece of silverware left up for grabs. 

They sit fourth with a 13-8 record, and are locked in a tight battle for second in the standings. The fight took a setback on Friday night, as they fell to the second-placed Sheffield Sharks in overtime. 

Isaiah Reese led them in the game with 22 points, despite his side’s loss. The Lions will hope that the overtime period did not take much out of their legs, as they continue their road trip to face the Riders with just a day between fixtures. 

The Lions’ offensive production has held them back, as they score just the sixth-most points in the BBL. They shoot just 45.5% from the field and come into this game out of rhythm after scoring 71 points in an overtime defeat. 

A win against the league champions would put the Lions’ season back on track, as they look to string some wins together, and build some form entering the postseason. 

One to watch- Riders

Putting up solid numbers in key minutes off the bench, Kimbal Mackenzie has run the point for the second unit to great effect this season. Averaging 18 minutes a night, the Bucknall graduate has put up double-digit point performances 13 times on the year. 

The third-year pro came to the Riders having spent two years in Spain, and the summer playing with for the Guelph Nightwaks in Canada alongside Riders big man Mo Walker. This came after a successful college career, averaging 17.2 points per game in his senior year at Bucknall. 

A natural athlete, Mackenzie captained his high-school football team, demonstrating the leadership ability he brings to Leicester. Able to sideline his ego for the good of the team, and put his outstanding abilities to good use from the bench, Mackenzie symbolised the team-first mentality which runs through the Riders roster. 

One to watch- Lions

American guard Isiah Reese has been a fundamental component for the Lions this season. They have a 12-8 record with him and went 1-2 after he went down injured in March, demonstrating his influence on the team.

Resse is averaging 18.6  points and 6.6 assists in the league this season, ranking top five in the BBL in both categories. The 6’5” guard has scored 25 points on three occasions, including in back to back games to get April underway. 

Before arriving in London, Reese spent his first two professional seasons in the G-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors, averaging eight points per game in his second season. This followed a college career at Canisius College, where he became the first Canisius sophomore since 1993-94 to earn All-MAAC First Team honours.

Reese is a pass-first, playmaking guard with a high IQ, able to score himself or get teammates easy baskets. Shooting 37% from three this season, he can score on all three levels, and won’t allow the Riders’ defence a moment’s relief in this one. 

Previous meeting

The Riders will look for revenge in this tie, having fallen to the Lions 79-77 in their previous meeting in Febuary. 

The Riders fought back from double digits down, draining threes to make it a ball game late.

Patrick Whelan put up 20 in Leicester’s efforts, but despite Marc Loving’s late three to make it a two-point game, the Riders fell just short, with Isiah Resse scoring 23 for London. 

A Riders win would be the fifth against London on the season, after seven meetings in all competitions. 

Charity game at Morningside Arena for Andi Peel

Morningside Arena will host a basketball game to raise money for research into brain tumours as a local player battles the disease. 

Andi Peel, 30, from Groby, Leicestershire, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in January 2020.

The otherwise fit and healthy Carphone Warehouse manager suddenly started getting strong headaches in August 2019. By January 2020, his headaches became so severe that he had to pull over when driving. On 20 January, he went to Leicester Royal Infirmary and had an MRI scan, which revealed a mass on his brain.

Ross Bland, 34, who has known Andi for 15 years, said: “When I was told he had a GBM, it completely crushed me because I knew the prognosis is not good.

“It was devastating because he’s like my little brother. We met through basketball and we’ve played in many teams together, and we created our own successful team, ‘Ferndale Fury’, together in 2013.

“Andi’s brain tumour has taken over everything. It’s horrible to watch the way he has declined because of it.”

Andi had the tumour removed at Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Ross, a product manager, has brought together friends and players from across the basketball leagues who are connected to Andi through the sport. Proceeds from the game on 17 April will go to the Brain Tumour Research charity.

The game will take place at the Morningside Arena, and afterwards, the Leicester Riders will play against the London Lions in the British Basketball League (BBL).

Ross said: “It’s going to be incredible and big thanks go to the Leicester Riders. Everyone’s come together, and it’s all through Andi and basketball.

“Brain tumours are hugely underfunded and more needs to be done. Brain Tumour Research is important to me and I want to do everything I can for them.

“Andi’s been involved in organising the event, and it’s given him a new lease of life.

“We may be too late to save Andi, but we want to help others avoid what he’s going through.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK singularly focused on finding a cure for brain tumours through campaigning for an increase in the national investment into research to £35 million per year. It is also fundraising to create a sustainable network of brain tumour research centres in the UK. 

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “We’re really grateful to Ross, Andi, Leicester Riders, and the basketball community as it’s only with the support of people like them that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients like Andi who are forced to fight this awful disease.

“Unlike many other cancers, brain tumours are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any time. Too little is known about the causes and that is why increased investment in research is vital.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

Donate here


Monday Night’s action saw the Newcastle Eagles take on the Leicester Riders at home. This game was defined by defense and hustle from both sides as both teams gave it their all. The Riders were led by Oceana Hamilton (21 Points, 12 Rebounds) and Anna Lappenküper (15 points, 8 Assists).

Immediately after the game started the Riders came out strong, opening with a 19-4 run in the first 6 minutes of play. The Riders were able to use their size advantage to attack the paint behind the dynamic duo of Makana Stone and Oceana Hamilton. The Riders closed out the first quarter leading 20-9. 

In the second quarter, the Rider’s defense was phenomenal, so good in fact the Eagles didn’t score a single field goal into the final seconds of the 2nd quarter. However, the Eagles did find themselves at the foul line quite consistently and managed to score 12 points in the second. 

However, behind a stellar first half from Anna Lappenküper, the Riders scored 26 second quarter points to extend their lead to 25 as they entered halftime 46-21. 

Coming out of halftime the Eagles came out very strong, matching the Riders blow for blow in a contested third quarter. However, behind their early lead, the Riders managed to hold on to their 25 point lead as the fourth quarter approached. 

In the fourth, the Eagles came back quickly attempting to close the lead. Team captain for the Eagles Marina Fernandez Pardo had a quick 10 points in the fourth and cut the Rider’s lead down to a 10 point deficit with 2 minutes left to play.

The Riders were able to bounce back and hold off their opposition as they held them scoreless in the final minutes to hold them off and win the game. The Riders closed the game out with a 75-65 point win. 

Once again the Riders excelled behind their team play with 4 players in double-digit scoring numbers. Their defense was once again locked in and despite the Eagle’s best efforts came out with the win to bring their record to 13-7 on the season. 

Match report written by Rob Field.


Saturday’s action saw the Leicester Riders take on the Nottingham Wildcats. It was a stellar contest headlined by Leicester’s two-headed monster of Oceana Hamilton (22 points, 8 rebounds) and Hannah Robb (21 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds) who led the way to the win despite Wildcats’ Brooklyn Pannell pouring in 33 points. 

In the first quarter, both teams struggled to gain a lead over the other, going back and forth throughout the first. Oceana Hamilton and Makana Stone both came out quickly for the Riders as they managed to come out of the first quarter with a 19-17 lead.

The second quarter commenced and the Riders began to gain some momentum. Led by Louise Rouse (16 points off the bench) and Hannah Robb came alive to spark some offense. The Riders used their stellar team play on both ends of the floor to climb to a 45-35 point lead going into halftime. 

Coming out of halftime the Wildcats were looking to close the gap and slowly crawled back into the game. Even taking the lead 61-60 with a minute left to play in the third. However, the Riders rallied and came back to take a 64-61 lead with only the fourth quarter remaining. 

As the fourth quarter commenced the Riders looked locked in quickly going on a 6-0 run over the first 3 minutes of play. After establishing a comfortable lead the Riders were able to keep the Wildcats at bay as they held them to only 17 points in the quarter compared to 27 points of their own. 

The Riders edged out the Wildcats to win 91-78. Once again the Riders won as a team with 5 players scoring in double figures and extending their record to 12-7. It was a great game and a great win.

Match report written by Rob Field

Riders beat Giants in retro night thriller

On the night of their coronation as league champions, the Riders won an 88-82 retro night thriller against the Manchester Giants. 

With the league wrapped up, the Riders produced the same intensity which has earned them their 23-2 record on the year, in a game that remained within single digits for the full 40 minutes. 

Geno Crandall led the scoring for the second straight game with 23 points and six assists, the MVP scoring eight in the final five minutes to inspire a clutch win. 

For Manchester, Texas graduate Tyrik Armstrong put on a show with a 21 point double-double. His passing talents were on full display, reaching into his bag of flashy passes to dish 10 assists on the night. 

Coach Rob Paternostro reflected on the win: “They wanted to win. No question. We said before the game, let’s just play the way we’ve been playing. The energy in the building helped us go on and that was key in the game.”

This marks Paternostro’s sixth league title as Riders head coach. “It never gets old. Every year is different. Every group is different. But the one thing that stays constant is the fans and the people of Leicester. I feel honoured to be able to work in such a great sporting city.”

Whelan got the game underway with a breakaway two, kickstarting a Riders 9-0 run out the gate. Any notion of a Leicester comedown after the recent title win was quickly quashed, as a Crandall three capped off an electric Leicester start. 

The first Giants score came five minutes into the tie, as veteran Dan Clark forged Machester’s first way through the stifling Leicester defence. Clark caught fire for 11 first-quarter points, GB’s all-time leading scorer putting his team on his back to tie the game. 

In response, Mo Walker got to work down low, scoring six points in a minute in close. The teams traded buckets to close the first, which ended 21-20 in the Giants’ favour. 

Walker started the second how he finished the first, hitting a smooth jump-hook over David Ulph. Followed up by a Washington three, his play was the start of a 9-2 run to begin the period, as Manchester found themselves in the penalty seven minutes from the half. 

The game remained competitive throughout the second quarter, as the Riders fended off Manchester’s efforts to climb back into the tie. Martaveous Mcknight scored five of the Giants’ 14 points in a low scoring period. 

Darien Nelson-Henry drained a rare three to end the half, as the teams entered the locker rooms with the Riders holding a narrow 40-35 lead. 

Leicester got away to another hot start to a quarter, with a 7-2 run getting the second half underway. A Whelan three capped off the burst of momentum, as the Riders gained a narrow advantage. 

Despite the Leicester success, the game remained close, with the Giants making key buckets to peg back the Riders’ lead. Manchester took their first lead since the start of the second, with a three from Mcknight making it 49-47 to the visitors. 

The Giants rode their wave of hot form, as Tyrik Armstrong’s free throws made it a seven point game. 

It was Leicester’s turn to show their grit, climbing back into the game. They got to the line effectively, getting four quick foul shots, before Jackson’s solo breakaway bucket cut the deficit to two. 

Jackson channelled the electric energy in the Morningside Arena to take the game over. With a minute to go in the third, he came up with back to back steals, producing the play of the game with a behind the back pass for Crandall to slam down to take the lead. 

The score continued to swing back and forth in the final period of play. Six minutes into the fourth, neither team managed to establish an advantage, with just one point the difference to set up a tense finale. 

With three minutes on the clock, Whelan and Marc Loving combined for a momentum grabbing sequence. With Armstrong driving to the rim, Whelan came up with a monster chase-down block, before dishing it to Loving who knocked down a three. 

The play lit the spark in Leicester to seal out the game. They commenced on a 9-0 run to take an 83-74 lead with a minute remaining, enough to win the tie.

The Riders return next week, where they will host the London Lions on the 17th of April. They will look to maintain their form on the road to the playoffs, as they attempt to go for the treble.

Retro night preview- Riders vs Giants

The Riders take on the Giants on retro night! There will be throwback tunes and special guests, as your champions are presented with the BBL Championship trophy!

Season so far- Riders

The Riders began the season 12-1, the best start to a season in franchise history. They never looked back, with their 22-1 record enough to confirm them as back to back BBL Champions. They have now won five of the last six league titles, the most successful period of any team in BBL history. 

Patrick Whelan has led the Riders on the season. The GB sharpshooter is enjoying a career year, scoring 15.5 points per game and leading the BBL in three-point shooting by making 48% of his attempts from downtown. 

The Riders won the league in style, leading the BBL in points scored and conceded. Their success has stemmed from sharing and protecting the ball, as they turn it over the least in the league while ranking second in assists. 

A 77-60 road win against the Plymouth City Patriots brought the silverware back to Leicester, as last season’s MVP Geno Crandall led them over the line. He stuffed the stat sheet with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, as the Riders cruised to a blowout. 

The Riders will lift the trophy, their second of the season, after the game. They will look to maintain momentum in the final stretch of the season, as they enter the postseason looking to win their fourth-ever treble. 

Season so far- Giants 

There is much to play for as the season winds down for the Giants. They are in hot contention for second place in the league, as they are set to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years. 

They enter this tie having won five of the last six games, off the back of a solid road win against the Bristol Flyers. Their offence has been in red hot form, scoring over 90 points consistently, led by Tyrik Armstrong’s 21 points in the previous game. 

Armstrong leads the team on the season with 16.6 points per game. The first-year pro out of Texas Southern has enjoyed an emphatic rookie year, after averaging 14.3 points in his final year in college. 

The Giants’ recent form has catapulted them to second in the offensive standings, as they look to make a final push for a high playoff seeding. A win against the Riders would put them in a solid position to continue their red hot finish to the year. 

One to watch- Riders

Riders veteran Conner Washington played his role to great effect in his previous game, scoring nine points in four minutes to close the third quarter. He maintained the Riders’ lead in a crucial stage of the game, all but sealing the win. 

Washington is a 14-year pro and an 11-year Rider, bringing championship experience to the team having won 14 pieces of silverware with Leicester. His composure in the biggest moments is a great asset to the Riders, as he steps up in the biggest moments with steely composure. 

The 6’0” Bedford-born guard is elite on both ends, having been named on the 2016/17 BBL all-defensive and all-British first teams. The fan-favourite has put up efficient numbers in limited minutes this season, and his experience will be pivotal to the Riders’ playoff preparation. 

One to watch- Giants

Giant’s veteran Dan Clark brings experience from the highest level of European basketball to Manchester, having spent 14 seasons in the Spanish first division. The GB captain is his country’s all-time leading scorer, winning over 100 caps. 

The 6’11” power forward is one of the best passing big men in the league, and the 33-year-old is putting up 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes a game for the Giants. 

His standout game this season came against the Lions, as he dominated down low for 17 points and 17 rebounds, dishing five assists and grabbing two steals in the process.

The Giants will lean on Clark’s leadership down the stretch, hoping to continue their good run of games to secure the BBL’s second spot. 

Previous meeting

The sides last did battle in Manchester back in Febuary, as the Giants edged a close one 85-83. Armstrong led the victors with 24 points, as Will Saunders’ go-ahead three with less than a minute remaining was enough to win the hosts the game. 

For the Riders, Patrick Whelan recorded his first career double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds. The Warrington born guard drove to the rim on the final possession, but found no whistle through heavy contact to give the Riders their second loss of the year. 

Riders beat Patriots to win BBL Championship!

The Riders were crowned BBL Champions with a 77-60 win against the Plymouth City Patriots! Their 22-2 record cannot be caught, as they win their sixth league title. 

It is the second back-to-back Championship in franchise history, and last season’s MVP Geno Crandall led them over the line. He scored his league season-high 25 points, recording a near triple-double for the second straight game with eight rebounds and seven assists. 

The Riders were composed and confident with the title in reach, taking a double-digit lead in the second quarter and never looking back. After exploding out of the locker rooms to take a 20 point lead, they cruised to a comfortable win in the second half. 

Leicester flexed their BBL-best defence throughout, holding Plymouth to under 20 in every quarter. They forced the Patriots into 20 turnovers, suffocating the hosts for 40 minutes. 

Mo Walker dominated off the bench, scoring 15 points in 19 minutes. He shot 6-11 from the floor and grabbed four rebounds, leading the Riders bench. 

For Plymouth, Kent State graduate Antonio Williams led the way with 20 points, in an impressive individual display, He scored a third of the Patriots’ points, playing 37 minutes in his team’s valiant effort. 

The hosts came out the gates strong, as the Riders were locked into a battle in the opening stages. GB big man Rowell Graham-Bell, inserted into the Patriots’ lineup for this fixture, had seven quick points as his team jumped out to a 13-8 lead. 

The Riders fought back through Crandall, who had six first-quarter points off 75% shooting. Building off his point guard’s play, Walker got to work down low off the bench, scoring six straight points to earn the Riders their first lead of the night. 

Back to back threes from the Riders got the ball rolling in the second quarter, as their league-leading defence remained locked in. Plymouth scored just two points in the opening four minutes of the period, as the Riders’ lead gradually grew. 

Crandall and Darien Nelson-Henry linked up for the play of the first half to make it an eight-point game. Running the pick and roll, Crandall drove into the lane and threw it up high for the cutting Nelson-Henry, who slammed it down with authority. 

Zach Jackson finished the half with a flurry to take the Riders’ first double-digit lead of the night. He had five in the final two minutes, including a corner three, to make it 43-31. Crandall came up with a monster block to swat Troy Simons’ three-point shot out of bounds, sending the sides into the locker rooms. 

Crandall took the game by the horns coming into the second half, driving into the teeth of the Plymouth defence to be sent to the line. On the next possession, he finished off a flashy behind the back pass from Nelson-Henry, before coming up with a steal which led to a Marc Loving three. 

Within two minutes, the lead shot up to 17 after a 5-0 Riders start to the third quarter. Leicester gained firm control of the tie after bolting out the gate, and played solid basketball the rest of the way. 

Crandall showed off his footwork down low, dropping Cameron King in the post with a pivot before finishing in close. His three on the next play stretched the lead to 20, as he recorded his 17th points of the game. 

Riders’ veteran Conner Washington took over the game with four minutes left in the third, scoring six points to close the quarter. The GB guard scored nine points off the bench in 11 minutes, playing a pivotal role in sustaining the Riders’ advantage, 

Plymouth’s Albanian guard Elvisi Dusha then concluded the period with a two in close, as the sides entered the final stanza with Leicester leading 67-46. 

Ten minutes from the title, Crandall got his head down to put the game beyond doubt. He scored four quick points to make it a 23 point lead, as Leicester had one hand on the silverware. 

Crandall came up with the play of the game with six minutes left. Running the fastbreak, he faked a behind the back pass to dupe his defender before finishing in style at the rim, receiving applause from the Plymouth crowd. 

The Riders return home on Friday, where the Morningside Arena will host retro night! They face the Manchester Giants in front of what is sure to be a raucous crowd, welcoming their champions to the court. 


Sunday’s 5pm action saw the Leicester Riders taking on the Essex Rebel’s at home. It was an intense back and forth battle but ultimately the Rebels came out on top despite the Riders best efforts. 

Star Performers for the Riders include Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus with 16 points and Oceana Hamilton who stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The Riders excelled on defense and used their size advantage to dominate the paint, but it was the perimeter shooting of Essex that allowed them to pull ahead and take the win. 

In the first the Riders looked dominant. Springing ahead to a quick 16-6 lead halfway through the first. Essex, however, were able to gather themselves and over the next 5 minutes bring the game back to only a 5 point deficit, 30-25 lead for the Riders as the first quarter closed. 

The second quarter wasn’t very pretty for the Riders as they went scoreless for the first 5 minutes. However, they were able to rally behind their full-court pressure leading points off of turnovers and scored 16 points in the last 5 minutes of the first half. 

However, their drought in the first half of the quarter allowed Essex to gain momentum and take the lead in the half. At Halftime Essex leads by 3, 49-46.

Coming out of halftime both teams seemed rejuvenated on the defensive end, both teams fought for good looks and whenever a team would manage to score it seemed the other would come down and answer with a bucket of their own. 

Despite the best efforts of Makana Stone and Oceana Hamilton in the third Essex managed to hold onto their lead as they entered the fourth quarter ahead by 2, 63-61. 

In the fourth both teams continued their heated battle. But behind Essex’s Ashleigh Munns’ stellar performance from behind the three-point arc, Essex had brought their lead up to 6 with 2:20 left to play, 78-72. 

The Riders called a timeout and came out swinging, behind clutch mid-range shots from Hannah Robb and Anna Lappenküper brought the game within 2 points, but another Ashleigh Munns three-pointer put the Riders down 6 with a minute left to play. 

The Riders were forced to intentionally foul and free throws from the Rebels kept their lead at 6 points with 22 seconds to play. The Riders brought the ball down and Makana Stone hit a clutch contested three with 6 seconds left to play bringing the lead down to 3, but it proved too little too late as they were forced to foul and the Rebels put them away at the free throw line. Essex wins 84-80.

An unfortunate loss for the Riders who were right at the brink of taking this game, but unfortunately there’s only so much time on the clock and Essex were able to outlast the Riders. Phenomenal effort from the Riders women as they look to bounce back against the Wildcats on April 9th. 

Match report written by Rob Field.

Preview: Riders at Patriots

Season So Far – Riders

A win in this one would secure the Riders the BBL Championship! It would be the second time in their history winning back to back Championships, as they would lift their sixth league title. 

Going 12-1 through the opening stages of the year, the Riders burst out the gate to their best-ever start to a season. They haven’t looked back since, and are in the midst of a four-game winning streak. 

Their previous game was a dominant display against the Newcastle Eagles, as the Riders won 103-77 led by 18 points from their captain, Darien Nelson-Henry. They improved to a 20-2 record with five games remaining of the season. 

Patrick Whelan leads them on the season, the GB sniper is averaging 16 points per game on 48.8% three-point shooting. This percentage ranks highest in the BBL for those who have taken over 100 threes, earning him his first international call up. 

With the best-ranked offence and defence in the BBL, the Riders have been the league’s premier outfit from the jump, and will be keen to lift their second piece of silverware of the season in this fixture. 

Season So Far – Patriots

After a difficult beginning to their campaign, starting the season 0-8, the Patriots have turned their season around to climb into the playoff places. The addition of American point guard Antonio Williams coincided with a 9-5 run, lifting Plymouth to seventh in the standings. 

Williams is leading the Patriots in scoring with 17.9 points, in a Plymouth side ranking seventh in the BBL scoring charts with 79.2 points per game. They lean heavily on their free-throw shooting, attacking the hoop to average the most foul shots in the league. 

After an 18 day break from basketball, the Patriots returned to action on the 1st of April against the Sheffield Sharks. Rowell Graham-Bell led the team with 18 points, but his efforts couldn’t take his team to the win, as Plymouth took a 71-61 loss on the road. 

With just one win separating ninth from sixth in the standings, every game is pivotal for the Patriots’ playoff chances, as the season ticks down. They have five games remaining to separate themselves from the teams around them, and a win against the league leaders would go a long way in doing so. 

One To Watch – Riders

With two perfect performances in a month, captain Darien Nelson-Henry has been at his efficient best in the paint for Leicester. He scored 21 points against Surrey, and 18 in the Riders’ most recent game against the Eagles, all without missing a shot. 

The Penn graduate is playing in his third Riders season, after leading his college in points, rebounds and blocks in his senior year. He gained experience playing in Poland and Austria before moving to Leicester and quickly became a fan favourite. 

Nelson-Henry has been one of the BBL’s most efficient players throughout his Riders tenure and is leading the BBL in FG% for those who have played over 10 games. His dominance down low is a vital part of the Riders’ success, as they are a game away from back to back championships. 

One To Watch – Patriots 

Leading his team in scoring since he joined in January, Antonio Williams has led his team into the playoff places. His play earned him player of the month in Febuary, after averaging 18.7 points per game, including a 35 points game, and leading the Patriots to a 5-2 record. 

Williams spent his first two pro seasons in Estonia, after a college career at Kent State and Indian Hills Junior College. He helped Indian Hills to a 30-0 record before transferring to Kent State, where he led the team in steals as a senior with 1.8 per game. 

Williams is one of the BBL’s premier scorers, ranking second in the league’s scoring charts with 17.9 points per game. Despite standing at 6’0”, he can attack the rim effectively, using his athleticism to rise high and finish strong in close. 

Previous Meeting 

The teams last met back in December in a Riders blowout. It was the biggest Leicester win of the season, as they emerged 106-60 victors. 

Nelson-Henry led Leicester with 22 points, the big man at his efficient best going 7-8 from the field. Kofi Josephs led Plymouth with 21, the GB shooting guard having since departed from the team.


It was an intense outing and heartbreaking loss for the D1 Loughborough Women, losing 63-59 to the Solent Kestrels in a down to the wire thriller. Both teams put on a phenomenal display of defense and team basketball. 

The Rider’s loss means they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs and their season is over. Though their season was nothing to hang their heads on. A phenomenal season by a phenomenal team. It’s just a shame it had to end so soon. 

The game started with Robyn Ainge (Riders) and Kristina Karpova (Kestrels) both hitting 2 quick three-pointers to open the game. No team led by more than three points in the first quarter and there were a total of 8 lead changes. 

Both teams continued to go back and forth, closing the first quarter out with a score of 22-20 for the Riders. The second quarter commenced and it became clear that the pace of this game was changing quickly. 

Both teams turned it up on the defensive end forcing turnover after turnover. Besides a Robyn Ainge layup to open the quarter for the Riders both teams went scoreless for nearly 3 minutes of play time. Both teams exchanged four to five point mini runs. 

However, in the last 3 minutes of the first half the Kestrels went on a 7-0 run to put them up 40-33 entering halftime. 

The second half was once again headlined by both teams’ ability to force turnovers and slow down their opposition. Though only holding the Kestrels to 12 third quarter points they were only held to 11 of their own and couldn’t manage to bridge the gap made at the end of the second. 

So the stage was set, Kestrels led 52-44 with one quarter left to play and the season on the line. The Riders played great. They fought their way back into the game. Robyn Ainge (16 points), Katie Januszewska (16 points) and Erin Powell (6 points 8 rebounds) were difference makers in climbing all the way back to a 3 point deficit, 62-59 with 44 seconds left in the game. 

The Kestrels held onto the ball up until the 15 second mark where Katie Januszewska came up with a clutch steal, the Riders ran in transition, dished it out to an open Robyn Ainge on the three point line to tie the game, but her shot didn’t fall. At that point they were forced to foul and free throws put them away. 

What a game. What an effort. The ladies truly left it all out on the floor and though it wasn’t the outcome they were looking for they should be proud. Congratulations to Team Solent Kestrels and best of luck to them in their playoff endeavours. Once again well done to the Loughborough Riders and their season. We’re all looking forward to seeing what comes next for this team. 

Well fought Ladies. 

Match written report by Rob Field

Riders defeat Eagles to close in on league title

The Riders are a win away from their second straight league title, after beating the Newcastle Eagles, 103-77. With the win, the Riders sweep the season series against their long-standing rivals 3-0, winning each of the games by over 20 while scoring over 100 points. 

Darien Nelson-Henry led the Riders after a dominant first half, putting up 17 points and five rebounds, not missing a shot as he went 8-8 from the field. Leicester had seven players score in double digits in an emphatic team display. 

In 25 minutes of play, MVP Geno Crandall put up a near triple-double showing with 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, GB sharpshooter Patrick Whelan made everyone better, finishing with a +/- of 28. 

Leicester attacked the basket all night long to great effect, as they shot a scorching hot 73% on two-point shots. They got easy buckets on the fastbreak, scoring 37 fastbreak points by snatching 11 steals. 

For the Eagles, Justin Gordan and Rahmon Fletcher scored 21 each in their side’s losing effort. Gordon nearly had a triple-double of his own, with nine rebounds and seven assists, but the Charlotte-born forward’s play still left Newcastle short in a heavy defeat for the hosts. 

The Riders’ got to work on their gameplan from the tip, attacking the hoop to get the action underway. Their first six baskets came in close, and the paint wide open for the Riders to attack, the opposite was true on the other end, as Leicester blocked two shots in the opening five minutes. 

All of Leicester’s starters got on the board in five minutes, their team play seeing them through a tightly fought first quarter. But a monster 16-0 run at the end of the period, led by five points from Geno Crandall, allowed the Riders to establish their first lead of the night, as they ended the first up 28-14. 

After finishing the first quarter with a steal and a basket, Jubril Adekoya came up with another steal and four more points at the start of the second, the Valparaiso graduate capitalising on his side’s momentum. 

Leicester continued their hot streak, as Kimbal Mackenzie caught fire to score 10 points in five minutes and stretch the lead. The Riders found themselves up 23 four minutes into the second. 

Nelson-Henry showed off his passing skills midway through the period, making the play of the first half with a behind the back dish to a cutting Zach Jackson. He got to work on the next possession, the captain getting his back to the basket and laying the ball in for his seventh points of the night. 

The Eagles fought back behind two-time MVP Fletcher towards the end of the half, going on a 13-2 run, with the seven-year Eagle scoring eight. The Newcastle run meant it was a 58-43 Riders lead entering the locker rooms. 

The Riders started the second half with suffocating defence, getting two steals, finished off by two fast-break buckets from Crandall. They put up 12 quick points to re-establish their 20 point lead, as a Patrick Whelan three caused an early Eagles timeout. 

Whelan continued his hot stretch, the Riders’ points leader scoring five points out of the timeout to continue the Leicester run. The William Jewell graduate had ten in the quarter, as Leicester cruised into the final period.

It was Crandall’s turn to show off his flashy playmaking skills, as his behind the back pass to Mo Walker down low gave him his 10th assist of the evening. The Riders won the third 26-13, entering the final quarter up 84-58. 

Walker came out aggressively in the fourth, scoring the Riders’ first seven points of the quarter. Leicester stretched the lead to 30, as they continued to play hard until the final buzzer against their rivals. Loughborough’s Evan Walshe checked into the game, and his bucket put the Riders over the 100 point tally in a blowout win. 

The Riders could be crowned league champions before their next fixture, should the London Lions lose their Sunday night clash against the Sheffield Sharks. Should London win, Leicester will get a shot at back-to-back titles on Tuesday, with a win against the Plymouth City Patriots enough to secure their sixth BBL Championship title. 

Riders make ‘disgusting’ signing

In a shock move for the start of April, Riders are delighted to announce the addition of former Glasgow Rocks star & GB captain Kieron Achara MBE.

Achara, 38, retired in 2019 after a third spell with the Rocks, but has come out of retirement to join the Riders in a last bid to pick up some BBL silverware.

It is believed the Scot will suit up for tonight’s game in Newcastle as well as holding down his media duties for Sky Sports.

“I have always wanted to join the Riders,” commented Achara. “They have secretly been my favourite BBL team and they look on course to win another trophy or two.”

“I spoke to Ali Fraser and he told me about the good old times when he won silverware. I thought I should go get myself some.”

“Some people may call me a glory hunter and they would be right.”

After negotiations with the BBL, the Riders, who have been chasing Achara since 2015, were able to extend the player signing deadline to April 1st.