Leicester Riders join forces with Trophies Plus Medals as Official Trophy Partner

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce their partnership with Trophies Plus Medals as the club’s official trophy supplier. 

Trophies Plus Medals are the UK’s leading wholesale supplier of trophies and awards, offering a diverse range of sports trophies manufactured to the highest standards.

This partnership will allow the club to celebrate the many successes of its players, from the first team to its academy, encapsulating their triumphs through Trophies Plus Medals’ first-class products. 

They will supply trophies for the Wok 68 Player of the Game Award for Leicester Riders home games and the Leicester Foundation with awards for their academy programmes. 

Leicester Riders season ticket holders can now enjoy 10% off at TrophiesPlusMedals.  

Trophies Plus Medals Director Ashley Sinclair commented: “As the UK’s fastest & largest supplier of trophies, medals and awards, we are thrilled to be teaming up with the Leicester Riders as their official trophy partner. 

“It is hugely important to us to partner with a local organisation that promotes, engages, and develops the sport not only at a professional level but also in the community. We are proud and excited to support the Leicester Riders and look forward to building a strong relationship together.”

Leicester Riders Head of Commercial Tracey Hallam added: “We are thrilled to welcome Trophies Plus Medals to the Leicester Riders family. This exciting partnership promises tremendous benefits for both our club and the community through the Leicester Riders Foundation and its academy programmes.

“At the Riders, we are in continual pursuit of excellence on and off the court. Our partnership with Trophies Plus Medals enables us to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of our first team and academy players, allowing them to showcase their achievements proudly in their trophy cabinets.”

The all-new Wok 68 Player of the Game award will be presented to the Riders’ Player of the Game following their clash against London Lions on December 1. 

Want to join the Riders family? Contact [email protected], or read our corporate brochure for more information.

Championship Preview: Riders vs Lions

The Riders begin December basketball on Friday night by welcoming the London Lions to the Morningside Arena in Round 12 of the British Basketball League Championship.

It will be the second meeting between the two sides, the first a high-scoring 102-95 victory for the league leaders.

Fixture Information

Leicester Riders vs London Lions

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Friday, December 1, 7:45pm

Get tickets here!

Back on Track

After a tricky run of results and significant changes in personnel, the 7-7 Riders jumped back to winning ways with a 94-79 defeat of the Manchester Giants.

Coach Rob Paternostro’s team completely outplayed their opponents, most pleasingly restricting Manchester to just less than 80 points.

A commanding first-quarter lead and accuracy from three-point range – led by the experienced Connor Washington – made the difference. Washington went four of seven from deep, leading the bench with 14 points in a show of effective ‘shoot first’ point guard play.

The starters also had impressive nights, most notably the versatile TJ Lall, who ended the game just shy of a 16-point double-double.

The Lions should be a much stiffer test and, as the Riders’ faithful discovered in early November, have game-winners throughout their roster.

However, a packed European schedule has forced London to manage playing time and the 102-80 loss to a surging Newcastle shows potential vulnerability in the BBL Championship.

There’s no doubt that the Lions will bring their best to Leicester come Friday, but on the back of a refreshing victory over the Giants, the Riders may well replicate the feat of the Eagles.

Conquering Europe

The championship leaders may have an eight-point advantage in the British Basketball League with a 14-2 record, but it is their performance in Europe which demonstrates the quality of this roster.

The Lions are 7-2 in EuroCup play and sit second in Group A having beaten top European competition at home and on the road.

Star players like Matt Morgan and Donte Grantham have elevated London to a new level this season, but last Thursday’s loss in the Copper Box to Newcastle shows that teams can rise to meet them.

The Eagles hurt the Lions with their guard play. Jordan Johnson and Larry Austin Jr both having impressive nights, scoring 25 and 14 points respectively. 

Austin Jr backed up his scoring with seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. The Riders have players who can fill the stat sheet like Austin. It will be needed on Friday.

London also suffered at the hands of bench shooter Josh Ward-Hibbert, who drained five three balls at a high clip. Riders’ fans should look for rangy big man Samuel Idowu, or the deadly accurate Washington to provide points in bunches from the second unit.

Morgan, his namesake Conor Morgan, Grantham and Gabe Olaseni all troubled Leicester in the previous clash between these two teams. 

Continuing the three-ball shooting accuracy from the win over Manchester and restricting these four to limited points could be the recipe to hand London their third domestic loss of the season.

Key Matchup

The crucial battle on Friday may develop between two players who do everything well – the previously mentioned TJ Lall and Conor Morgan.

Morgan, a 6’9” Irish Canadian forward, came to the UK this season with a fine pedigree after seasons spent in the top tiers of Spain, Poland and Turkey.

The big man has shown that he can do it all in the League, mixing his offensive output up with smooth skills inside and an ability to shoot efficiently from beyond the arc.

Among forwards, Morgan has one of the best jump shots in the league and is often the outlet after the Lions drive into the lane, demonstrated by eight contests scoring double-digit points.

The former Joventut player has also shown hustle around the rim and an eye for an assist in his 13 games with the Lions.

Lall may not have the height of his counterpart – standing at 6’7” – but he makes up for it with physicality and sheer determination.

The Canadian, a former first-overall pick in the CEBL draft, predicates his game on hard work on both sides of the court.

Due to minor injury, Lall has only suited up 10 times for the Riders this season, but each time he has taken to the court, opposition players and fans alike can feel his impact.

The forward’s best game came last week versus the Giants with 16 points and eight rebounds. As Lall earns more minutes, expect those numbers to become a regularity.

Riders duo named to Team of the Week!

For the second week running, Leicester Riders have two players named to the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Week! 

Following the Riders’ overtime victory against the Nottingham Wildcats, Sam Ashby and Taylor O’Brien were recognised for their performances. 

Taylor O’Brien makes the team two weeks in a row following her stat-sheet-stuffing outing against Nottingham. She put up 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks, impacting every aspect of the game. 

Player of the Game Sam Ashby backed her teammate with 18 points,10 rebounds, seven steals and four assists, the GB international logging her first double-double of the season. 

The Riders return to action on Sunday, hitting the road to take on the undefeated London Lions. 

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Cardiff Met Archers!

Riders Head of Commerical Tracey Hallam raises £1625 for Leicester Hospital’s Charity

Leicester Riders Head of Commerical Tracey Hallam raised £1625 for Leicester Hospital’s Charity in their Boss Breakout event! 

The event, hosted in Leicester Highcross, saw Tracey, among other Leicester business leaders, use her business skills to raise money for the purchase of 12 fold-away hospital beds. 

The aim of each of the participants was to raise £1000, leaning on their business connections to encourage donations. Tracey comfortably achieved this total and more, thanks to the generosity of the Riders family. 

The beds will serve an essential purpose, allowing parents to stay overnight with their children during their hospital stays. This invaluable support aims to ease the burden on families when faced with the challenging circumstances of having a child in hospital.

Your contributions will make a meaningful difference in the lives of families who find themselves in the difficult situation of having a child in the hospital. 

Thank you for your help in supporting this cause. 

5 takeaways from our win against the Giants

The Riders got back to winning ways in their latest outing in the British Basketball League, besting the Manchester Giants 94-79.

Here’s what we can take away from the result…

The importance of hitting the ground running 

The Riders have found themselves battling back from early deficits throughout this season, but with three new players brought into the starting lineup, they hit the ground running in this one. 

Miryne Thomas burst out of the gate with eight points, two rebounds, and two steals, setting the tone and leading the team to a 29-11 opening quarter. 

Leicester built a platform to see the game out from, and never allowed the Giants to come within single digits the rest of the way. 

“We’ve been starting slow and playing from behind early, and we couldn’t have that tonight,” said Head Coach Rob Paternostro after the game. 

“We knew they were coming into this one having played the night before, and we stuck it to them early and saw the game out really well.”

Getting ahead at the jump injected life into the Riders faithful, building an incredible atmosphere in the arena and giving energy into the team throughout. The early form was pivotal to the victory, and the team will be hoping for more quick momentum this weekend. 

Experience steadies the ship

Following the departure of three players in the previous weeks, it fell on the Riders’ veterans to take up bigger roles in this one. They stepped up in a big way, with three long-term Riders bagging double-digit points. 

Kimbal Mackenzie made his return to the starting lineup, after leading the bench unit for much of the season so far. He didn’t miss a beat, tallying 16 points and six assists, and finishing the game with a +/- of 14. 

Mo Walker, in his second straight start, saw the team over the line with his impact in the fourth quarter. The Giants brought the game back to 11 going into the final period, so making the next run was pivotal for either team’s success. 

The Riders dumped the ball down low to the big man, and he responded with six quick points to put the game to bed. 

The final piece of the puzzle was 11-year Rider Conner Washington, who put up a season-high of 14 off the bench. Washington was gunning from deep, hitting four of his seven three-point attempts and hitting timely shots throughout the game. 

The calm heads of players who have seen it all in Riders red played an important role in getting back to winning ways. 

Strength in numbers

In addition to Walker, Washington and Mackenzie, the Riders had three further double-digit scorers in a team effort up and down the roster. 

Thomas led the game with 17 points in only 19 minutes, but it was TJ Lall who earned player of the game honours with 16 points and eight rebounds in his return to the starting five. 

Lall combined with Washington to make waves in the second quarter, going for six points and three rebounds to close the half and keep the Riders in control. His impact on both ends through his 33 minutes of play, through his scoring, rebounding and defence, saw him put together a well-rounded performance in the win. 

Making it count at the line 

The Riders showed poise and composure at the foul stripe in the game, not letting a single freebie go to waste. They made all 14 of their attempts, with six different Riders making journeys to the line and making all of their shots. 

Leicester ranks among the League’s best in free throw percentage, knocking them down at  77% rate, the second-best in the British Basketball League. 

Their killer efficiency from the line was an important part of seeing the game out, preventing any life from being breathed into a Giants side that fought wire to wire. 

Battling in back-to-backs 

The Giants played the Riders off the back of a gruelling battle with the Plymouth City Patriots, where they took home a 91-90 win. 

They made the trip to Leicester the next day, and perhaps lacked the legs underneath them to keep up with the Riders’ energy early. 

It has been a theme of this British Basketball League season, with teams having to dig deep through a densely packed schedule. 

The Riders face a similar task this weekend, taking on the Cheshire Phoenix on the road two days after a clash against the London Lions, with Cheshire enjoying a week’s rest in the build-up to the game. 

They’ll have to find ways of overcoming this task when they hit the road next weekend.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against London Lions!

Report: Riders record big win against Giants

The Riders got back to winning ways in the British Basketball League Championship, beating the Manchester Giants 94-79. 

A 29-11 first quarter set the tone, in a game which Leicester never trailed. The hosts fended off the Giants’ runs throughout the game to remain in control wire to wire. 

Points contributions came from all over the roster, the Riders getting six double-digit scorers in the box score. Miryne Thomas led the way with 17 points and missed just one shot along the way. 

TJ Lall and Kimbal Mackenzie backed him up with 16 each, the latter tallying his points in 23 minutes. 

The Giants, on the second day of a back-to-back which has proved difficult for all in the League this season, struggled with the congested schedule in this one. Nick Lewis led the game with 22 points, but couldn’t overcome the Riders’ infectious energy throughout. 

Three straight triples settled the Riders into the game, as they bolted out to a seven-point lead. The hosts suffocated the Giants with relentless energy on both ends, holding them to a 4-12 start and bagging a quick 18 points through five minutes of action. 

Thomas led the energetic explosion with eight points, two rebounds and two steals. He proved the catalyst for the early run. The Riders led 29-11 after one, starting 5-10 from three. 

Washington started the second with the same deep shooting form, nailing a three in his first contribution to the game. He and TJ Lall took charge of the game in the quarter as the Riders maintained their lead. 

The Giants matched the Riders in the second but were unable to make significant inroads. Canadian guard Nick Lewis led the game with 12 points at the half, draining a buzzer-beating three from halfcourt, making it 52-36. 

Manchester threatened to commence a run coming out of the half, getting the first two buckets to make it a 12 point affair. Lall and Thomas hit back with a pair of threes to stifle any comeback and settle into the second half. 

Manchester found form late in the quarter, going on a 7-0 run concluded by Evan Walshe’s three to make it a closer contest with one to play. The difference was 11 points going into the fourth. 

Kimbal Mackenzie got the fourth underway with a pair of threes to snatch back momentum in the tie. Jaren Holmes and Mo Walker contributed to a 13-4 start to the final period, which was capped off by a deep three from Washington. 

The Riders saw the game out comfortably from there, capped off by Washington taking charge on Lewis for his fifth and final foul. 

The Riders are back in action on December 1, taking on London Lions at home.

Get your tickets here!

Report: Riders beat Wildcats in overtime

The Riders improved to 4-0 in the Women’s British Basketball League Championship, taking an 83-75 overtime home win against the Nottingham Wildcats. 

Taylor O’Brien led the team with her second straight 20-point performance, leading the game with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists. She was backed by an 18-point double-double from Sam Ashby, who grabbed 10 rebounds in a red-hot overtime performance. 

The so-far winless Wildcats put up a heroic fight against the table-topping Riders, pushing them all the way after a hot start. 22 from Jessica Wayne led the team, as the visitors shot 44% from three to come close to an upset win. 

Starting off 6-0, Nottingham took an early surprise lead led by seven from 6’3” center Brooke Bjelko. The Riders shot 27% from the field in the first but trailed only by a possession after Elise Tweeidie’s free throw to end the quarter. 

The visitors stretched their lead in the second, making it double-digits thanks to a layup inside from American Wayne. Leicester’s two for 13 shooting from deep dug their first half hole, but Taylor O’Brien found form to end the second quarter to keep the hosts in touch. 

O’Brien had four points and a steal in the final two minutes to bring her game tally to nine, and making the score 28-39 going into the locker rooms. 

She continued her dominance in the third, scoring 11 in the quarter as the Riders attempted to chip into the deficit. Driving inside, her and-one play cut it to a four-point game with two minutes left. 

Charnwood graduate Katie Januszewska got on the scoreboard to follow up her teammates, scoring five quick points and snatching the lead for the first time since the opening quarter. The Riders held the Wildcats to a scoreless final seven minutes of the third to lead by four with one to play. 

Shahd Abboud, upon her return from injury, led the Riders out the gate in the fourth with two quick buckets. They stamped their authority in the final period of play, building a solid foundation to see the game out from. Abboud hit a three with four minutes gone to make it an eight-point Leicester lead. 

Nottingham hit big shots throughout to keep it competitive, and cut it to a one-point game after a three from Wayne with 1:45 left to play. After a back-and-forth exchange, Mari Stewart drained another triple which tied it up with nine seconds remaining. 

Ashby couldn’t connect on the would-be game-winner, and the tie went to overtime. 

She took over the overtime period with back-to-back threes to amend for the miss, building a two-possession lead for the Riders to defend. The GB international’s second triple with 2:30 to go proved to be the final score before the fixture became a free-throw-shooting affair. 

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates and Ashby hit their foul shots to end the game, winning it in overtime. 

The Riders are back in action next week, hitting the road to take on last season’s quadruple-winning London Lions on Sunday.

Riders sign Russell

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of Sesan Russell for the remainder of the 2023/24 season. 

The 6’1” British guard comes off the back of a four-year collegiate career for Florida Tech University in the NCAA Division II. He averaged 18.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds as a senior, leading the nation in his assists total. 

Russell has been a member of the Riders family since 2015, joining Charnwood College at the age of 16. He went on to play for the Loughborough Riders until 2018 and represented Great Britain for the under-18s and under-20s. 

He helped Charnwood to an EABL North Division title, earning EABL North Player of the Year and EABL First Team selection in 2018, and lifted the NBL Division 1 title with Loughborough Riders. 

Head Coach Rob Paternostro commented: “Sesan is a guy that we know well. He came through our academy and saw some time on our bench during that time, so he understands the club and what it takes to be a Rider.

“He brings a combination of scoring and passing, and he was excellent at Florida Tech. I know the coaches there were really impressed by him. He’s someone that can step in and make a real impact out there.”

Russell added: “It’s a pleasure to be back with the Riders. Thank you to Coach Rob and Russell for the opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting out there with the team.”

The Riders are back in action tomorrow, taking on the Manchester Giants at home.

Get your tickets here!

Leicester Riders Black Friday deals

It’s Black Friday, and the club have some incredible deals on offer for all of our fans!

Find out more below…

Secret boxes

Our secret boxes, available for £30, £50 and £100, are your chance to get a mystery selection of Riders gear.

Stock up on all your Riders merchandise, including Riders sliders, scarfs, replica kits and much more!

Get yours here!

Two for one tickets

Buy a ticket to our game against the London Lions on December 1 or the Caledonia Gladiators on December 16, and get a free ticket to our Trophy clash against Manchester Giants on January 10!

This offer expires on November 26.

Get your tickets here!

Rob Paternostro speaks on Riders’ departures

Following the departure of three Riders plays as part of a Riders roster restructure, Head Coach Rob Paternostro spoke to BBC Radio Leicester to explain the organisation’s decision-making process.

“We had to try and find a way to be pulling in the same direction,” said Paternostro.

“We want a group that is committed to winning together. It was an organisational decision to turn a page and head in a different direction.

“This was something that we have spoken about for a number of weeks. In my 16 seasons at the club, we’ve always had a team that is committed to winning and playing the right way. When we don’t see that, we want to correct that as quickly as possible. 

“The players had been here since August, and we did everything we could to create the best environment possible for those guys. We have a track record of players around the world that will tell you this is a great place to play basketball.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into that, and we want to continue to ensure we have a great basketball club on and off the court. But sometimes you have to make tough decisions, and those decisions weren’t made hastily. 

“We were having discussions for a while, and each one of the players knew that. There are certain criteria we have to play for the Riders, and that isn’t just about winning. I love to win, but there’s more to it than that. We want to play the right way, and we want our whole team to pull in the same direction.”

Looking ahead

“We’re excited about this group going forward, and they are a group that’s come together through this. We have a team that’s excited to play, and we have had great practices this week. These guys were the reason we were in these games. They’re model professionals, and they’re ready to go.

“We know we’re down bodies, but we’re excited about going out and fighting in front of our fans. These are the times that their support is really needed. I love our fans, and we expect great support on Saturday night. This is a group of guys that really deserve that.”

The Riders are back in action tomorrow, taking on the Manchester Giants at home.

Get your tickets here!

Championship preview: Riders vs Giants

Saturday’s British Basketball League Championship game is an important one for the Riders as they look to get back to winning ways and a .500 record.

The Morningside arena will play host to the 3-10 Manchester Giants, who are also searching for form after losing four of their last five games.

Fixture Information

Leicester Riders vs Manchester Giants

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Saturday, November 25, 8:00pm

Get tickets here!

Riders look to bounce back

The weekend’s clash with the Giants will be a good test of how coach Rob Paternostro’s talented squad face adversity after falling to three close defeats in the past couple of weeks. 

In the first championship fixture between the two clubs, the Riders came away from Manchester with a 94-80 loss.

It was the second game of an attritional back-to-back weekend for Leicester, who had downed the Surrey Scorchers the previous night.

This time, the roles are reversed as Manchester will arrive in the East Midlands following a Friday night game against the Plymouth City Patriots.

Expect Paternostro to employ a fast-paced game, wearing down the visitors and reaping rewards in the second half.

Riders’ captain Kimbal Mackenzie will be crucial to this strategy, his speed of foot and thought is a large part of an offence that is putting up over 90 points a night. 

Another player who could have a sizeable impact is second-unit big man Samuel Idowu.

Aside from his brick wall defence, the 6’8” power forward is a great floor stretcher and often finds space beyond the arc for a three-pointer.

Idowu is no slouch from long range, hitting on over 35% of his three-point attempts.

The veteran may prove to be a nightmare for a tiring Giants defence that should be slowed in the fourth quarter.

Scoring Depth Needed for Giants

Coach Brian Semonian’s Giants squad have faced a tough start to the season and sit ninth in the British Basketball League Championship standings with six points.

Playoff quarter finalists last year, Manchester have seen a significant drop in offensive production in 2023, falling from over 89 points per game to just over 80. 

Star forward Jamell Anderson – who dropped 19 on the Riders in October – and ‘shoot first’ guard Nick Lewis are balling, but points from the rest of the roster have been scarce.

The Giants are seventh in points per game and eighth in true shooting percentage.

Saturday’s visitors struggle to fashion offence from sources other than Anderson and Lewis, so shutting that dynamic duo down will be a top priority.

The Riders may also expect to break three figures on offense, exploiting Manchester’s league-worst defence that is giving up 92 points per contest.

These factors, coupled with the fact of a back-to-back weekend of fixtures, means it could be a difficult night for the Giants.

Key Players

A current Rider takes on a former Rider in what is possibly the juiciest matchup of British Basketball League Championship round 11.

High-flying power forward Miryne Thomas will put his skills to the test against the reliable William Lee.

Lee, playing a second season in Manchester, has only suited up for three games this season, but showed his value with a 19-point performance in a recent win over the Bristol Flyers.

The 6’9” forward has had trouble with injuries during his spell with the Giants, but has been impressive when on the court, winning Molten Player of the Month honours twice last season.

The veteran was kept quiet in a round 10 loss to the London Lions, but Riders’ supporters will be aware of his dangerous combination of solid defence and efficient scoring. 

The athletic Thomas has had an excellent start to his career as a Rider.

A team standout this season, #3 has posted three double-doubles including a 21 and 11 showing against the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks last week.

The Cleveland native spends most of his time in the paint, using his shiftiness to find space inside before slamming home a powerful dunk.

Thomas is knocking down over 66% of his close-range shots, but supplements that with solid accuracy from the top of the arc, draining 44% of his three-pointers from that area.

A plethora of talent will take to the floor this weekend and the Riders’ faithful should see a thoroughly entertaining game.

If round 11 follows the trends of the season, expect the home offence to catch fire.

Championship Preview: Riders vs Wildcats

Leicester Riders return home to take on the Nottingham Wildcats in their fourth game of the Women’s British Basketball League season. 

They have the chance to improve to 4-0 to start the season in the first season under new Head Coach Ben Stanley. 

Fixture information 

Leicester Riders vs Nottingham Wildcats 

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Saturday, November 25, 4:30 PM

Get tickets here!

Tickets for the following Riders men’s game against Manchester Giants are also valid for the women’s game, so come down and get behind the team! 

Three on the bounce

The first three games of the season were in little doubt late on for the Riders, who have won by a margin of 32 per game. Their latest opponent was the Cardiff Met Archers, who the Riders faced on the road in South Wales. 

Leicester came away with a dominant 110-64 win against the Archers in a game that was in little doubt throughout. Their leading scorer on the season Taylor O’Brien led the way once again with a 26 point outing. 

“I owe it all to my teammates,” said O’Brien after the win. “They’ve been able to get me easy, open shots. The way we move and pass the ball makes it easy for everybody on this team to be successful.”

That was evident against the Archers, as the Riders had six players contribute double-digit points to the explosive offensive performance. Now, they look ahead to the Wildcats, hoping to continue in their rich vein of form. 

 “We’ve got to do it again. We have to come out with energy, be strong and together, and if we do that we’ll be ok.”

Coach’s thoughts 

Head Coach Ben Stanley has enjoyed an undefeated start to his tenure at the reins of the Leicester Riders. 

With three wins under the team’s belt, Stanley looks to build in the team’s performances for the rest of the season. 

“On the defensive end of the floor it was our best performance of the season,” said Stanley. “It’s been a really weird season for trying to find a rhythm with the late start and international break, so it was a great performance from the ladies.

“We’ve got a great group of young ladies, and it’s been a pleasure to coach them. We’re still building, and trying to become more consistent in the performances we’re putting out there. Consistency and discipline are the two biggest words for us at the moment.”

Wildcats looking for first win

After a 3-19 season last year left them second bottom of the Championship standings last season, this year has started much like the last for the Wildcats. 

They are 0-4 through their opening games, shooting a League-low 21.2% from three and 40.7% from the field which results in only 68.8 points per game. 

Last time out, it was the Durham Palatinates who took an 85-72 victory against the Wildcats in Nottingham. They hung in the game deep in the fourth quarter, keeping it to within single digits with four and a half minutes remaining, but the Palatinates had enough to stretch their lead late and come away with the win. 

They’re led on the season by Mari Stewart, who went off for 24 points and eight rebounds against Durham to bring her season average to 17.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per outing. 

The second-year Wildcat is their best source of offensive production early in the year, and Nottingham will lean on her to find a way past the in-form Riders. 

Key matchup 

Backing up her teammate in the clash against Durham was American Jessica Wayne, who put up 21 points and 11 rebounds on 53% shooting in the clash. 

Wayne signed with the Wildcats from Durham this offseason, having spent her first two professional seasons with the Palatinates. In 35.2 minutes per game, she put up 14.2 points and 7.9 rebounds, making her name as one of the League’s forces around the paint from the guard spot. 

The 25-year-old is a two-way threat and established as an elite perimeter defender. Last season, she earned a spot on the WBBL All-Defensive team, ranking third in the League in steals per game with 3.1.

Matching up on the other end is captain Mckenzie Johnston, who has hit the ground running in her second season in Riders red. 

The Montana native is scoring 14.7 per game, and earned a spot on the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Week in week two after she put up 19 points and nine rebounds against Oaklands Wolves. 

In a game where a hot start was important in setting the tone against the Cardiff Met Archers last time out, she was directly involved in the team’s first 15 which saw them burst out to a big lead.

Johnston has taken a step up from an impressive first season with the Riders, where her 8.3 points, 6.3 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game helped the team to three domestic finals. 

The captain will have a vital responsibility on both ends in this one, and will look to prove the difference in her matchup with Wayne.   

Caleb Asberry and Xavier Pinson depart from Riders

Leicester Riders officially announce the departure of Xavier Pinson and Caleb Asberry from their 2023/24 roster.

Following conversations with both players, the club have decided to move in a different direction from the American duo.

Riders would like to wish all the best to Xavier and Caleb in the future careers.

Stay tuned for more announcements and updates about the roster, which will be coming this week.

Riders duo named to Team of the Week!

Riders duo of Taylor O’Brien and Rayven Peeples were named to the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Week! 

The Riders took a 110-64 road win against the Cardiff Met Archers, and the American pair showed out with a combined 45 points and 19 rebounds in the game. 

O’Brien led the way with 26 points, six rebounds and three assists, finishing with a game-high +/- of 35. 

She was backed by Peeples, who continued her league-leading dominance on the glass with 19 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 81% from the field. 

It’s Peeples’ second nod for Team of the Week, following her week one 18 point double-double performance against Manchester Giants. 

The Riders are back in action on Saturday, taking on Nottingham Wildcats at 4:30 pm at the Morningside Arena. 

Get your tickets here!

Tickets for the following Riders men’s game against Manchester Giants are also valid for the women’s game, so come down and get behind the team! 

Academy Wrap Up – 20th November

6 Academy games this weekend including a National Cup Quarter Final win for our U16 Girls Premier. Check out our coaches thoughts below.

U16 Girls Premier 83-50 Bristol Flyers – National Cup Quarter Final

“Solid 30+ point win in the end for the 16s prem girls in the cup quarter final. We had a bad 1st quarter which made it look like it was about to be a game. But then some honest words in between quarters saw them come out a different team, going on a 12-2 run inside about 45 seconds. Sticking to our system, trusting in the process. Onto the semi finals” – Coach Lewis.

U14 Boys Premier 88-63 St Helens Saints

“After a slow start and with poor offence and defence we found ourselves behind by 5 at half time. After talking to the players and going over what we need we had an amazing 3rd quarter scoring 40 points and giving us a 15 point lead. After that was just about slowing down the game and getting the best shot possible.” – Coach Ricardo.

U18 Men 79-62 Nottingham Hoods

“Really solid win on the road for our U18 Men team. On a day when not everything came perfect (3 points % were very low, we we possibly had too many turnovers), we managed to find our identity, made of hard defence and quick transition. The key was the energy throughout the game, keeping it high really helped us to lead from the beginning to the end. Congratulations to the boys and to Luke Heath (double double), Brad Mushambi and Noah (leading our transition), we had a solid impact on the game.” – Coach Pietro.

U16 Boys Conference 67-65 Doncaster Eagles

“U16 kept it close all the way, we just turned it up when needed. Great ball pressure gave us some much needed breaks in the game, the boys showed big hearts today.” – Coach Emo.

U16 Boys Premier 90-102 Derby Trailblazers

Report: Riders beat Archers

The Riders improved to 3-0 to start the season, beating Cardiff Met Archers 110-64 on the road. 

It was a dominant performance throughout, as Leicester took a big lead early and never looked back. Taylor O’Brien’s explosive second half brought her scoring tally to 2 points and rebounds, leading the game. 

For the Archers, a second-quarter run marked their most competitive phase of the game, but they were ultimately outgunned by the Riders. They had four double-digit scorers in the game, led by , but shot just 32% from the field and 28% from three. 

The Riders, led by captain McKenzie Johnston’s 10 points in six minutes to start the game, stamped their authority on the tie from the jump. They started the game 7-12 to build a double-digit lead through their successes driving inside, going perfect from the hoop through the first. 

Cardiff found offensive form in the second, matching their first-quarter tally after five minutes. Laura Shanahan led the charge with 11 points to bring the hosts back into contention. 

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates hit back to snatch momentum with seven quick points. Her four-point play at the top of the arc was followed up by a corner three to rebuild the Riders’ lead in an instant. 

Leicester flexed their strength in depth with five players contributing seven points to the game by halftime, led by Johnston’s 12. Rayven Peeples made the most of her size advantage down low to close the second quarter with six points, the Riders leading 51-33 going into the locker rooms. 

Peeples finsihed with 19 points, shooting a dominant 9-11 from the field. 

The third, which has been the Riders’ quarter through the first two games of the season, saw the Riders extend their advantage. They continued their relentless attack at the rim, scoring 11 points from inside or the free-throw line with half a quarter gone. 

They entered the fourth up 31, led by O’Brien and Peeples with 15 each. 

O’Brien took the team to the finish line with 11 in the first four minutes of the final quarter to the game beyond doubt. The Riders played hard to the final buzzer, seeing it out professionally. 

The Riders return to action next Saturday, hosting Nottingham Wildcats on November 25. 

Get your tickets here!

Report: Riders fall to Sharks

The Riders fell to the Sheffield Sharks 91-84 on the road. 

It was an intensely fought battle from wire to wire, but the Riders could never grab the lead despite bringing their deficit back to a possession several times. Miryne Thomas led the team’s efforts with 21 points, backed by Jaren Holmes’ 16. 

Devearl Ramsey went off for his season-high of 22 points for Sheffield, taking charge to hit key shots throughout to keep the Sharks narrowly ahead. They shot 52% from the field and 40% from three in a hot shooting night. 

Turnovers ultimately cost the Riders, who gave the ball away 15 times to the Sharks’ 10. They couldn’t get it going from deep either, hitting 23% from three against Sheffield’s sharpshooting clinic. 

Starting for the first time this season, Mo Walker got to work from the tip, playing physically inside to establish the Riders’ offence in the paint. He and Thomas found success down low early, combining for 11 points by the first commercial timeout. 

The Sharks led 21-20 after one, led by seven points from star scorer Jalon Pipkins who had his team up by as much as six in the quarter. But Samuel Idowu hit the Riders’ first three of the night to close the score by the buzzer. 

The Sharks continued to lead from the front in the second, as big man Bennet Koch drew two and-one plays to rebuild the host’s lead. 

Sheffield found success running the floor, as point guard Devearl Ramsey leaked out on the fast break to log 11 halftime points. Kimbal Mackenzie ran the Riders’ show off the bench to keep them in it, scoring eight in the second quarter, and made free throws to cut it to seven to end the half, the Riders still with work to do. 

Thomas put the team on his shoulders out of the half to keep the team in it. He scored eight in five minutes, including two threes, responding to big Sharks plays to start the third. 

The Riders clawed their way back into it, Jaren Holmes finding his range to spearhead the comeback, but the Sharks kept their noses in front by making timely threes throughout the period. Ramsey hit two of them, keeping up with Thomas’ scoring as the game approached its final stanza. 

Representing the theme of the game so far, Leicester looked like they’d be entering the fourth within a possession after Mackenzie’s score inside. But Pipkins’ miraculous full-court heave went through to make it 68-62. 

Sheffield exploded in the fourth, relentlessly hitting their deep ball to build their first double-digit lead of the tie. 

Trailing in the turnover battle 15-7 midway through the period, the Riders found a way to force steals of their own to get back into the game. Holmes and Lall intercepted passes on back-to-back possessions to trigger fastbreaks, resulting in four important points.

But as was the case throughout, Leicester couldn’t get over the hump, Ramsey hitting shots in response to earn Sheffield the win. 

The Riders are back in action next week, taking on the Manchester Giants at home on November 25. 

Get tickets here.

LRF to host Primary Schools Tournament

The Leicester Riders Foundation are delighted to be hosting a Primary Schools Tournament at the Morningside Arena on Wednesday 10th January prior to the Leicester Riders taking on the Manchester Giants later that evening.

“We are delighted to be able to provide the opportunity for both the schools we work with and new schools in the local area to be able to compete in the tournament and also experience a Riders Game day. This season our team have been working very hard out in schools across Leicestershire, we are looking forward to bringing everyone together to celebrate this hard work.” – Greg Ellis, Interim Head of Education & School Sport.

The Tournament will run throughout the afternoon with the final taking place on centre court during half time of the Riders game. This provides an excellent opportunity for the students to both experience a Riders game day and also put into practice what they have learnt whilst in the sessions we have delivered within their schools.

Schools can CLICK HERE to book their place or email [email protected] for more information.

Braelen Bridges departs from Riders

Leicester Riders announce the departure of Braelen Bridges from their 2023/24 roster.

The club have decided to part ways with the American center, who joined the Riders this past summer.

Riders would like to put on record their thanks and gratitude to Braelen for his efforts whilst in red, and wish him the best for his future endeavours.

Preview: Riders at Archers

Leicester plays their third game of the season and their second straight on the road, as they head to South Wales to take on the Cardiff Met Archers. 

Fixture information

Leicester Riders at Cardiff Met Archers

Archers Arena, Cyncoed Campus

Saturday, November 18, 3:15 pm

Riders rolling to start the year

The Riders resume their season after a two-week international break, following a perfect start to their Women’s British Basketball League season. 

They’re 2-0 through their opening games after wins against the Manchester Giants on opening night and an away victory against the Oaklands Wolves. 

Both wins came in a similar fashion, with Head Coach Ben Stanley’s halftime adjustments leading to third-quarter explosions, seeing Leicester blow out their first two opponents by over 20 points.  

Led by Rayven Peeples’ 6.5 offensive rebounds per game, the Riders’ presence on the glass opens up multiple second opportunities for the team, who are knocking down shots at a 45.5% rate.

Taylor O’Brien tops the scoring charts through two games with 18.5 a game, good for top five in the League. Should the Riders continue their scoring form following the break, they’ll be in good stead to improve to 3-0. 

Cardiff searching for opening win

Cardiff endured an up-and-down season last year, finishing with a 9-13 record to end the season seventh in the standings. 

The team’s leading scorer, Shannon Hatch, departed in the summer, opening the door for a new face to lead the club forward. 

Early on, it’s been American rookie Haylee Saurette leading the way with 15.5 points per game. 

In 2022-23, Saurette led Point Loma in scoring and rebounding, marking the third-straight season she averaged double-digit scoring and over seven rebounds per game during her collegiate career. 

Despite her efforts, the Archers started out 0-2 after facing the same two opponents as the Riders to begin the season. Managing only 55.5, they’ll have to find ways of upping their production to keep up with Leicester’s high-powered offence in this one. 

Key matchup

Off the back of her first international appearances for Great Britain, Sam Ashby returns to the squad in good form. 

Ashby impressed on her first outing and was entrusted with 20 minutes against Estonia on the road in the second of the two games. She went perfect from the field, hitting a three and making all four of her free throw attempts to put up eight points, eight rebounds and a steal on the game. 

For the Riders, she’s putting up 14 points from 21 minutes per outing, shooting 52.4% from the field and 42.9% from three. Last time out against the Wolves, the Australian-born guard went off for 18 points and six rebounds, making an impact on the glass. 

Facing up against Ashby in the backcourt will be Former Hawai‘i Hilo star guard Mandi Kawaha. Kawaha became the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo all-time leading scorer and assists leader, and also holds the single-game scoring record with 36 points. 

Last time out against the Manchester Giants, she scored 17 points to lead her team in her second outing for the club. She shot 40% from three in her final college season, so Ashby and the rest of the team will need to pay close attention to the Hawaiian native in this one. 

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Nottingham Wildcats!

Ted Lasso star Tom Hendryk to attend second Riders business club

Leicester Riders are set to build on the success of their relaunched Business Club with the second of three events this season on November 20, hosted by EverythingBranded. 

The event, sponsored by 1284, will feature a Q&A with Ted Lasso star Tom Hendryk!

Hendryk, a Leicester native, plays goalkeeper Tom O’Brien in the hit Apple TV show. Guests will be invited to ask questions during a 30-minute talk with our special guest. 

The club would like to thank its partners at 5or6 for their key role in arranging the Q&A with Tom.

Sponsors are invited to bring a senior figure from other businesses as guests, to showcase what sponsorship with the Riders can do for local organisations. 

There has been increased interest this summer in Riders’ corporate packages. Player sponsorship has increased 50% year-on-year, the vast majority of last season’s corporate sponsors have renewed, and new businesses joining for first time include Better IT, Abel Alarm, 2XL Commercial Finance, and Griffin Fit.

Leicester Riders Chairman, Kevin Routledge, said: “We’ve been building our business offer over the summer following the arrival of Tracey Hallam as our commercial manager and our partnership with 1284.

“The support of our sponsors is crucial, not just for the Riders but also for our community foundation and the Arena itself.”

Loughborough-based 1284 provides award-winning B2B corporate communications to innovative public and private organisations in the East Midlands.

George Oliver, Managing Director of 1284, said: “We’ve been involved for a couple of years now and are really excited about getting more involved with the new-look Riders Business Club.”

For more information on partnering with the Riders, please contact [email protected], or read more about our sponsorship opportunities here!

Championship Preview: Riders at Sharks

The Riders will take the short journey up the M1 this Friday as they visit the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks for the first time since defeating them in the first round of playoffs last season.

Victory in this Round 10 matchup will see Rob Paternostro’s squad return to a record above .500 and leapfrog their opponents in the British Basketball League championship standings.

Fixture Information

Leicester Riders @ B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

Canon Medical Arena, Sheffield

Friday, November 17, 7:30pm

Returning to Winning Ways

The Riders will be hoping to get back in the winner’s column this Friday after a tough Round Nine of championship action brought with it two narrow defeats.

Losses to the London Lions and Cheshire Phoenix by near-identical margins (102-95 and 102-96) dropped Leicester to 6-6 and sixth spot in the table, but winning back-to-back games against two of the best offenses in the UK was always going to be a tall order.

The Riders played some of their best basketball this season in defeat, especially when in possession of the ball, so many positives can be taken from them.

Determined shooting guard Caleb Asberry shone in both games, dialling up 16 points and nine boards versus the Lions before hitting five shots from deep in a 23-point performance in Cheshire. 

The former Oklahoma State Cowboy also showed quick hands on defence, snatching five steals across the weekend and constantly affecting the play of the opponents’ big men.

Sheffield will present a different challenge for the Riders this week.

The Sharks are averaging 13 PPG less than Paternostro’s squad so far this season and, despite holding a better record than the Riders, have only scored more than 90 points on two occasions.

Leicester currently averages 91.5 PPG and appears to have the advantage when scoring the basketball.

However, the Sharks also play some of the best defensive basketball in the BBL, conceding the lowest number of points per game in the league at 74.4.

Look for Sheffield to try and frustrate the Riders through on-ball tenacity and the forcing of tough shots.

The Riders will need to call on all their offensive weapons to crack open Sheffield’s defence. Expect big games from starters Miryne Thomas, Jaren Holmes and Xavier Pinson.

Defence is the Key

Atiba Lyons’ Sheffield squad have started the season strongly, earning fifth place in the championship standings with a 7-6 record.

On the back of a stingy defence, the Sharks have claimed impressive wins over the Cheshire Phoenix, Caledonia Gladiators and Surrey Scorchers and have only lost once at home – to the league-leading London Lions.

Sheffield combines their excellent perimeter defence with good ball retention and efficient scoring from three-point range.

The Sharks take less deep shots than many teams in the British Basketball League, but hit at a 38.3% clip, third best in the league.

Contributing heavily to the high percentage shooting is wing player Jordan Ratinho and second-unit guard, RJ Eytle-Rock.

The sharpshooters may not be Sheffield’s most prolific scorers but look for them to capitalise on any space the Riders leave at the perimeter.

The Sharks’ most athletic weapon is undoubtedly high-flying guard, Jalon Pipkins.

The third-year professional has speed in the lane, hops near the rim and an ability to perform the spectacular. #5 has upped his offensive output this season, so expect plenty of highlight-reel plays on Friday night.

Key Matchup

Round 10’s key matchup will see youthful exuberance against solid experience as Xavier Pinson faces up to the test of Devearl Ramsey.

Ramsey, a 6’0” guard who spent a season playing NBA G-League ball with the Stockton Kings, is the floor general for the Sharks and their premier playmaker.

Dishing five assists per game, the 26-year-old is adept at finding the right shooter while also avoiding risk of turnovers.

Reliable, mistake-free basketball is Ramsey’s game, and with a points per game average of 11.5, he also contributes to the scoreboard. 

Aiming to best Ramsey will be Riders’ young point guard Pinson.

All season, fans have witnessed Pinson showcase his ball-handling skills and penchant for the flashy play.

A former University of Missouri and LSU player, Pinson has excellent basketball pedigree and his numbers back up his attacking flair. 

11.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game and a three-point percentage of 45% display Pinson’s versatile game – all while sharing minutes with Riders’ captain, Kimbal Mackenzie.

The Chicagoan plays a riskier brand of basketball than his seasoned opponent, but the result is a stronger offensive profile.

This game is a tale of the unstoppable force versus the immovable object.

The battle between Pinson and Ramsey could well play out in the same way.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Manchester Giants!

Academy Wrap Up – 14th November

8 of our Academy teams were in action this past weekend, check out our coaches thoughts on the action below.

U18 Men 77-64 Charnwood Riders

“U18 Conf beat Charnwood 77-64. We started slow in the first half (sometimes we tend to adapt to the teams we play, rather than imposing our game). The second half was better, defensively and on the break as Dominic and Noah really helped us on both end to take the lead and keep it to the end. We will take the win.” – Coach Pietro.

U16 Girls Premier 96-27 City of Birmingham Rockets

“U16s prem girls took a very convincing 96-27 win against COB. The penny is really starting to drop with this team, fixing the small details week by week. Strong full court press in our system for 3/4 quarters. Right attitudes throughout the entire game. Good game to take us into the quarter final next weekend.” – Coach Lewis.

U14 Boys Premier 85-36 City Of Leeds

“After our first the win the team was very excited to get back on court. With some solid defence and good transition offence we saw ourselves ahead from the start. Throughout the game we played great help defence allowing us to go on fastbreak. Overall great performance.” – Coach Ricardo.

U16 Boys Premier 62-88 Manchester Magic

U16 Boys Conference 113-25 Sheffield Sharks Yellow

U15 Boys 45-57 Shrewsbury Storm

“Disappointing 57-45 loss for the team. We played great defence for the first 3 quarters and was leading narrowly going into the 4th. In the 4th, we turned the ball over too much which lead to fast breaks for the opponents. We had a lot of positives to start the game, we need to improve our composure and take care of the ball better.” – Coach Damon.

U14 Boys Conference 41-54 Northamptonshire Titans

“I’m really proud of the lads, they worked really hard as a team and performed what we have been working on in training, help defense and learning to take charges. We got two charges and and should of had more, we just needs to work a little more on boxing out and it be a lot closer. It was the second quarter that killed us and only having 7 players.” – Coach Ady.

U12 Boys Red 29-71 Leicester Dynamite

Leicester Riders Foundation Partnership Opportunities

We are delighted to launch our new partnership opportunities brochure showcasing the wide array of opportunities for your organisation to make a positive impact on the community with the Leicester Riders Foundation.

“I am really excited that we have launched our partnership brochure and the potential new opportunities that may come off the back of it. At the Leicester Riders Foundation we are extremely passionate about creating new partnerships within our local community to be able to increase our delivery and provide additional opportunities for young people to access basketball within the community.” – Laura Shephard, Leicester Riders Foundation General Manager.

CLICK HERE to read our Partnership Opportunities brochure.

For more information on our partnership opportunities or to get involved email [email protected].

International Watch: Sam Ashby impresses in first international outings

Sam Ashby was on international duty this week, suiting up for Great Britain for their EuroBasket qualification campaign. 

Ashby made her international debut against Sweden, logging eight minutes of action and making an immediate impact on the game with an and-one play through traffic.

GB fell in agonising fashion against Sweden, losing 64-62 after the game came down to the wire. 

Ashby impressed on her first outing and was entrusted with 20 minutes against Estonia on the road. She went perfect from the field, hitting a three and making all four of her free throw attempts to put up eight points, eight rebounds and a steal on the game. 

She now returns home, ready to suit up in Riders red as Leicester take on Cardiff Met Archers on the road on Saturday. 

Want to see Ashby in action?

Get tickets to the Riders’ next home game against Nottingham Wildcats!

Report: Riders fall to Phoenix

The Riders fell on the road 102-96 against the Cheshire Phoenix. 

It was a tie game entering the final quarter, little separating the sides throughout the contest. Cheshire went up 11 with 2:30 to go, but the Riders found a spirited comeback to cut it to a possession with 30 seconds on the clock. 

They went on an 8-0 run led by Samuel Idowu’s three and putback slam to give themselves a chance, and Cheshire’s Laquincy Rideau missed both at the line with the difference only three points. 

But the officials pointed Cheshire’s way on a 50/50 out of bounds call, allowing the hosts to see it out. 

Caleb Asberry continued his hot form after his 16 point performance against the London Lions on Friday night, leading the Riders with a season-high 23 points going 8-12 from the field. 

Iwodu also impressed off the bench throughout with 18 points and seven rebounds, finishing the game with a +/- of 15. 

For Cheshire, American forward Ethan Chargois led the game with 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists. They took a late advantage with hot shooting to start the fourth, benefitting from a week’s extra rest late. 

Asberry picked up where he left off after his Player of the Game performance against London, scoring the Riders first eight points. But the Phoenix exploded to a hot start, gunning from behind the arc to make their first five three point attempts, going up 10 early. 

The Riders’ second unit checked into the game midway through the first to breath some life into the Riders’ offence. Mo Walker immediately got to work with two quick baskets, before Sam Idowu drove to the rim for an and-one play- Leicester’s frontcourt doing the business inside. 

The bench got the Riders back into the game despite a red hot Chesire offensive start led by 10 points from American forward Ethan Chargois. Walker came up with a block on Rideau with seconds left in the period, setting up an Asberry buzzer beating layup to cut the deficit to four.

Leicester took the game by the reins in the second, starting with two triples from TJ Lall and Kimbal Mackenzie which took their first lead of the game. It was the Riders’ turn to punish their opponents from deep, making four in five minutes. 

The Phoenix hung around in the game, the Riders keeping ahead in the ball game by finding success attacking inside. Mackenzie’s drive to the hoop concluded the half’s action with Leicester leading 55-49. 

Cheshire started the second half the nighter of the sides, running in transition to generate their offesnce in the open floor and snatch back the lead. The Riders fired back in response to reclaim their advantage at the hands of Lall, who scored four quick points inside. 

Lall kickstarted a 7-0 Riders run to give the Riders a five point lead, but a stong end to the quarter from Cheshire’s Aaryn Rai tied it up at 72 with one to play. 

The Phoenix started the fourth hot, attacking the rim to start the quarter 9-1. The Riders battled back, finding their way to the free throw line by driving to the hole to keep it to a six point defecit as the clock ticked down to five remaining in the game. 

But Cheshire closed out strong, hitting big shots down the stretch led by Chargois’ seven point final quarter to secure a win. Asberry and Idowu came up with late threes to bring it back to six, before Idowu threw down a huge putback jam to give Leicester a late chance. 

Mackenzie followed up a missed free throw with a bucket to cut it to a possession, and Rideau missed both after the subsequent foul, but the referee’s gave the out of bounds call Cheshire’s way, allowing them to seal it at the line. 

The loss sent the Riders home empty handed in a closely fought game for the second time in the weekend. They return to action next week on the road against the Sheffield Sharks. 

Championship Preview: Riders at Phoenix

Sunday evening sees the Riders travelling northwest to take on the 7-4 Cheshire Phoenix in the British Basketball League Championship.

It will be the second game of the weekend for Rob Paternostro’s squad after they fell 102-95 to the league-leading London Lions in an epic clash on Friday night.

Fixture Information

Leicester Riders @ Cheshire Phoenix

Ellesmere Port Sports Village, Cheshire Oaks

Sunday, November 12, 6:00pm

Close to Victory

The Riders may have been defeated by the Lions on Friday night, but there was plenty of evidence that this squad can beat anyone on their day.

The home side bettered their opponents in several categories, including three-point percentage, points in the paint and rebounds. Victory looked possible, especially during a sustained period in the third quarter which saw the Riders holding onto a narrow lead.

However, what makes the Lions special is the ability to keep the scoreboard ticking over. They very rarely waste a possession, and even as the Riders’ defence forced several missed shots, London’s knack of getting to the foul line told in the final score.

The visitors – who claimed their thirteenth win in fourteen British Basketball League Championship games on Friday – hit 26 points from the free throw line at a clip of 86%, nine more than the Riders who knocked down 16 at an uncharacteristically low 72%.

A major positive for the Riders was the play of shooting guard Caleb Asberry.

The 6’3” Texan balled out on both ends of the court, tormenting the opposition big men with fast hands-on defence, knocking down 16 points on offence and leading the Riders with nine rebounds for good measure.

As Friday’s game went on, the energy of the Morningside Arena grew, and Asberry’s tenacity grew with it.

The in-form Jaren Holmes also had a nice showing, flashing his skills as a playmaker to dish eight assists to go with 18 points for a near double-double.

Leicester scored 95 points on a defence that gives up only 79.5 points per game, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Cheshire is another team that can score the ball, averaging an impressive 88.5 points per game, so the Riders may find themselves needing another total within touching distance of three figures to take victory on the road.

The Surprise Package of the Season

Judging on whispers throughout the pre-season, few around the BBL were predicting the Phoenix to have a hot 7-4 start.

Ben Thomas’ team sit third in the standings on 14 points, playing consistent basketball predicated on a solid defence and dominance on the boards.

The Phoenix are currently pulling down 40.9 rebounds per game and sit second in total rebounds percentage with 54.3% – just behind the 8-4 Bristol Flyers.

That hustle to get to missed shots allows Cheshire to be the most prolific team in the league when on the fast break, hitting 17.9 fast break points each night. The Riders have been susceptible to giving up fast break points this season, so this is sure to be an area of focus for Coach Paternostro.

Top scorer for the Phoenix is guard Maceo Jack, the second-year American having an excellent sophomore season, dropping 18.7 points per night to become one of the most prolific scorers in the league.

Jack is ably supported by big men Aaryn Rai and Skylar White who put up double-digits in points on most outings.

Rai, who has only played in six of the Nix’s 11 games this season, is a 6’6” forward with an eye for a pass. Should he play on Sunday, expect him to be a large part of Cheshire’s offense. 

Key Matchup

Sunday’s key matchup is between two players who bring high-quality minutes from the bench – Cam Christon and Riders’ captain, Kimbal Mackenzie.

Christon, a rookie who joined the BBL this season from the Grambling State Tigers, stands at 6’6” and uses his combination of speed and length to slice inside and finish effectively in the paint.

The Texan has scored close to 20 points on several occasions this season despite second-unit minutes, even dropping 21 points in 23 minutes on the Patriots in an October win.

Riders’ fans may be somewhat familiar with Christon’s ability to score in bunches as he knocked down 16 in just ten minutes on opening day.

A player Riders’ supporters will certainly be familiar with is energetic point guard, Mackenzie. The Leicester veteran is often brought off the bench to galvanise the team when the opposition is on a run or to hit clutch shots in the waning moments of a game.

#1’s presence was felt yet again on Friday night, as he bolted around the court and involved himself in everything positive the Riders produced.

Mackenzie finished the night with 17 points, five assists and managed to draw four trips to the charity stripe.

It is going to be interesting to see when and how both coaches decide to use their second-unit weapons. The player who brings the best from the bench could prove to be the one that wins this game for their team.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against the Manchester Giants on November 25!

Five things we learned from facing the Lions

Last night, the Riders went toe to toe with the table-topping London Lions, falling just short in a 102-94 loss.

Here’s what we can learn from the fixture.

Hanging with the best

From wire to wire, this Riders roster showed it could compete with the best the British Basketball League has to offer. It was a one-score game at the end of the second and third quarters before the Lions found late form in the fourth. 

It was just a four-point game late after Miryne Thomas’ layup in close, the Riders hanging around until the final buzzer. 

After their blowout of the Eagles last time out, and pushing London all the way, Leicester are growing into the season and establishing themselves as a contender for the top end of the table game by game. 

Caleb’s tenacity 

Last night’s Wok 68 Player of the Game was Caleb Asberry, who covered every inch of the floor in an energetic display. 

Asbery’s infectious energy spread through the entire Arena, snatching the ball of the Lions three times, including a timely steal on Donte Grantham to end the half, which led to two important points. 

He finished with a stat line of 16 points, 9 rebounds, three steals and three blocks, all worth an index rating of 30. He made his mark all over the stat sheet and kept the Riders in the tie through heart and hustle. 

Offence clicked into gear

The Riders’ offence has been a strength all season, but in this one it showed it can contest with the League’s most productive and high-firing unit. 

Four of the Riders starters scored in double-digit points, Xavier Pinson missing out by only one, and Kimbal Mackenzie made an incredible impact off the bench with 17. 

Competing with a Lions side that had three 20-point scorers on the game, the Riders have consistently found multiple plates who can put the ball in the basket up and down the roster. 

Led by Jaren Holmes’ 18 points, topping the Riders’ scoring charts once again, the Riders shot 47% from the field and 35% from three, their killer efficiency allowing them to go blow for blow with the Lions.

After their 111-point scoring night against the Eagles, the Riders have proven their ability to blow anybody out of the water on any given night. 

Recipe for rebounding  

After having difficulty on the defensive glass throughout the season, the Riders had no such issues last night. 

They kept the Lions off the offensive boards completely for three and a half quarters to secure every defensive possession and won the offensive rebounding battle 9-5 by the finish. 

It was a group rebounding effort, with five Riders finishing the game with four or more, and all but one player contributing to the rebounding tally. 

It’s a momentous step in the right direction should the Riders find the same success against the Cheshire Phoenix. 

The sixth man

The Riders fed off the Morningside crowd all evening long, allowing them to battle back from deficits and keep it a game throughout. 

Your energy spurred the team on and came agonisingly close to getting us over the line for a hard-fought win. 

Thank you for your incredible support, and we need you back behind the team on November 25 as we take on the Manchester Giants!

Get your tickets here!

Report: Riders fall just short to Lions

Friday night saw the Riders fall 102-94 to the league-leading London Lions after a captivating game in the British Basketball League Championship.

Coach Rob Paternostro’s squad fought to the last buzzer and led mid-way through the second half, but clinical offense from Petar Božić’s side gave them their 13th win in 14 games.

The best player on the court for the Riders was tenacious shooting guard Caleb Asberry, who dropped 15 points, pulled down nine rebounds and snagged three steals in a complete display.

BBL ‘Team of the Week’ member Jaren Holmes top scored for the home side, dropping 18 points, including three of four from deep range. The wing forward also showed his ability to hit the open man, dishing eight assists on the night.

London’s roster quality showed in a big way, three players scoring over 20 points, Dante Grantham the pick of the bunch with a 22-point/11-rebound double-double.

The game started at a frenetic pace as both teams looked to use speed and ball movement to create easy buckets.

After a breathless first three minutes, the score sat at 12-9 in favour of London – the Lions looking in fine form but being matched by the Riders.

Miryne Thomas once again opened the Riders’ account, hitting two shots from the free throw line, followed by an emphatic two-handed dunk by Braelen Bridges who found space with a nice perimeter move.

A beautiful cut to the basket from Holmes was rewarded with a layup and Xavier Pinson brought the home faithful to its feet by hitting a nasty crossover on the experienced Jordan Taylor, before draining a three.

It didn’t take long before the Lions – who became the first British outfit to defeat Spanish opposition on Wednesday – showed their quality, Matt Morgan leading all scorers with 10 first quarter points.

Leicester’s depth was also showing its value, led by a fired-up captain in Kimbal Mackenzie, who hit a pair of ‘and one’ plays to peg the visitors back from an eight-point lead.

A corner three from veteran Connor Washington brought the Riders within three, and a premium quality quarter ended with the Lions holding a 29-26 lead.

If the first ten minutes started with a bang, the second quarter was the opposite.

Both teams found hitting buckets tough, and the vaunted Lions’ offense was struggling to get through the Riders’ ‘three-two’ zone defence.

Mackenzie continued to bring energy from the bench, feeding Bridges on consecutive plays for two quick buckets, and after a deep three from Holmes, Riders were within reach of a first lead of the game.

Once more, London showed their class and built another useful gap after a pair of threes from Connor Morgan, but like a marching band, the Riders kept moving forwards and bringing the noise.

The loudest moment of the night came with the first half buzzer ready to sound, as Asberry pilfered the ball and slammed it home to record his tenth point and bring the Riders within three.

An entertaining first 20 concluded with London leading 51-48 and all to play for.

The second half commenced with the home crowd in full voice, and the back-and-forth basketball didn’t disappoint.

London were showing a metronomic ability to get to the foul line and hit at a clip of over 90%, but the intensity from the Riders was rattling the league leaders.

Bridges was showing his skills inside, hitting on a couple of smooth post moves, but the defence of Asberry was ‘stealing’ the show.

The Texan was all over the court, picking pockets, smashing home dunks and showing hustle on the offensive glass – his excellent play helping the Riders to a narrow third quarter lead.

Not to be outdone, the Riders’ bench also flashed, Samuel Idowu demonstrating soft hands to feed a cutting Thomas, and when Mackenzie dropped yet another ‘and one’ coupled with a deep three, the Morningside was rocking.

As good as the Riders were playing, the Lions matched them, ending the quarter with an easy layup from a missed free throw to lead 74-72.

The final ten minutes brought with it a tense atmosphere, but consecutive shots from downtown by Holmes and Mackenzie saw the home fans on their feet once more.

The Lions’ offense would not be denied however, as they hit three shots in a row to take a five-point lead. 

Gabe Olaseni and Grantham were providing most of the visitors’ threat, showing strength and accuracy inside to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Coach Paternostro’s young squad showed commendable endeavour and fight during the final five minutes, but big plays from Holmes and Thomas weren’t enough to reel last season’s champions in.

The final buzzer sounded, and the Lions returned to the capital after possibly the toughest game of their campaign so far.

How to donate to Leicester Hospitals Charity’s “Boss Breakout” event

Leicester Riders’ Head of Commercial, Tracey Hallam, is taking part in the “Boss Breakout” charity event, led by Leicester Hospitals Charity at the Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester.

We need your help to break Tracey out! She needs to raise £1,000 towards the initiative in order to escape the LHC pop-up shop at Highcross Shopping Centre.

Click here to contribute to the cause.

Alternatively, get tickets to our upcoming fixture against Manchester Giants on November 25, and £1 per ticket will be donated to the event.

The money will be directly channelled into the purchase of 12 fold-away hospital beds. These beds will serve an essential purpose, allowing parents to stay overnight with their children during their hospital stays. 

This invaluable support aims to ease the burden on families when faced with the challenging circumstances of having a child in hospital.

Your contribution will make a meaningful difference in the lives of families who find themselves in the difficult situation of having a child in the hospital. 

Championship Preview: Riders vs Lions

This Friday is an important one for the Riders as round nine of the British Basketball League Championship brings the visit of the table-topping London Lions to the Morningside Arena.

It will be the first time Rob Paternostro’s team will face the reigning champions this season, having narrowly lost to them in the Playoff Final last May.

Both squads will also need to manage their minutes wisely, with the Riders due to play Cheshire on November 12 and the Lions competing in midweek EuroCup games.

Fixture Information

Leicester Riders vs London Lions

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Friday, November 10, 7:45pm

Get tickets here!

Maintaining Form in the Morningside

Since the opening-day loss to the Cheshire Phoenix, the Riders have turned the Morningside Arena into a fortress, winning four consecutive home games by a margin of 14.8 points.

Victories against Plymouth, Newcastle and a double over Surrey have proved vital in keeping the Riders above .500, but their fiercest test of the young season is likely to come this Friday.

One thing the Riders need to maintain is a prolific offence at home.

Leicester are hitting an average of 94 points in front of their home supporters and last Saturday’s 111-point demolition of the Eagles shows a continuous upward trend in scoring production.

Jaren Holmes, Miryne Thomas and Xavier Pinson regularly drop double-digits in the scoring column, ably supported by captain Kimbal Mackenzie and cultured big man Samuel Idowu off the bench.

They must be at the top of their game against the Lions, who are giving up just 79.2 points per game on the road so far and are one of the best defensive teams in the league.

Depth scoring, which proved so successful against the Eagles, could once again be the key to success for the Riders.

Leicester’s bench dropped an immense 51 points on Newcastle, and players like Mackenzie and high-flying wing Blake Bowman finished with a plus/minus of 17, illustrating the positivity a strong second unit can bring.

The Lions also have a squad that runs deep with quality, so expect this contest to be a battle of attrition – especially with both teams looking to important games in the next few days.

A ‘Near Perfect’ Start

In the first 13 games of their title defence, the Lions have looked nothing short of dominant.

Remaining unbeaten until a loss in Plymouth on November 5, where six Lions first team players were inactive, Petar Božić’s team have sat first in the British Basketball League Championship table since round one.

Sunday’s 94-70 defeat to the Patriots came after the Lions heavily rotated the squad as they attempt to manage the rigours of competing in two competitions simultaneously.

Top contributors Tariq Phillip, Luke Nelson and Conor Morgan were rested, and League leading scorer Matt Morgan was limited to just 16 minutes on court.

However, the blowout proves that if teams force tough perimeter shots – London shot just 19% from three-point range – and work hard on the offensive glass for second chance points, the Lions can be outmatched.

Friday’s trip to Leicester bisects two road games in Europe (last night against Joventut Badalona and next week at Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul) so the Lions’ strength in depth will be tested to its limits.

The Riders will still need to front up on the defensive side of the ball though, as their opponents bring an offense that leads the League in every major shooting category.

A 99.9 PPG average, a field goal percentage of over 50 and a 39.1% three-point clip demonstrate the potency of the Londoners’ attack.

The visitors can score from anywhere, matching the Riders at just over 38 points in the paint per game and sitting atop the league in buckets from beyond the arc with 144.

In what is sure to delight both sets of supporters, this contest could turn into a shootout.

Key Matchup

Friday’s key matchup is between two American guards who can do it all: Jaren Holmes and Matt Morgan.

A free-scoring point guard who is proving deadly from beyond the arc this season, Morgan is crucial to the Lions’ success.

In his first British Basketball League season since joining from Le Mans (French Betclic Elite league), the North Carolina native leads the league in scoring and three-point percentage, hitting 20.3 PPG and 47% of his deep shots.

The 26-year-old comes with high-level pedigree, having spent two seasons in the NBA G-League for the Toronto Raptors before moving to Europe where he shone during spells in Turkey and France.

Morgan is a matchup nightmare for opposing defences. If there is one player on the Lions that can never be left open, it’s #33.

Riders’ ‘Team of the Week’ member Holmes may lack the experience of his opponent, he makes up for it with sheer intensity and will to score.

Standing at 6’4” and powerfully built, Holmes is formidable when he finds a lane, and his ability to fight through contact to finish inside is largely why he sits atop the Riders’ scoring charts with 14.4 PPG.

Evidence from last Saturday’s 28-point performance against the Eagles shows that #13 can also score with finesse as he dropped three-pointers and delicate floaters inside with barely a miss.

The former Iowa State athlete is getting better every time he enters the court, and despite not directly facing Morgan on Friday, the points battle between the two could prove crucial.

Played for both- Josh Ward Hibbert 

Josh Ward-Hibbert, playing in his eighth British Basketball League season, has played seven of those years with the Riders and Lions. 

He first joined Leicester in 2016, kicking off his Riders career with back-to-back trebles in 2017 and 2018. He collected seven pieces of silverware during his four seasons in the East Midlands, improving season on season. 

His final year saw Ward-Hibbert average 11.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, shooting 51.6% from the field and 41.2 % from three. The season, cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, proved to be his final in Riders red. 

He moved to the Lions the following season, remaining in the capital for three years. Last year he helped London to a treble of their own, contributing 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. 

This season, Ward-Hibbert took his talents to the North East to suit up with the Newcastle Eagles. Early in the year, he’s scoring 4.6 points per game, shooting 35.1% from the field.

Sam Ashby named to GB roster

Riders guard Sam Ashby has been named to the Great Britain 12-player roster for the upcoming EuroBasket Qualifiers.

This news comes after Ashby was called up for the pre-qualifiers training camp roster.

Great Britain will face Sweden tonight at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester at 7:30 pm, and Estonia away on Sunday, November 12.

It will be the 22-year-old’s first international appearance for Great Britain.

Want to see Ashby in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Nottingham Wildcats!

Leicester Riders and Audacious Church Collaborate to Bring Basketball to Cyabatanzi, Rwanda

Leicester Riders are proud to have contributed to the creation of a basketball club in Cyabatanzi, Rwanda. 

This initiative was made possible through the club’s collaboration with Audacious Church in Manchester, as part of the church’s broader mission to provide healthcare, education and other amenities to the village, which is situated approximately 100 kilometers to the east of Rwanda’s capital, Kibaji.

The church raised funds and actively participated in the construction of a basketball court within the local school in Cyabatanzi.

In conjunction with these efforts, the Riders provided essential basketball equipment, including t-shirts, jerseys, kit bags and basketballs, to facilitate the youth’s involvement in the sport.

This was made possible thanks to the efforts of the Leicester Riders Foundation, who generously donated the equipment.

The Riders’ affiliation with the church traces back to former Rider Patrick Whelan’s mother, Catherine. Along with 16 volunteers, Catherine visited Cyabatanzi to kick-start the project, which began in May 2022. 

The culmination of their efforts materialised in September, marked by the completion of the basketball court and the establishment of a basketball club for the village’s youth.

Catherine Whelan expressed her excitement about collaborating with the club, saying, “We were very excited to work with the Riders. With them, we can help to change the lives of the children in Cyabatanzi. 

“They were over the moon. As soon as the court went up, they were so excited to be wearing real basketball gear. They were so grateful to have a focus. 

“Who knows what can happen with those kids now? It can change their lives. It goes beyond explanation what having a court can do for them.”

Leicester Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston added: “We’re delighted to be able to contribute towards this terrific project and support the progression of basketball in Rwanda. 

“The support that Audacious Church continues to provide Cyabatanzi is impactful to so many, and we were honoured to assist in the mission.

“Thank you to Catherine for helping to make this happen, and for all the work she and the rest of the team put into making this incredible project happen.”

Catherine, who was recognised as one of Africa’s Top 10 basketball players over the last half-century by FIBA, emphasised the immeasurable value of providing access to sports in the lives of young people. 

She shared her own experience, saying, “I began playing basketball only because I had a court across from my house. That’s all I did before and after school. I feel incredibly strongly that something is going to come from that place. We’ve invested in the court, so now they can grow up with the sport like I did.”

Audacious Church’s involvement in Cyabatanzi extends into the future, as they plan to support Rwanda’s English in Action Programme during the upcoming summer. This program focuses on enhancing the quality of English teaching in the formal education system through a variety of strategic interventions.

For those interested in contributing to the church’s mission in Cyabatanzi, you can donate below.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against London Lions!

EverythingBranded to “Takeover” London Lions fixture

EverythingBranded are hosting a takeover of the Morningside Arena on 10th November for the Riders fixture against the London Lions.

EverythingBranded will be hosting the fan zone in Mattioli Courts with activities, freebies and games running for two hours before the game.

Leicester Riders’ thriving relationship with merchandise partner EverythingBranded dates back to the beginning of the 2022/23 season.

The partnership has brought the Leicester Riders John Lewis pop-up store in the Highcross shopping centre, the reinvention of Riders’ between-quarter entertainment “chuck-a-duck”, and exclusive Leicester Riders merchandise. 

EverythingBranded’s takeover at Leicester Riders represents a new pinnacle for this partnership.

Lauren Lawless, Marketing Manager at EverythingBranded, commented:

“We are thrilled to be a sponsor of Leicester Riders for the second season. We are excited to be working with the team at the arena to launch our first proper takeover on 10th November. 

“As ever, the fans are our priority for this event, with freebies, giveaways, lots of fun interactive elements and, of course, basketball! It is bound to be a brilliant evening for the whole family as the Riders take on the Lions and a great way to celebrate our partnership with the team.”

Russell Levenston, Managing Director of Leicester Riders, added: 

“EverythingBranded is a great partner of the Riders, and we’ve enjoyed working with them over the past season. We’re working really closely with them to provide even better merchandise offers for our fans, and we are all incredibly excited about the takeover game against the London Lions. We appreciate their continued support of the club!”

Want to see the takeover in action?

Get tickets to the Riders’ fixture against the London Lions!

Jaren Holmes named to Team of the Week

Jaren Holmes has been named to the British Basketball Team of the week.

This comes following the Michigan guard’s 28 points, five rebounds and four assists in the Riders’ 111-88 win against the Newcastle Eagles on Saturday.

Holmes’ has hit the ground running in his first professional season, leading the team with 14.4 points per game. His 28 points against the Eagles marks his highest tally of the season, after putting up 18 points on two occasions earlier in the season.

“I’m very thankful to be a Rider, and it was a great team victory,” said Holmes after Saturday’s win. “I couldn’t have scored that many points without the team. We were moving the ball really well.

“Everything we work on in practice is coming on the court. The guards did a great job of driving and kicking, and I was ready to knock down the shots. I’m thankful my teammates trust me to make shots. I put myself in a position to make plays, and I was able to make them today.”

Head Coach Rob Paternostro spoke highly about his rookie guard: “He’s a big-time player. He’s the first in every day and the last one out. He’s a great competitor, and he had some great looks from all over today.

“What I liked is the variation in his play. It was the three-ball and the floaters in close that saw him get points on the board. It was a really versatile game from him today.”

Want to see Holmes in action?

Get tickets to the next home game against London Lions!

Academy Wrap Up – 6th November

This weekend saw 5 of our Academy teams in action, including a double header for our U16 Girls Premier who had both a league and cup fixture. Check out our coaches’ thoughts below.

U18 Men 76-83 Nottingham Wildcats

“It was a very close loss for the U18 men at Wildcats. The team played good fast basketball despite the big physical difference between the teams. We managed to fight back multiple times to nearly take the win but just fell short in the end.” – Coach Pietro.

U14 Boys Premier 90-72 City of Birmingham Rockets

“The boys really wanted to win so from the start we played very well on offence and limiting the amount of shots COB got. We led from the start to the end. The team played some great offence and defence allowing us to win the game.” – Coach Ricardo.

U16 Boys Premier 65-78 City Of Birmingham Rockets

U16 Girls Premier 87-24 Manchester Mystics II

U16 Girls Premier 59-51 Sheffield Hatters – Cup Fixture

“We played in an extremely tough environment to be playing in, and with Kyrah and Eliana fouling out, everybody else needed to step up and they did. We were Committed to the zone defence in the second half to slow down the scoring and see out the game.” – Coach Lewis.

Riders react to win against the Eagles

The Riders improved to 6-4 after a 111-88 win against the Newcastle Eagles. Here’s how the Riders reacted to the blowout win…

Jaren Holmes

Rookie guard Jaren Holmes led the game with his best performance of the season, putting up 28 points, five rebounds and four assists. 

He explained his feelings after the game. 

“It feels amazing. I’m very thankful to be a Rider, and it was a great team victory. I couldn’t have scored that many points without the team. We were moving the ball really well tonight.

“Everything we work on in practice is coming on the court. The guards did a great job of driving and kicking, and I was ready to knock down the shots. I’m thankful my teammates trust me to make shots. I put myself in a position to make plays, and I was able to make them today.”

The game was in the balance at the half, before a monster third quarter saw the Riders blow the game wide open. The message at halftime was to trust in the team’s ability.

“We were told to stay the course and trust our brand of basketball. We didn’t get into all the extra stuff and just played basketball. I know a lot has been made of our rivalry with Newcastle, but that’s not how we try and play basketball, and I’m thankful we showed that.

“Coach Rob put us in a position to be successful today, and we followed the gameplan to a tee.”

Rob Paternostro 

Following the Riders’ impressive victory, Head Coach Rob Paternostro was proud of the way the team responded from falling down double digits in the opening quarter. 

“After the first quarter, we played a solid game. The points off of turnovers were the problem early, so once we got control of that and we were able to get our defence set up, we improved as the game went on.”

The Riders’ bench outscored the Eagles 51-15, their depth proving the difference in the tie. 

“Our depth was important again today. We’re playing 10 players throughout the game, which allows our defensive pressure to pick up as the game goes on. Tonight, we wore them down by the end, and that’s one of our biggest strengths.”

Reacting to Holmes’ career night, Paternostro praised the work ethic of the Iowa State graduate. 

“He’s a big-time player. He’s the first in every day and the last one out. He’s a great competitor, and he had some great looks from all over today.

“What I liked is the variation in his play. It was the three-ball and the floaters in close that saw him get points on the board. It was a really versatile game from him today.”

Next up for the Riders is the undefeated London Lions. Paternotro stated the importance of preparation going into that game for the Leicester roster brimming with potential. 

“We’re going to have a good week of practice and try and figure them out. No one has yet! They’re a great team that I’ve enjoyed watching this year, so we have a lot of work to do.

“One of the messages this week when we were watching film, was that there’s a long way up for this team. I feel good about that, and it’s exciting for the staff for the rest of the season.”

Blake Bowman

After putting up eight points and four rebounds in 17 minutes of action, athletic wing Blake Bowman reacted to the win. 

“It feels great. We had a lot of energy from the crowd, and I’m super happy with the win.”

“It came from everyone today. To get 111 points, you need contributions from everywhere. Jaren played really well: 28 points is a great performance from him.”

Bowman led the team with 15 points in the Riders’ previous game, the Derby native finding form early in the season. He credits his play to the extended minutes he is beginning to find in the rotation. 

“It’s great getting more opportunities. Getting more touches has made me feel more comfortable, and I’m trying to contribute the best I can.”

Like his coach, Bowman realises the importance of the upcoming week ahead of facing the Lions. 

“It’s super important. They’re the team to beat right now, and we’re going to be locked in. We’ve got to come ready, and I’m sure we’ll do exactly that.”

Want to see the Riders take on the Lions? Get tickets here!

Report: Riders dominate against Newcastle

The Riders improved to 6-4 in the British Basketball League Championship after a convincing 111-88 victory over the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles on Saturday.

A 36-point third quarter from Rob Paternostro’s team rattled the Eagles in the second half, and the loss drops Marc Steutel’s squad to 3-7 on the season.

On a night where several Riders caught the eye, energetic shooting guard Jaren Holmes had potentially his best game yet, dropping 25 points on 84% shooting, adding four assists and five boards for good measure.

Holmes lit up the pine all game, his impact displayed with a plus 22 score differential when he was on court.

A high-quality first half from Xavier Pinson gave the Riders a boost early, continued by pure dominance from the second unit, who scored 51 points from the bench.

Eagles’ point guard Jordan Johnson bagged his usual 25 points, and enigmatic forward Tajh Green made a 13-point, 14-rebound double-double, but a spectacular second-half of offense from the Riders put the game beyond doubt.

After a pre-game build up heavy with anticipation, both teams came out looking determined to gain a useful lead early. The half that followed, didn’t disappoint.

Three-pointers dominated the first few minutes of play, the dynamic duo of Pinson and Holmes hitting back-to-back triples to answer five early points from the Eagles.

Newcastle crept out to an eight-point lead thanks to tenacious defence and 11 points from Rickey McGill, but a couple of beautiful buckets from Pinson and tough play from the Riders’ bench kept the lead narrow.

One move in the paint from the Riders’ starting point guard saw him scythe through multiple players before readjusting mid-shot to draw the foul and hit the ‘and one’ play.

Skilled big man Samuel Idowu made his presence known from the bench, slamming home a dunk, dismissing a McGill layup with authority and stroking from deep all within a couple of minutes.

With the Idowu three, Riders went into the second quarter trailing by just a single bucket.

The second quarter began, and the pace of the game took a step up. 

Five quick points from talented point guard Jordan Johnson were answered by a pair of threes from Riders’ veterans, Mo Walker and Connor Washington.

Leicester’s much discussed depth was showing its value once again, the Riders’ bench outscoring the Eagles 25-6 in the first half.

Johnson was cooking for Newcastle – hitting 14 first-half points – but he was matched by the tandem of Pinson and Kimbal Mackenzie, who dropped 14 and eight points respectively.

A pair of corner threes from the Riders’ captain sparked the home side as the half rushed to a close, and when Pinson hit his free throws following more aggressive play in the paint, Leicester took their first lead of the game.

The Riders were now forcing their visitors into poorly taken shots, and despite Green working his way to his double-double, Leicester went into the locker rooms in the lead, 53-50.

The first 20 minutes was a virtuoso display of deep ball shooting, both teams draining over 50% of their threes – the Riders at an eye-watering 66%.

If fans thought the pace would slow in the second half, they were badly mistaken.

Two deep threes from Green and wing player Devin Whitfield were quickly answered by the Riders – buckets from Braelen Bridges, Caleb Asberry and four fast break points by Holmes giving Paternostro’s squad a steadily growing lead.

Leicester were now running hot, playing wonderful transition basketball combining effective defence with ruthlessness on offense.

Even Eagles’ talisman Johnson was struggling to hit shots, and when scores from Pinson and Miryne Thomas dropped, the visitors were staring at a 15-point deficit.

Leicester were also riding the heat of Holmes’ hand, the two-guard boasting 17 points after hitting every one of his shots from the floor.

A lengthy break following a facial injury to Thomas slowed Riders’ momentum, but Holmes quelled any thoughts of a quick Newcastle comeback with another triple.

The Eagles were still dangerous though, big-bodied forward Malcolm Delpeche wowing both sets of supporters with a thunderous dunk off an alley-oop. 

With Newcastle’s shooters hitting a cold snap and the Riders’ second unit continuing to dominate the floor, Leicester entered the final stanza holding a comfortable 20-point lead.

Leicester’s exceptional play continued into the fourth, a cool-headed Washington draining a step back three to build the lead further. 

The Eagles could not handle the Riders’ defensive intensity, and with Holmes looking impossible to defend, the result looked certain with six minutes still to go.

The contest meandered to a close in jubilant fashion for the Riders’ faithful as their team saw out the well-earned win.

Late ejections for Green and Darius Defoe for persistent fouling summed things up for the visitors, who will be hoping for better as they look to move up the BBL championship table.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to the next home game against London Lions!

Championship Preview: Riders vs Eagles

The Riders will begin November’s slate of games this Saturday, welcoming the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles to the Morningside Arena for the first time this season.

Despite the young season, the two squads have already built a competitive rivalry, taking one game apiece in October after 80 minutes of back-and-forth play.

Fixture Information

Leicester Riders vs Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Saturday, November 4, 7:30pm

Get tickets here!

Happy to be Home

The Riders will be glad to play in front of the home supporters this weekend after coming agonisingly close to claiming a great victory in Scotland.

Rob Paternostro’s young team have showed they can win on the road – beating this weekend’s opponents and dominating the 7-3 Bristol Flyers – but Clifton Moore Jr’s bucket with two seconds left gave the victory to the Caledonia Gladiators last Sunday.

Leicester fell to an 84-83 defeat, but their 5-4 record doesn’t do justice to how good this team is and how far they can go.

The Riders have one of the deepest squads in the British Basketball League which is reflected in the quality of offense they produce.

Leicester sit second in the league at 88.4 points per game, but no Riders feature among the Top 10 points scorers.

Superb sharing of the ball and a punchy bench means that Riders’ top scorer – Jaren Holmes at 12.9 PPG – is joined by three teammates scoring over 11.3 PPG. Four players averaging over 11.3 PPG is the most of any team in the BBL.

Leicester’s October 6 victory over Newcastle in the Vertu Motors Arena saw them nearly double their opponents’ bench points total.

For the Riders to take a 2-1 series lead over the Eagles, second unit standouts like veterans Kimbal Mackenzie and Connor Washington must keep up their current sparkling form.

Victory in Europe

Much like the 92-85 loss on October 6, the Eagles will face the Riders after a midweek contest against tough European competition.

Wednesday night saw Marc Steutel’s team hit the pine against multiple Czech champions, Basket Brno, beating them 87-81 after an impressive opening quarter.

The consistent danger that is Jordan Johnson finished as the game’s MVP, hitting 25 points and dishing eight assists in a typically action-packed display.

The Eagles built a lead through fast break points and tenacity on the offensive glass, something the Riders will need to stand up to this weekend.

Newcastle excel at offensive rebounding, leading to an offense that thrives off extra possessions, giving scorers like Johnson and the mercurial Rickey McGill scope to get hot.

Led by Johnson, they also shoot well from the free throw line, hitting 76% of their foul shots which is second in the BBL.

So far this season, the Riders have done a great job of matching the Eagles in these areas – they will need more of the same come Saturday, in what is sure to be an exciting spectacle.

Key Matchup

Following the events of the highly charged contest between these two a couple weeks back, it’s hard to look past the battle of power forwards, Miryne Thomas and Tajh Green.

Two big men with scoring ability and a competitive edge, the clash between Thomas and Green is sure to get the Riders’ faithful nudging towards the edge of their seats.

The Eagles’ 6’8” forward has been a star of the British Basketball League since he entered the league with the Manchester Giants last season.

While his minutes and scoring numbers are slightly down on last season, the South Carolina native still poses a significant threat, notably dropping 23 points on the undefeated London Lions, including three deep balls. 

Green has always been aggressive in the paint, but his range and accuracy has improved in Newcastle. The physical forward is hitting at a higher percentage from deep this season, so the Riders’ defence must take notice when Green is circling beyond the arc.

Rookie forward Thomas can also string it from downtown, but it’s the speed and agility he shows underneath the basket that truly gets pulses racing.

Standing at 6’8”, the Cleveland-born baller utilises his length and movement skills to manipulate defences into giving him space, often finishing off a leading pass with a spectacular dunk.

Many of his 12.2 PPG come after a show of elite athleticism – a sight Riders fans are getting used to seeing each week.

The past two weeks have seen the youngster solidify his play with excellent rebounding, pushing him into the BBL Top 10 and earning him a spot on the league’s Team-of-the-Week twice.

The Riders won’t meet the Eagles again until 2024. Paternostro’s men will want a victory to savour over the winter period. That competitive fight won’t present itself in any players more than it will in the frontcourt between Thomas and Green.

Sam Ashby receives first Great Britain Call-Up

Riders guard Sam Ashby has been named to Great Britain’s training camp roster ahead of next week’s EuroBasket Qualifiers. 

It’s a first international call-up for Ashby, the Riders’ summer signing who has averaged 14 points and three rebounds on 52.4% shooting through her first two games of the Women’s British Basketball League season. 

Great Britain will face Sweden at home on Thursday, November 9, and Estonia away on Sunday, November 12.

“It’s a privilege to have this opportunity to train with some of the best players in the country,” said Ashby.

“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and getting started!”

Riders review: October summary

October was a busy month of Riders basketball, featuring six games and four road trips.

Here, we take a look back at the month of action.

October games

The Riders went 3-3 across the month of October, facing two doubleheader weekends and four games on the road. They began with a bang, winning 92-85 in a wire-to-wire game on the road against the Eagles, led by Miryne Thomas’ 17 points. 

They followed this up at home a week later, beating the Surrey Scorchers comfortably 91-74. October featured two home games against Surrey. In the second, the Riders pulled off the biggest recorded comeback in British Basketball League history to take the win. 

The Riders fell to the Manchester Giants in the second of back-to-back games, lost another wire-to-wire battle against the Eagles and fell short in the final seconds against the Celadonia Gladiators, as Clifton Moore Jr.’s hookshot sent Leicester back to the East Midlands empty handed. 

Going .500 in October means the Riders sit fifth in the standing with a 5-4 record, two wins behind second. 

Magic Miryne

Leading the team over the month was Miryne Thomas, who averaged 13.5 points and 7.7 rebounds over the six games. His performances earned him a place on the British Basketball Team of the Week twice, leading the Riders scoring in each of their wins. 

His best performance of October was the second of back-to-back 20 point double-doubles as he led the comeback against Surrey. Thomas put up 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in his stat sheet-stuffing effort. 

Thomas’ rebounding efforts have seen him rise the League charts, now ranking seventh in total rebounds among British Basketball League players. 

Jaren Holmes remains the Riders’ leading scorer on the season, after putting up 12.3 points per game over the month. 

Building off the bench

The Riders’ strength in depth continued throughout October, outscoring their opponent’s bench by an average of 8.2 points per game. 

The team had a double-digit scorer off the bench in five of their six October games, Kimbal Mackenzie leading the second unit with 12 points per game. He led the team’s scoring with 22 points in the Riders’ first game against Surrey. 

Leicester’s captain came up huge in the clutch against the Gladiators, making what appeared to be the game-winning basket with seven seconds left. Mackenzie leading the second wave of attack for the Riders is pivotal to their success.  

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to the next Riders home game against Newcastle Eagles!

Important Notice: Abbey Park Fireworks Event on November 4th

Leicester Riders fixture on November 4th, 7:30 pm, at Morningside Arena Leicester is set to coincide with Abbey Park Bonfire & Firework Display. 

The Arena are working with Leicester City Council to ensure both events can proceed successfully. 

To ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience for fans visiting the Arena for Saturday night’s fixture, please note the following information.


The Abbey Park Bonfire & Firework Display is expected to draw a substantial crowd.

As a result, heightened traffic congestion may occur in the vicinity. We kindly request fans to prepare for potential travel delays when commuting to and from the game.

We recommend planning your travel routes in advance and allowing extra time for any unforeseen traffic hold-ups.


In light of the anticipated crowd attending the fireworks event at Abbey Park, fans are strongly advised to avoid parking in the Abbey Park car park on the day of the game.

Memory Lane and Charter Street parking areas remain unaffected by the event. Fans can continue to utilize these parking facilities without the risk of interference from the fireworks event.

We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to an exciting game night!