The Riders returned to British Basketball League Championship action with a bang, beating the Scorchers 104-84 on the road.
Here’s what we can take from the win…
Strength in depth
The Riders had contributions all the way down the roster, with every player in the game day squad scoring multiple field goals.
From the leading scorer, Teddy Allen, who topped the game’s scoring charts with 20, to Blake Bowman, who attacked the hoop effectively in his 14 minutes of action, Leicester relentlessly scored throughout with multiple lineups.
The Riders bench, led by TJ Lall’s 13 points, outscored Surrey’s 39-27, despite Surrey’s Quin Cooper providing a hot hand off the bench to score 16 and go 4-9 from three.
“We knew they were coming off a back-to-back, so we wanted to play all 10 guys and get up and down the floor,” said Head Coach Rob Paternostro postgame.
“We did a really good job of that, especially in the first half.”
Jaren Holmes, who went off for 14 points in the game, praised the group’s effort to get the job done in Surrey:
“We went out and played together and let the ball move. We had a lot of guys in double figures, so it was a good experience. It was fun to be out there- I love playing these types of games, where everyone is moving the ball and scoring.”
Practice makes perfect
Both Holmes and Paternostro reflected on the week of practice, and how intense 5-on-5 action helped prepare them for the Scorchers and lift the mood in camp after last weekend’s Trophy Final Four defeat.
“We were obviously a little down after the loss in Birmingham, but we had a great scrimmage on Thursday with 10 players playing really well, and that translated on the court today,” noted Paternostro.
“The scrimmage we had this week was intense,” added Holmes. “Coach let us play for the longest we’ve played all season, and everybody was going at it.
“We were competing, getting into it with each other and trying to win, no matter what. That carried over into this game.”
Coming into the game against Surrey, who take the most three-point shots in the League, it was important for the Riders to be able to win the battle from distance.
They did exactly that, and as the most efficient deep shooters in the British Basketball League, shooting 39.5% on the season, they went 14-27 from behind the arc led by three triples from Kimbal Mackenzie.
“We know they’re a really good three-point shooting team, and Cooper was exceptional out there. We really wanted to limit those opportunities for them where we could.”
Surrey shot 37% from three on the game, but couldn’t match the Riders’ pinpoint accuracy from range.
“We’re not always looking for the three, but we have a lot of guys that can make it, and they made them today.”
Leicester had six players hit two or more threes in the game, providing deep threat from up and down and roster, everywhere on the court.
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