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Report: Riders fall on the road to the Phoenix

The Riders fell 87-83 on the road to the Cheshire Phoenix to drop their record to 7-9. 

They looked in control of the tie going into the fourth, but the Phoenix won the final period 25-8 as the Riders took their second straight loss. 

Leicester’s TJ Lall led the game with 24 points, going 5-7 from deep and cooking in the third quarter to build a lead. But the Riders’ offence stalled in the final quarter, while Cheshire took 16 foul shots to get points on the board. 

Laquincy Rideau led the Phoenix with 22, as four of their starters put up double-digit points. Rideau accompanied his scoring with 10 rebounds and eight assists in a near-triple double performance.

After a 6-0 Phoenix start, the Riders relied on their captain Kimbal Mackenzie to steady the ship and get the team’s first six points on the board.

The Riders found joy at the basket to generate their offence as they edged a narrow lead. They had seven scorers in the first quarter, which was concluded by Lall who made it 26-19 with a reverse at the rim. 

The hosts came back into it in the second, draining their shots from distance at the hot hands of American guard Maceo Jack. The sides engaged in a back and forth, trading buckets up to the half. Sam Idowu hustled hard to bring his quarter tally to six points and a monster block on Rideau. 

There was nothing in it going into the locker rooms, the Riders edging a 45-44 lead at the half led by nine from Mackenzie. 

Lall took over to start the second half, scoring 10 points in five minutes including three triples. Miryne Thomas followed up his teammates from range to extend the visitor’s lead to eight. 

Lall made it a double digit advantage with two minutes left in the quarter with another three point bomb, brining his tally on the game to 22. Holding a 13 point lead, the Riders were in control with one to play. 

The Phoenix started the final quarter 8-2 to get themselves back into the tie. Jaren Holmes stepped up to stem the tide for Leicester, driving into the lane to string a floater, but Cheshire brought it to a three point game with four straight trips to the free throw line. 

They tied it up on the following possession with a three from EJ Stephens, and took the lead with an and-one play scored by Aaryn Rai. They went on to extend their lead, Ethan Chargois laying it in from close to make it 85-79 with 1:42 to play.

Mackenzie drained a long two to keep the Riders in with a chance of the win, but a 50/50 out of bounds call went Cheshire’s way with eight seconds left to seal the win for the hosts. 

The Riders are back in action next Sunday, taking on the London Lions in the capital.


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