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…
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.”
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.”
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.”