Report: Riders’ season ends in Sheffield

Leicester Riders’ season ended in the British Basketball League Playoff Quarter-Finals, after losing to the Sheffield Sharks 86-69 in Game Three. 

After a closely fought first half, matching the tone set in the opening two games of the series, the Sharks blew the game open in the third with hot shooting, and the Riders couldn’t get back in it. 

Sam Idowu fought hard to chip into the deficit with 13 third quarter points, and led the team in the game with 16. But it wasn’t enough to make inroads, and the Sharks advanced to the semi finals. 

As he did in Game One, Prentiss Nixon led the Sharks with 17 points in 19 minutes of play. 

Riders fight back after slow start

Sharks had an electric start, with Malek Green capping off a 7-2 run from the tip-off with a putback jam. Sesan Russell found a response with a three from the top to momentarily quiet the crowd, but Devearl Ramsey and Green combined back-to-back to retake momentum. 

A shot clock violation from the Riders highlighted their slow offensive start. It was rookie Jaren Holmes whose aggression got them going as he pulled the strings with drive to the hoop. He drew a foul with 4:41 left in the first, his foul shots making the score 11-9, and Mo Walker tied it up at the rim a minute later. 

The Riders took their first lead of the game, Teddy Allen hitting his first three off the dribble, but the Sharks had the better of the final minute of the first with Prentiss Nixon banking in a three to end it, the hosts leading 24-21. 

Riders run meets Ratinho response 

Two Sheffield corner threes started the second quarter to give them a seven point lead. It was quickly double digits through Eytle-Rock on the break, forcing a Rob Paternostro timeout. 

A Miryne Thomas three stopped the bleeding, and after Samuel Idowu blocked Kipper Nichols driving to the rim, TJ Lall ran the break for two to cut into the deficit. 

As the Riders looked to equal the score, it was Holmes again to lead the charge. His and-one finish followed by a breakaway two cut it to one with 3:06 left in the half. 

Threes from Nichols and Jordan Ratinho undid the Riders work, however, and Ratinho hit another on the fastbreak to make the score 46-37 with one possession left in the second. That’s how the sides entered the half, as Nixon missed a prayer on the buzzer.

Sharks blow game open in the third

Ramsey got the second half underway with a midrange, followed by three scores from Green, to get the hosts the better start in the third period. They led 53-37 three minutes in. 

Idowu ran the pick-and-roll with Holmes to get two points back, but a Marcus Delpeche slam to get the points straight back. Idowu had 13 points in the third, attempting to get the Riders back in it with his work around the rim. 

But a rim-rocking alley-oop jam from Green took the roof off the Arena, and the score was 62-46 with 3:22 left in the period. 

Sharks see it out

The Sharks caught fire to end the game. Everything Pipkins and Nichols shot found string, allowing them to pull away to a 20 point advantage quickly in the fourth period. Pipkins logged with 12th points to make the score 74-52. 

Blake Bowman scored back-to-back for the Riders, using his athleticism at the rim, but Pipkins hit another three on the other end. 

The fourth quarter was 17-17, and the Riders’ season came to a close. 

Report: Riders fall in clutch to Sharks

Leicester Riders fell 74-77 to Sheffield Sharks in Game Two of the British Basketball League Quarter-Finals.

Prentiss Nixon’s game winner forced a Game Three in Sheffield, after a closely fought battle throughout. 

Teddy Allen led the tie with 23, hitting big shots consistently to keep the Riders in touch. The Riders had a chance to tie with 1.6 seconds on the clock, but Miryne Thomas’ attempt missed, and he found no call despite claims of contact. 

Malek Green led the Sharks with 22 points and 11 rebounds going 10-13 from the field. 

Game Three is to be played on Sunday May 5 at 4pm, at the Canon Medical Arena. 

Teddy takeover starts Game Two

Allen took over the opening stages with his tough shot making, draining two-and-ones including a fadeaway out of a double team. He scored six to lead Leicester to a 12-9 start by the media timeout. 

Duke Shelton, checking into the game for the first time, made an immediate impact with a slam, running the pick-and-roll with Sesan Russell. He pulled down an offensive board next time down which led to a Thomas hookshot, and putback Jaren Holmes‘ miss to put Leicester up 18-11. 

Fending off the fightback

Nixon picked up where he left off after 25 points in Game One, draining a corner three for Sheffield off the bench. He and Kipper Nichols took over for a stretch, and the Sharks tied it at 24 quickly in the second period. 

Allen stayed hot, hitting a triple from the top to get three points back for the hosts. TJ Lall drove inside for an and-one, then Conner Washington stepped up to hit a three, which took the roof off the Arena and rebuilt the Leicester lead to seven. 

A three from Allen with 3:48 left in the half, following Sam Idowu’s second block of the game, made it double digits and brought his tally to 12. 

It was Thomas’ time to get to work a minute later. He sized up Marcus Delpeche at the top of the arc, stepping back for three to make it 45-30. 

Ratinho run gets Sheffield back in it

Jordan Ratinho was the Shark to snatch momentum back, laying in a two before driving on the fastbreak to be sent to the foul line by Idowu.

After he made both, Ramsey stole the ball and found Ratinho on the run again, and he went to the line for two more to make it 45-38 with 1:07 left in the half. 

Russell, fighting among the trees for an offensive board, made a trip to the stripe himself to stop the 6-0 Ratinho run, but out of a timeout Nixon got to the midrange for two. The half ended with Green at the line, who made it 47-41 at the break. 

Sharks snatch the lead in tense third

RJ Eytle-Rock started the half with two buckets at the rim for the Sharks to make it a one score game. But Russell once again settled the team by making his way to the line, stealing the ball from Ramsey in transition and taking a charge on him in three straight plays. 

Russell was relentless, covering all 94 feet on defence to suffocate the Sharks. But his defence on Green in the post was deemed too physical for the officials, and he was forced to the bench in foul trouble. 

With Russell on the bench, Green tied it up with a drive to the rim with 5:30 left in the third, and the Sharks then took the lead at the hands of Delpeche. 

Defences locked down for the rest of the third, with only one point scored in over two minutes. Sheffield led by a score during that time until Jalon Pipkins laid in a two to make it 56-60. He then got to the hoop to start the fourth for two more. 

Sharks hit game winner in closely fought clutch

Despite a defensive start to the fourth, Idowu and Lall came up with Riders scores to cut it to two. Allen scored four straight points, but Sheffield got to the rim back-to-back and they took a four point edge. 

Two offensive rebounds for Green in succession meant it was 64-70. But Allen came up with a huge four-point play, hitting a three through contact to keep the Riders in touch. Fading away on the baseline, he then hit a tough contested two, and was followed by a layup from Holmes. 

Allen and Lall both had chances to tie the game from three, but missed both attempts with two minutes left. Idowu then went to the foul line and made one of two to make it 72-74. 

Green missed from two, and Iwodu followed his own miss to tie with 50 seconds left. Idowu was called for a double dribble, giving the Sharks a shot to win. Nixon took it, and hit a three with 1.6 seconds left. 

Thomas had a chance to tie on the horn, but missed and found no call despite claims of contact, and the series was sent to a third game.

Playoff Preview: Leicester Riders v Sheffield Sharks Game Two

Leicester Riders are set to take on the Sheffield Sharks in Game Two of the British Basketball League Playoff Quarter-Finals.

The Riders enter the game leading the best-of-three series 1-0, meaning a win in the game would see them advance to the Semi-Finals.

Here is everything you need to know about the fixture.

Fixture information 

Leicester Riders vs Sheffield Sharks

British Basketball League Playoffs: Quarter-Finals Game Two

Mattioli Arena, Leicester 

6:45 pm

Game One Recap

The Riders enter Game Two up 1-0 in the series, after taking Game One on the road 84-81. 

Riders’ rookie duo of Miryne Thomas and Jaren Holmes led the team to the win with a combined 46 points and 14 rebounds, Thomas leading the way with 24/8. 

After a hot start for the Riders, seeing them up double digits within minutes, the Sharks responded through their bench play to take the lead back, which they held until midway through the fourth. 

But a late Riders surge saw them bounce back in the clutch, locking the Sharks down with their defence. Teddy Allen sealed the win with two trips to the foul line, meaning Leicester are now one win away from the Semi-Finals. 

One to watch 

The Sharks’ bench, which scored 59 points in Game One, was led by a game-high 25 points from American guard Prentiss Nixon. 

It was a season-high for Nixon, who scored 20 on only two occasions prior this season, both times in December. 

Nixon averaged 9.2 points per game over the course of the year, but caught fire early in this one for 11 first quarter points off the bench, and led the hosts in the clutch to keep them in contention late. He went 9-15 from the field and 4-9 from three in 23 minutes of play. 

The third-year pro will take confidence into Game Two after his performance on Sunday, potentially providing a spark off the bench for the Sharks. 

The Numbers

The Riders went through shooting struggles in Game One despite coming away with the win, shooting 6-26 from behind the three point line. 

However, looking back on how the season series played out, Leicester can take confidence back to the Mattioli Arena where they shot 46% from three against the Sharks from three this season. 

This is in contrast to the 26% three point percentage in Sheffield. Leicester can expect to produce a more consistent threat from three in Game Two of the series. 

Turnover troubles also followed a similar trend. The Riders gave up double digit turnovers in their two road games against the Sharks this season, and another 12 in Game One. 

But at home, it was 6 turnovers per game for Leicester, and over 100 points scored on both occasions. 

If the numbers are anything to go by, home court advantage is set to play a role in Saturday’s action. 

Where to watch 

Only a few tickets remain to the Riders home playoff opener. You can get them here.

Tickets include entry to the Riders women’s playoff game against Essex Rebels at 2:45 pm. 

READ MORE: Playoff Preview: Leicester Riders vs Essex Rebels

Doors to the Arena open at 2:15, and the first 1,200 fans through the door will receive a free Dark Horse playoff t-shirt thanks to the generosity of the Riders’ sponsors at RDL Technologies, Vertu Motors, Torr Waterfield, Jelson Homes and EverythingBranded.

The game will also be shown live on Sky Sports and Sky Sports YouTube. 

What we learned from Game One vs Sharks

The Riders opened their 2024 Playoff campaign on Sunday with an 84-81 win on the road against the Sheffield Sharks.

Series are won and lost through game-to-game adjustments, therefore Rob Paternostro and the team will pour over film from Game One to find an edge for Game Two.

Here’s what the Riders can take from Sunday’s action.

Riders’ rookies show resilience

If there were any nerves from the Riders’ rookies, Jaren Holmes and Miryne Thomas who were both making their professional playoff debuts, it didn’t show.

The American pair led the team to the Game One win with a combined 46 points and 14 rebounds, both putting up 20 to pick up the scoring load. 

Thomas’ Player of the Game performance saw him go off for 24 and 8, shooting 9-12 and making tough plays and highlights from start to finish. 

“I love this environment,” said Thomas post-game. “I love playing hard in competitive basketball, and tonight was a hell of a show.”

READ MORE: Riders react to Game One win

Meanwhile Holmes played downhill all game from the guard spot, relentlessly attacking the rim to keep the Riders in the game while they trailed through the second and third quarter. Like Thomas, Holmes relished the bright lights with his aggressive play. 

“I was just trying to make the right plays,” said Holmes. “That’s what I always try to do. I saw lanes and tried to attack, find my teammates and be aggressive. It’s a big part of my game when I’m aggressive and try to get downhill and make plays for others.” 

Sharks’ second unit shoulder scoring

The Sharks’ bench carried their scoring, going off for 59 points led by 25 from Prentiss Nixon. But 22 points from the starters, and none of the Sheffield starters scoring in double digits, meant the Riders had the best of the beginning and end of the game. 

Nixon checked in down 10 in the first quarter and scored 11 points in five minutes. His play cut the host’s deficit to two by the end of the first period. The Sharks’ bench was responsible for a 20 point swing in the score that saw them leading by seven with one to play. 

Rodney Glasgow Jr., also off the bench for Sheffield, led the team in +/- with 12. That tally was bettered only by Mo Walker for Leicester, who recorded a +/- of 15. 

The strong bench showing from the Sharks in Game One means the Riders should be prepared for a potential mix up to the Sheffield starting five.

Should there be no changes, the Riders bench will be required to lock in to stop the Sheffield second unit, which has showcased their firepower to start the series.

Defence wins championships

“Defensively is where we made our mark,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro following Game One, and that was especially true down the stretch. 

The Riders held the Sharks to 14 fourth quarter points after giving up over 20 in each of the first three periods, and got big plays from players in the big moments. 

The best defence was played in the first half of the final quarter, with Sheffield managing just six points. Sam Idowu blocked RJ Eytle-Rock and stole the ball from Jalon Pipkins in that period of play, and Teddy Allen stripped Nixon to set up a Thomas and-one.

The lockdown defence allowed the Riders to run in transition repeatedly, playing to the strengths of their rookie pair of Thomas and Holmes who thrived on the break.

In the closing minutes, Nixon scored five straight to keep Sheffield in it against Leicester, which allowed the Sharks two possessions to go for the win. But the Riders’ defence stood firm, forcing misses from Pipkins and Malek Green with less than a minute on the clock. 

While the Riders entered the game with one of the highest powered offences in the League, they’ll need consistent performances on the defensive end to go all the way in the Playoffs.

In that respect, they’ll be encouraged from Game One.

Shooting struggles

The opening game followed the trend set by the regular season series between these two sides. The two games played in Sheffield this year saw the teams duel out closely fought affairs, with the Riders struggling offensively compared to their performances at home. 

In game one of the season series in November, the Riders shot 5-21 from three in a loss, and they suffered an even worse shooting slump in the playoff opener. 

It was a 6-26 game from behind the three point line, but the Riders overcame their struggles by generating offence at the rim and in transition. 

Game two in December put an end to the Riders’ difficulties from deep. They went 51% in a blowout win. Leicester will hope to see a similar pattern unfold in the playoffs, and be able to rely on their three point shooting at home. 

Riders bring the cavalry

The Riders’ travelling crowd got them over the line, packing the stands in Sheffield to get behind the team. 

Holmes said post-game that he felt the energy from the stands:

“It was a huge victory for us, and we wouldn’t have done it without the fans,” said Holmes. “They were tremendous. They fuel us when they come and support us, so to have this many people come out and show up for us truly means a lot to me and the guys in the locker room.”

Paternostro also complimented the away crowd, and called out to Riders fans to bring the same noise to Leicester for Game Two. 

“Our fans were amazing today. It was an incredible job from them right behind the bench, and we need more of that at the Mattioli Arena on Saturday!”

The team need the same noise at the Mattioli Arena on Saturday. The Riders host Game Two on May 4, at 6:45 pm.

Tickets are on sale now, and include entry to the women’s playoff opener against Essex Rebels at 2:45 pm.

The first 1,200 fans through the door will receive a free “Dark Horse” T-Shirt. 

Get yours tickets here!

Riders React to Game One win vs Sharks

Leicester Riders got their 2024 Playoff campaign underway with a clutch 84-81 win on the road against the Sheffield Sharks.

The Riders came back from behind in the fourth quarter to snatch the win, and made big plays down the stretch to take a 1-0 series lead back to Leicester.

READ MORE: Report: Riders take Game One against Sharks

Here’s how the Riders reacted to the game:

Miryne Thomas: “I love this environment.”

Making his professional playoff debut, Miryne Thomas went off for 24 points and 8 rebounds to earn Player of the Game honours. 

Thomas said the playoff intensity is something he thrives on through his competitive spirit. 

“This time last year, I was playing March Madness,” said Thomas, who won the MAC Championship with Kent State in his final collegiate season. 

“I love this environment. I love playing hard in competitive basketball, and tonight was a hell of a show.”

The Riders, without their captain Kimbal Mackenzie, stepped up on the road and came through as a unit to take the win. With the words of Mackenzie echoing in their ears, the team put on one of the performances of the season.

“Kimbal told us to stay together. He’s here with us in spirit- he’s our leader and we know he’s in our corner- but the guys we had here came together and said ‘let’s get the job done.’” 

Many of the plaudits this season have gone to the Riders’ leading scorer, Teddy Allen. Allen burst onto the British basketball scene with his incredible scoring performances, earning him the Player of the Month Award in December, but the Riders unit is a deep one, with talent up and down the roster. 

Last night’s win, as has been the case with many wins this season, was a total team effort. 

“We know Teddy is an incredible scorer, but we have to play well for him to play well. If we don’t run in transition and set good screens, he doesn’t get good looks. 

“This is a team unit, not just one guy running the show. Everybody has a role, and we’re really settling into our identity. We play hard for each other.” 

Jaren Holmes: “We wanted it badly tonight.”

Also making his first professional playoff outing was Jaren Holmes, who was the other Rider to log a 20 point performance. He put up 21 points and 6 rebounds, and shouldered the scoring load for long stretches. 

“I was just trying to make the right plays,” said Holmes. “That’s what I always try and do. I saw lanes and tried to attack, find my teammates and be aggressive. It’s a big part of my game when I’m aggressive and try to get downhill and make plays for others.” 

The Riders came back from down seven in the final period to win on the road, holding the Sharks to 14 points in the final quarter. The defence down the stretch was instrumental in getting the job done. 

“It came down to getting stops. That was a huge point of emphasis down the stretch. Then we made some big shots, and got big plays from everybody. 

“Conner [Washington’s] three midway through the fourth was huge for us. Him coming in and giving us those minutes was so valuable, and it’s going to take a team effort to win these games. It’s the playoffs, which means its a different type of intensity. We wanted it badly tonight.”

The Riders’ road following got the team over the line, making raucous noise throughout. Holmes felt their presence on the court from the stands, and said as much after the game. 

“It was a huge victory for us, and we wouldn’t have done it without the fans. They were tremendous. They fuel us when they come and support us, so to have this many people come out and show up for us truly means a lot to me and the guys in the locker room.”

Rob Paternostro: “The guys really stepped up.”

After an electric Riders start, the Sharks took initiative in the second quarter and took the lead, which they held until midway through the fourth. 

Despite trailing for much of the game, there was no panic from the Riders’ sideline. 

“I felt pretty good about us at that point,” said Head Coach Rob Paternostro when asked about the team’s mindset while falling behind in the game. 

“We took decent shots and, in the halfcourt, we did a really good job on defence. In the open floor we struggled, so the second half was really important to slow the game down and get back on defence, and I thought we did that. 

“We didn’t feel like the momentum was stolen, we just felt like we needed to do a better job of getting back in transition.”

Without Mackenzie running the point, Paternostro’s team stepped up from top to bottom to come away with a momentous win to kick off the postseason. 

“We’re missing our leader- our point guard with the ball in his hands at the end of the game- but the guys really stepped up to make the plays they needed to.

“Miryne’s energy was excellent all game, he scored the ball really well. Jaren kept us in it with his scoring, TJ Lall was really good on defence and Conner came in and gave us the minutes we needed to settle us down late in the game. His experience was crucial- he’s been here before. 

“It was a total team effort. We are missing our point guard but these guys took on the challenge. A lot of people didn’t think we had much of a chance without him, but defensively is where we made our mark.”

The win means Leicester have stolen home court advantage in this best-of-three series, and return home on Saturday with a chance to end the series and progress to the second round. 

Coach called out to the fans to bring the same energy back home that they showed on the road. 

“Our fans were amazing today. It was an incredible job from them right behind the bench, and we need more of that at the Mattioli Arena on Saturday!”

Defend the house

The Riders host Game Two on Saturday May 4, at 6:45 pm.

Tickets are on sale now, and include entry to the women’s playoff opener against Essex Rebels at 2:45 pm.

The first 1,200 fans through the door will receive a free “Dark Horse” T-Shirt. Get yours tickets here!

Report: Riders take Game One against Sharks

Leicester Riders snatched Game One against the Sheffield Sharks in the clutch, winning 84-81 on the road. 

Miryne Thomas led the team with 24 points and 8 rebounds, scoring 5 points down the stretch in his professional playoff debut. Fellow rookie Jaren Holmes backed him with 21 points and 6 rebounds. 

It was Teddy Allen who sealed the game from the foul line, going 4-4 with the pressure piled high and seconds on the clock. Leicester came back from a deficit of seven in the final quarter to steal home court in the best-of-three series. 

For Sheffield, Prentiss Nixon exploded for 25 points off the bench, getting big bucket after big bucket when it got close late. The Sharks scored 59 bench points in the game, but didn’t have a starter score in double digits. 

The series will go back to Leicester for Game Two on Saturday May 4, tipping off at 6:45 pm, with the Riders having the opportunity to end the series with a sweep. 

Riders bolt out the gate

Allen, who averaged 29 against the Sharks this season, wasted no time getting on the board with an and-one for Leicester’s opening score. 

It was an 8-2 start for the Riders, as Jaren Holmes knocked down his first shot of the postseason from the corner, settling any nerves from the visiting camp. 

Leicester’s lightning start forced a quick Sharks timeout, after Thomas threw down a fastbreak jam- the ninth of the night for the Riders to make it 4-14. 

Holmes made the Riders’ second and-one play of the game with 2:21 left in the period, as they continued to lead from the front early.  

Sharks bite back

The Sharks got back in it at the hands of Nixon, who snatched momentum with five straight points. Nixon scored 11 in the first quarter to lead the game, and bring Sheffield back into it. 

Jalon Pipkins then cut it to five with a tough fadeaway, before Rodney Glasgow Jr followed with a three for the hosts. 

The late surge in the first meant it was 26-28 with one played. And quickly in the second the Sharks took the lead, as Kipper Nichols connected from the corner to make it 31-30. 

It was the Riders’ turn to try to stem the tide with a timeout after Pipkins’ 11th points. But they only scored 10 in the second quarter in their attempt to take the lead back. 

Glasgow got going midway through the second to build the Sharks’ lead to six, and the score was 38-32 by the media timeout. Sheffield’s leading scorer Malek Green then took the mantle from Glasgow with three quick scores and a big block on Holmes. 

The Riders got to the hoop to get their side of the scoreboard ticking over late in the half. Holmes charged to the paint repeatedly to set the tone in that regard, while Thomas got to the foul line after an offensive rebound, and Leicester brought themselves back within five. 

But two scores at the rim for Sheffield ended the half with the score 47-38. 

Sharks fend off Riders run

The Riders made a run back into the game with Thomas hitting their first three of the half, while Allen took it coast-to-coast to cut it to five once again. 

Holmes added another six to his tally, making it 17 on the game midway through the third, and the score was 57-53 to the hosts. 

Next time up, Sesan Russell led the fastbreak after a steal. He gave it to Allen, who threw up a lob to Thomas. The American rose high and threw it down with authority, making it a one score game for the first time since late in the opening period. 

The Sharks, however, kept ahead with timely scores throughout the third. Jordan Ratinho hit from three with a minute left in the period, and Devearl Ramsey finished inside at the buzzer to make it 67-60 with one to play. 

Resurgent Riders win in the clutch

To start the fourth, the Riders were right back in it. Veteran guard Conner Washington hit a transition three two minutes into the period, making it a two point difference. TJ Lall then tied it up with a putback layup, and Allen took the lead with a floater. 

For Sheffield, Nixon came up huge in the fourth. He scored nine of the Sharks’ 14 points in the quarter, and hit a three for his 20th points to stop the rampant Riders. 

Nixon went back and forth with Thomas, the pair exchanging tough buckets throughout the final stages. The Riders looked in control late after Thomas connected on a fadeaway, but a Nixon midrange jumper and Pipkins three tied the game at 79. 

Pipkins had a shot for the lead with 21 seconds left, but he hit the rim and Allen was fouled on the rebound. Allen knocked down both shots, and next time up the floor Green missed a three to win it, and Allen got the rebound again to seal the Riders Game One win. 

Taking a win back to Leicester

Tickets are on sale for Game Two of the series at the Mattioli Arena, on May 4 at 6:45 pm.

Tickets also include entry to the women’s playoff opener against Essex Rebels at 2:45 pm, and the first 1,200 fans through the door will receive a free Riders “Dark Horse” t-shirt.

Get tickets here!

Playoff Preview: Riders v Sharks Game One

Leicester Riders are set to take on the Sheffield Sharks for Game One of the opening round of the 2024 British Basketball League Playoffs. 

The four-seeded Sharks earned home court advantage after their performances in the Championship this season, so the Riders will take the short trip to Sheffield for the first game of a best-of-three series.

The sides have played out some closely fought battles in Sheffield this season. Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup. 

Where to watch

The game will take place at the Canon Medical Arena, Sheffield, tipping off at 4 pm.

It will be available to watch live on the British Basketball League YouTube channel!

Ones to watch

Malek Green 

15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 49.7 FG%

The Sharks’ midseason acquisition, Malek Green, hit the ground running in the British Basketball League, and finished the season as their leading scorer. 

After going 17 and 7 on his debut in only 16 minutes of action, Green has been a consistent source of boards and buckets for the Sharks, finishing the year with 22 and 14 to lock up home court advantage against the Plymouth City Patriots. 

From the wing, Green ranked third among players in rebounds this season, and his 8.7 per game is more than he averaged throughout his five-year college career.

Green averaged 19 and 9 in his two games against the Riders this season, and will pose a true threat throughout this series. 

Devearl Ramsey 

11.1 points, 4.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds 

Devearl Ramsey has protected home court against the Riders this season with two explosive scoring performances. 

Typically, Ramsey is the Sharks’ source of playmaking, running the point to lead them in assists this season. But against the Riders the former G-Leager put his scoring ability on full display. 

His two highest-scoring games this year have come at home against Leicester, putting up 23 points and 9 assists last time out, and going off for 22 to lead Sheffield to a win in November. 

He consistently finds his way to the midrange, where he has shot most efficiently all season, so the Riders will need to be locked into their pick-and-roll defence to stop his drives off the dribble. 

Jalon Pipkins

11.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 51.9 FG%

Sheffield’s second-leading scorer, Jalon Pipkins, has been a consistent source of points for the Sharks this season. 

The efficient bucket-getter has scored double-digit points in 25 Championship games, and put up 17 last time he suited up against the Riders. 

The 6’5” three-level scorer is a threat from anywhere on the court. He’s a human highlight reel, showcasing some of the most high-flying throw downs in British basketball over the last two seasons in Sheffield.

The Riders’ rim protection will be on high-alert when Pipkins looks to rise high on drives to the hoop. 

Season vs Sharks

The Riders have faced off against the Sharks four times this season, winning the season series 3-1. 

READ MORE: Season series: Riders vs Sharks

There was, however, a disparity in their performances when playing away compared to their home games. At home, they averaged 106.5 points, turning the ball over only six times per game and knocking down 46% of their threes. In Sheffield, however, it was 86 points per game with an average of 15.5 turnovers. 

In games where the Sharks forced over 10 turnovers out of the Riders they beat them by a net score of four, but when Leicester kept the giveaways in single digits they won by an average of 21. 

In contrast to Leicester’s varying performances at home compared to on the road, the Sharks found consistency in their output both home and away. However, their typically stalwart defence didn’t find the same success against the Riders as it did the rest of the League. 

Their League-best defence made them the only team to hold their opponents to under 80 points per game over the season, but they failed to do so against Leicester in their four meetings. They had no answer for Teddy Allen, who averaged 29 points in his three games against the Sharks. 

Sheffield did better their scoring average against the Riders over the series, putting up 86 points per game, but the numbers suggest that Leicester’s ability to take care of the ball will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the series. 

Playoff History: Riders vs Sharks

Sheffield are a familiar foe in the Playoffs for Leicester. This matchups marks the 10th time in the last 23 seasons where the sides have met in the postseason, and the fourth time in the past 10 years. 

The previous two postseason meetings have gone the Riders’ way, most recently last year where Leicester bested them 153-140 over a two-legged series.

2016 was the last time Sheffield beat the Riders in the Playoffs- Atiba Lyons’ men winning 84-77 in the Final. 

The Riders have the advantage of unrivalled playoff-winning experience at the reins. Head Coach Rob Paternostro has won the competition five times, the second most of any coach in League history, and four of those wins have come since the Final was hosted at the O2 Arena. 

Sharks’ Head Coach Atiba Lyons is no stranger to playoff success himself, winning in 2016 for the second time in the club’s history. It’s been first-round exits for Sheffield in the last two seasons, however, and they now look to avoid falling to Leicester in the postseason for the second straight year. 

What they said

With the Championship season in their rear-view mirror, the Riders are looking forward to the chance to set the record straight after what they feel was a season with unmet potential. 

READ MORE: Riders speak to BBC Radio Leicester ahead of the Playoffs

Here’s what they had to say ahead of the opening round:

Teddy Allen

“You never want to go out on a down note in win-or-go-home scenarios,” said leading scorer Teddy Allen

“We feel like we could have done a lot better throughout the year, and now is our chance to prove that. We are locked in as a unit, and it’s time for everyone to work towards a common goal. 

“When asked about the Riders’ path to a potential Final at the O2 Arena, Allen expressed his confidence in the team to be able to beat anybody in front of them.

“Anybody can get it. Whoever is in our way, we feel confident that we can win.”

TJ Lall

“Our mentality has to change now,” added TJ Lall, when asked about the difference in approach between the Championship season and the Playoffs. 

“We have to be more locked in and in-tune. We’ll see the Sharks multiple times, so we have to adjust and be ready for their adjustments.”

On a similar note to Allen, Lall looks forward to the chance of showing the League what this unit is capable of. 

“Everyone here wants to win. We know we’re talented and have not shown our full potential, and were ready to show it during the playoffs. The pressure is good for us. We play better under pressure.”

Duke Shelton

American big Duke Shelton discussed the level of intensity required ahead of a postseason matchup. 

“Everyone is going to step up and raise their level of play. It’s the playoffs, which is almost like a new season where anything can happen.

“It’s a new mindset now. I’m sure the rest of the team feel the same way, and that also goes for the other teams in the league. We’re ready to compete. 

“The team that’s willing to give a little bit more, most of the time, will win. Basketball is a game where the team with the fewest mistakes has a huge edge, so we need to be focussed and ready to play our best ball.”

Rob Paternostro

Having reached the summit of British basketball five times before, Head Coach Rob Paternostro knows exactly what winning in the postseason requires. 

He is as eager as ever to fight on the biggest stage, at the O2 Arena. 

“Once you get to the playoffs there’s so much urgency because if you don’t play well you’re going home. Everyone wants to be at the O2 by the end, and we’ve been there nearly every year. It’s wonderful to be there, so that’s always the goal.

“At our best we feel like we’re a really good team, and we’re in good shape going into the playoffs.”

Tickets are on sale for our home fixture against the Sheffield Sharks!

Get yours here!

Season series: Leicester Riders vs Sheffield Sharks

Leicester Riders tip-off their 2024 British Basketball League Playoff campaign against the Sheffield Sharks on Sunday.

The sides have met on four occasions so far this season, the Riders winning the series 3-1.

Here’s how the games played out…

November 17 Game 1: Sharks 91-84 Riders

Sharks battle from the front to take hard-fought home win

Sheffield drew first blood in the series, winning a closely fought battle late on. The Sharks edged ahead in the second quarter, going into the half up 46-39, and the Riders, despite bringing the deficit to two on multiple occasions, couldn’t take the lead back. 

The Sharks’ Devearl Ramsey led the game with 22 points, scoring five in the final 2:33 to lead the hosts down the stretch and secure the win. He was backed by 17 points from Jalon Pipkins who went 7-8 from the field in the game. 

The Riders made a charge from down 10 to five with four minutes remaining, but couldn’t get it over the line. Miryne Thomas led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds- his first double-double in Riders red. 

A key difference in the game: three point shooting. The Riders went 5-21 while the Sharks shot 8-19, Ramsey leading the way with three makes from behind the arc.

But water found its level in game two from deep. 

December 30 Game 2: Riders 103-75 Sharks 

On-fire Riders torch Sharks from three

The Riders levelled the season series at home in convincing fashion to close out 2023. A 21-4 start blew the Sharks out of the water, and the Riders cruised home to a wire-to-wire win. 

Miryne Thomas led the team out the gate with 10 points in five minutes, and logged another 20 point double-double against Sheffield with 22 points and 10 rebounds by the final buzzer. 

But it was Teddy Allen, in his third game for the Riders, who led the game with 25 points. He went 4-9 from three on the game spearheading what was a red hot shooting night for the hosts.

In contrast to the first game against Sheffield in November, Leicester shot 51.9% from three point land in the blowout. It was the Sharks who went cold on this occasion, knocking down just 28.6% of their attempts from behind the arc. 

Prentiss Nixon had an effective outing for the visitors, bagging 17 points in 22 minutes of play, going 6-12 from the field. But it was a drop in the water against a Riders torrent, and Leicester entered the new year on a high. 

February 16 Game 3: Riders 108-94 Sharks

Allen explosion makes it two-for-two at home

Teddy Allen led the Riders for the second-straight game against the Sharks, this time going off for 35 points. It was a 35-12 double-double for Allen, shooting 50% from the field and 44% from three. 

The Riders were trailing 53-57 at the break and down by as much as 12 points in the second quarter. But a 12 point third period from Allen led them back into the tie, and another 10 in the fourth got them over the line. 

The scoreline was deceptive come the final buzzer, not reflecting what was a one possession affair with three minutes on the clock. Two straight buckets from TJ Lall gave the Riders separation, and they saw the tie out from there. 

Malek Green, making his first appearance against the Riders this season, led the Sharks with 19 points and 11 rebounds. He scored two buckets to start the final period, but Leicester were able to stem his scoring down the stretch to see it out. 

The game made it two wins at home for the Riders against Sheffield, giving them a 2-1 series lead with one game to play in South Yorkshire. 

March 29 Game 4: Sharks 85-88 Riders

Riders survive Sharks surge in final seconds

The game to decide the season series was fought wire-to-wire, Leicester coming away three point victors after Sheffield battled to give themselves a chance as the clock expired. 

Allen led Leicester in the first half with an emphatic performance, going off for 27 first half points, and finished with 29/8. But down the stretch, big buckets came from up and down the Riders’ roster. 

Kimbal Mackenzie, Thomas, Duke Shelton and Lall all scored in the final four minutes, giving the Riders an eight point lead with 2:18 left. But a turn of events, including an unsportsmanlike foul called on Shelton, gave the Sharks a chance to tie. 

Bennet Koch went one for two from the foul line after Shelton’s foul, and Ramsey drained a three with nine seconds left to make it a one point game. 

Mackenzie was sent to the line, and coolly knocked down both, but Sheffield could send it to overtime with a three. The opportunity fell to RJ Eytle-Rock who fired from the right wing, as Allen closed out but was keen not to foul. 

Eytle-Rock missed his attempt, and the rebound was pulled down by Thomas to close the season series. 

Tickets on sale!

Tickets for our home game against the Sheffield Sharks on May 4 are on sale now!

Get them here!

Key Storylines: The final weekend of Championship action

Leicester Riders are fast approaching their final weekend in the 2023-24 British Basketball League Championship.

They face pivotal fixtures in determining their seeding for the postseason, with home court advantage hanging in the balance.

Here are the key storylines for the Riders going into their final two games…

Home court in our hands

The Riders hold pole position for home court advantage in the postseason with two games to go. Wins against the Manchester Giants and Surrey Scorchers would secure fourth place, as the Riders possess the tiebreaker against the Newcastle Eagles and Sheffield Sharks. 

This scenario would see Leicester finish the season in fourth with a 19-17 record, and could potentially see all three contenders for home court advantage finish on the same number of wins. 

The Sharks hold the season series against the Eagles, meaning if all three teams win out it would be Riders vs Sharks in round one of the 2024 Playoffs. 

But above anything, the Riders need to handle business in their final two games, and secure home court with two momentous wins. 

Riders look to build late form

Wins are not a given for the Riders in the two games, who enter this weekend having lost two on the bounce. 

The first was a 91-96 loss to the Eagles in a game where Leicester could have essentially locked up home court after beating the Sharks two games prior. The narrow loss, however, did mean Leicester secured the tiebreaker against their North Eastern rivals. 

Most recently, the Riders fell to the Bristol Flyers 77-89, a big result for Bristol in their mission to secure the seventh seed. 

After a weekend off, and a chance to recover, the Riders will look to lock in, bounce back and build their form going into the postseason. 

Healthy Holmes

The week away from action was significant for the Riders, who can heal any bumps and bruises and get fresh ahead of an important Playoff campaign. 

Head Coach Rob Paternostro echoed that sentiment while looking to the remaining two games of the Championship season. 

“These last couple of weeks are really significant,” he commented. “We want to make sure we’re healthy, and that we understand what our strengths are going into the playoffs. When we have everyone available we have a lot of weapons that can cause huge problems.”

Jaren Holmes, in particular, will benefit from the added recovery time, having spent a number of weeks away from action through injury. 

He returned to the roster in limited minutes last time out, and will look to build back into game shape in the final two games before attacking his first postseason campaign of his professional career. 

Having Holmes back is a major boost, and Leicester will look to maintain a healthy roster in their final two fixtures. 

“In any sport, the healthiest do well in the postseason,” added Paternsotro. “We’re happy to be able to spend some time recovering.”

The last few tickets remain for our final home game of the Championship season against Manchester Giants.

This game will not be broadcast, so get your tickets here to watch the action!

Riders react to beating the Sharks

Leicester Riders made it four wins on the bounce with a 108-94 win against the Sheffield Sharks.

The win improved their record to 14-11 in the British Basketball League Championship, one win behind the Caledonia Gladiators in third.

Here’s how the Riders reacted to the win…

Teddy Allen- “Pressure is a privilege.”

Star guard Teddy Allen went off for his highest-scoring night in Riders red so far, exploding for 35 points and 12 rebounds. 

It was one of only two such performances in the last 15 years in the British Basketball League, as the leading scorer continues to take the League by storm. 

He put the scoring load on his back when the team needed him most last night. 

“Pressure is a privilege,” said Allen, when asked how he handles the scoring responsibility when the Riders need a basket.

“I’m happy my teammates put me in those positions and that I could deliver for them when my opportunities arose. I’m just happy to get this win at home with my team.”

The Riders found themselves in a double-digit hole in the first half, and gave up the highest-scoring half in the Sharks’ season so far. Defence was the priority for the Riders to come back. 

“We had to lock in on defence. You’re not going to win many games if you give up 57 in a half. We did that in the second half, and I’m proud of my guys.”

Allen has hit the ground running with the Riders since signing in December. He spoke about how his relationship with Head Coach Rob Paternostro has allowed him to succeed. 

“We have a lot of trust in each other. He has never got on me for a shot- he just wants me to play my game, and he trusts me in those moments. I can do nothing but thank him and be appreciative to have a coach like that.”

Rob Paternostro- “He’s worth the price of admission!”

Coach Paternostro repaid the compliment from Allen, signing the American’s praises after the win. 

“He’s worth the price of admission! He was awesome tonight. He had two quick fouls, but we rode him for a while, and he did a good job of not fouling. 

“What’s impressive about Teddy is his stamina. He has the ball a lot and takes a lot of shots, but he doesn’t get tired. He can stay on the floor for a long time without me needing to give him a break. He came up big tonight.” 

After a tough start to the game, unable to stop the Sharks’ scoring onslaught, Paternstro made adjustments at the half to slow Sheffield down. 

“To give them credit, they were really shooting the ball well, and we struggled to guard them in the first half. But we knew if we were in the game after they shot like that, then this one could be ours. 

“We had to do better in transition and stop second chance points, and we were much better defensively after halftime.”

The Riders saw it out in the clutch for the second straight game, after they beat the Caledonia Gladiators in the final minutes on the road last weekend.

Getting wins out of close games has given the group confidence in those situations. 

“It was an entertaining game! Anyone who was here tonight enjoyed that. We really made the big plays late in the game, which we’ve been doing as of late. We played really well in the second half. 

“Our guys were really confident late in the game. When it’s tight, we feel like we can see the game out, and earlier in the year, we didn’t have the same confidence after we lost a couple of close ones.”

It’s a quick turnaround for the Riders, who head to Plymouth to take on the Patriots on Sunday afternoon. Rest and recovery is the priority for the Riders. 

“Rest is our biggest focus now. We know Plymouth can be a difficult opponent and challenging on the road. It’s our first time there this season, so we have to go down here and have a solid game to finish the weekend right.”

The Riders return to the Mattioli Arena on March 1, taking on the Cheshire Phoenix.

Get your tickets here!

Report: Riders overcome red hot Sharks

Leicester Riders made it four wins on the bounce, beating the Sheffield Sharks 108-94 in a game contested wire-to-wire. 

Teddy Allen went off for 35 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 50% and 44% from three in a Player of the Game performance.

He was backed by Jaren Holmes who scored 19, hitting a tough three through contact to end the half to jolt momentum into the team. 

The Sharks started hot, scoring 57 points in the first half, their most in any half this season. But the Riders overcame it, ending the third quarter on an 11-0 run and seeing out a win in the clutch. 

Sheffield was led by Malek Green who put up 19 points and 11 rebounds. They entered the game as the lowest-scoring offence in the League, but caught fire from the off to challenge the Riders throughout. 

A slow start for the Riders, with them struggling to find the bottom of the basket despite generating good looks, saw them fall into a 10-3 hole after 5 points from Sharks’ forward Jordan Ratinho.

It became 15-6 after Green spilt out onto the fastbreak for an easy two, which forced a Riders timeout after 3:24. 

The Sharks poured in the points in the first quarter. Green was firing from the jump to put up double digits in six minutes, and he made it a double-digit lead at 22-12 with a triple. Sheffield found joy on the glass to snatch 5 offensive rebounds until the Riders closed in to end the period. 

The insertion of Duke Shelton into the game saw the Riders clean up the glass and get back into the game. An 8-2 end to the first meant they trailed 30-27 after one. 

The high-scoring start didn’t stop in the second quarter, with each of the teams scoring on their first two possessions. Sheffield rebuilt their lead to 10 as Rodney Glasgow Jr pulled up from midrange- the visitors continuing their offensive hot streak. 

But again, Leicester found form as the clock ticked down. They went on an 11-2 run, capped off by a triple from Mo Walker, to bring it back within a score with two minutes left in the half.

The Sharks bit back, bringing it back to an eight-point game with a pull-up from three in transition by Glasgow Jr, but Holmes ended the second period with a three-point heave, taking a foul for another point at the foul line to make it 57-53 at the half. 

Leicester quickly tied it up to start the second half. Allen and Samuel Idowu scored four quick points to even the score and set the stage for the remainder of the tie. They took their first lead of the game a few minutes into the half, and Allen pulled up from deep to find separation with the score 64-59. 

Leicester had momentum in the final few minutes, Allen lighting the spark after pulling up on the dribble from deep. He drew an unsportsmanlike foul on Jalon Pipkins after they tangled legs on the break, and Shelton followed his subsequent free throws with a monster two-hand jam. 

The Riders entered the final period leading 82-71. 

Allen made his mark on the start of the fourth, pulling up from the car park for his fourth triple. But the Sharks stayed in the game, finding runs to the rim to chip into their deficit. They started the fourth 12-5, RJ Eytle-Rock cutting the game to five at the foul line. 

It was a tie game with five minutes left, as Devearl Ramsey pulled up from midrange to lock the teams at 88. They took the lead next time down through Bennet Koch, the Sharks holding all of the momentum. 

Kimbal Mackenzie took it back with a corner three, off the back of his clutch performance last time out in Caledonia. He was followed by Holmes, who fought his way to the free-throw line and put Leicester up 94-90. 

Lall was the next to be sent to the foul line, and rebounded his own miss and made the putback as the Riders found form in the clutch. Idowu scored a layup next time up the floor to put Leicester up seven with 1:37 left, and the Riders saw the game out from there. 

The Riders return to action on Sunday, heading to Plymouth to take on the Patriots on the road.

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.

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!

Rob’s reflections on 500 games in charge and a busy last weekend

Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro had a mixed weekend, as he went through the milestone for 500 games in the BBL as a coach, splitting a pair of games in the BBL Championship.

Riders had to work very hard for their sixth straight league win over Sheffield Sharks 87-80 on Saturday night, but then struggled to recover on the road on Sunday afternoon against the London Lions, going down heavily 99-65.

Against Sheffield, Riders led from the middle of the first quarter and had a twenty point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Sharks got back within a single shot in the final thirty seconds, before a Kyron Cartwright steal sealed the result.

Cartwright scored 10 points and dished out 11 assists, and Andy Thomson had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Namon Wright finished with 20 points on 67% shooting along with 5 assists.

Against the Lions Riders scored the first basket of the game, but the Lions scored the next 21 points and never looked back. Only Darien Nelson-Henry troubled the Lions with 17 points and 6 rebounds.

“It was disappointing on Sunday for sure, because we never got going.”

“These back-to-back games with so little recovery time are a mental as well as a physical challenge, and we did not handle it well.”

“The Sheffield performance was excellent at times, but they are always tough, physical affairs, and this one was no different.”

“The win took a lot out of us, because we were hanging on at the end.”

“But we know the Championship is going to be tight this year and we are still sitting on just 3 losses, as good as anybody.”

“it is about quickly putting that loss behind us and getting back on the horse.”

Riders now go on the road to Bristol Flyers this Friday night in the BBL Championship.

The Riders return to the Morningside Arena on Friday March 13th when they take on the Manchester Giants, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!

Three things we learnt last Weekend

Last weekend the Leicester Riders defeated the Sheffield Sharks at the Morningside Arena on Saturday Night before falling to the London Lions on the Road the next day, here’s three things we learnt across the two games.

Depth makes the difference

The Leicester Riders continued their impressive form on Saturday Evening as they took down the Sheffield Sharks 87-80 at the Morningside Arena. It was the usual controlled performance on both ends of the floor from the Riders who won each of the first three quarters giving them a 12 point lead heading in to the final period. It was the Riders strength in numbers that got them over the line, with 6 players contributing 9 or more points it the Riders versatility offensively was too much for the Sharks to handle. Kyron Cartwright and Andy Thomson led the way for the Riders contributing double doubles of 10 points and 11 assists and 12 points and 13 rebounds respectively.

Darien Nelson-Henry continues to produce

6’11 American Centre Darien Nelson-Henry has been in fine form for the Riders over recent weeks arguably playing his best basketball since joining the Riders in October. Nelson-Henry is averaging 15.4 points per game on an outstanding 68.2 percent shooting from the floor over his past 4 games which has contributed to the Riders win streak. Darien has been a major presence inside for the Riders using his back to basket playing style to outmuscle defenders on the defensive end but also clogging up the paint on defence making it tough for opponents to score around the basket.

Win Streak snapped at 6 by Lions

Prior to playing the London Lions on Sunday afternoon the Riders were firing on all cylinders on a 6 game win streak in the BBL Championship and playing their best basketball of the season. The defending BBL Champions got off to a quick start and never looked back as their hot shooting kept the Riders at arm length for a majority of the contest. The Riders now have the opportunity to bounce back on Friday Evening against the Bristol Flyers before they return to the Morningside Arena to take on the Manchester Giants on March 13th.

Tickets for the Riders v Giants clash are on sale now, CLICK HERE to purchase yours.