- National Teams
Cheshire Phoenix completed a memorable weekend as they recaptured the BBL Trophy title with a 98-82 triumph over London Lions.
Ben Thomas’ side withstood a Jordan Taylor inspired run through the start of the fourth to make a decisive burst of their own to win the Trophy for a sixth time.
Laquincy Rideau was the standout star as MVP with a 25-point haul, while five other players had double figures in a strong team effort to overcome the title favourites.
Cheshire came out red-hot from beyond the arc with Cam Holden hitting two of their four early on, but London were sticking with them as neither side were able to take control.
David Nwaba – who did not play in Saturday’s semi-final – was producing the goods at both ends with a huge block at one end turning into a big dunk at the other to edge London ahead at 19-18.
The three-pointers kept dropping for both sides and it was Cheshire who had the slender three-point lead after 10 minutes. Luke Nelson quickly tied it up at the start of the second before Aaryn Rai and Holden would soon return in kind to put the Phoenix up by six.
London put together a 10-0 spell including a go-ahead triple from Tarik Phillip and that would help establish their 49-45 lead to take into the interval.
The game continued to be played at a fast pace with the momentum swinging the way of Cheshire with their aggressive transition providing success. Donte Grantham had hit a three to put the Lions up 54-53, but a 14-2 run followed as the Phoenix moved into a double-digit lead.
However, Jordan Taylor had other ideas with five points at the end of the third sparking a 14-0 run that ended with back-to-back triples from the Lions captain. 70-67 with 8:28 remaining.
A pivotal run? Perhaps not, as they would have to wait almost four minutes for their next points – by which point Cheshire had moved into the ascendancy with Rideau making multiple big plays.
Maceo Jack came up with a huge offensive rebound and putback, White hit a fourth three and then Jack followed suit and it was a 15-point lead with under two minutes to go – and the champagne was on ice for the Phoenix.
– Cheshire Phoenix competing in their third consecutive BBL Trophy final
– London Lions had only won one of their previous four BBL Trophy finals
– Cheshire starters: Rideau, Stephens, Holden, Rai, White
– London starters: M Morgan, Phillip, Nwaba, Grantham, Olaseni