London Lions open BBL Trophy Final Four weekend with comeback victory -

London Lions open BBL Trophy Final Four weekend with comeback victory

London Lions BBL Trophy Semi Final

London Lions erased a 15-point deficit on their way to beating Caledonia Gladiators 85-75 to reach the 2024 BBL Trophy final.

The league leaders used a pivotal run in the third before pulling away in the fourth to open the Trophy final four weekend in Birmingham.

Josh Sharma posted 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting with fellow big man Gabe Olaseni adding an important double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds in the Lions win.

Box score.

Lions were debuting a orange jersey, but it was their opponents that made the brighter start with an 8-2 opening with Michael Bothwell converting an early and-1. Clifton Moore found success inside with nine points in the first quarter to help Caledonia establish a 28-19 advantage.

The gap moved into double figures early in the second as the Gladiators stayed in the ascendancy to frustrate their opponents. Olaseni would help London pull it back below the 10-point mark at the half, trailing 52-44, with the GB big man moving to 13 points and seven rebounds – despite picking up two early fouls.

Pat Whelan – who had just three points in the first half – began to find his groove with two mid-range jumpers, and while London continued to struggle from beyond the arc at 1-of-13, they kept themselves in contention through multiple second chance opportunities.

Neither side were able to stamp their authority on a low-scoring third quarter, but it was London who would put together a momentous spell: Sharma getting three points the old-fashioned way with a tough and-1, and then Tarik Philip struck from the corner – just a second triple in 19 attempts for the Lions as they tied up the game at 61-61 with 10 minutes remaining.

Luke Nelson’s lefty finish put his side ahead for the first time before GB veteran Kyle Johnson answered – setting the tone for a tense back-and-forth. Then it became the Sharma show.

A second big and-1 finish was followed by a third and all of a sudden, London were up five. Matt Morgan joined the party with one of his own as the lead grew with momentum fully in their favour.

Caledonia were hanging around, within a single score with under two minutes remaining. Then Donte Grantham fired in a deep three at the shot-clock buzzer to all but seal the deal.


– Caledonia Gladiators were the defending champions; beating Cheshire in the 2023 final
– London Lions advance to their 5th Trophy final – winning only one previous final (2021)
– Gladiators starters: Bothwell, Onwas, Whelan, Palyza, Alihodzic
– Lions starters: M Morgan, Soluade, Phillip, C Morgan, Olaseni

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