The Plymouth Raiders beat of a last-minute resurgence, to secure a vital BBL Championship win over the Sheffield Sharks, Sunday at the Pavilions.
The nail biting win was the Raiders first since November 26th when the team beat a strong Newcastle Eagles side.
Head Coach, Gavin Love, was full of praise for his players after they secured important championship points, he said: “We really needed that, we played really good solid basketball, we played good defence which kept us in the game.
“I think down the stretch maybe we made some poor decisions but overall I was really pleased, that was a true team effort.”
From the outset, it was clear both teams had brought their A-game to the court, leaving the winning side to be chosen by the least mistakes made.
The Sharks were first to strike from the tip, planting a perfect three from the corner after winning the ball back. The Raiders weren’t daunted though, putting up 6 points in a row of their own, from four free throws and a layup.
With the lead in hand, the Raiders began to aggressively attack the Sharks half, running unchecked through centre court. The lead would have been greater if it wasn’t for a number of personal fouls and bad turnovers that kept the Sharks nipping at the hosts heels. Not all the calls were in the Raiders favour though, close to the end of the first, Sharks, Anthony Wroblicky, ploughed through his defender for two, much to the disgust of the crowd.
The Raiders would continue to score enough through the second to make up for lost fouls, maintaining a constant buffer. Joonas Jarvelainen led the Raiders scoring for the half with 14, as the hosts held a five-point lead into the half.
In contrast to the season so far, the Raiders came out and played with the same determination and skill they had flexed in the first 20 minutes.
The Sharks came out with a vengeance, determined to win back the lead they’d enjoyed briefly in the first, but they were soon silenced by precise shots from Kinu Rochford and new acquisition, Will Neighbour.
The lead soon flexed to ten points and looked to be unobtainable with Rochford making fantastic defensive plays from the paint.
The Sharks were by no means out of the game though, and began to push back, creating a dose of last minute drama as the clock counted through five in the fourth.
Perhaps with the thought of a win on mind of the players, the Raiders began to turn the ball over with bad passing and poor ball control. The Sharks could smell blood, putting twos on the board seamlessly. Tre Bowman was charged with sportsman like conduct as frustration grew for the buzzer, opening the door further for the visitors, who closed in with two points left and 32 seconds left to play. The Raiders had the ball in hand and ran the shot clock down before Louis Sayers made a three-point jumper to send the crowd into hysterics as the Fox’s secured their first win of 2018.
Will Neighbour would lead the Raiders in scoring with 17 on the night.
The side now looks to build on this important win as they host the Glasgow Rocks for their third meeting in four weeks, at the Pavilions Sunday 11th Feb. Tickets for the game can be bought online from www.ticketstore.co.uk.
See the full post game interviews with Gavin Love and Will Neighbour on Raiders TV.Game Stats & Highlights