With just five games left in the regular season and six points separating tenth and fourth place, Plymouth Raiders know they must come away with at least one victory this weekend to keep their play-off hopes alive. The Raiders are currently in ninth place, level on points with Cheshire Phoenix who occupy eighth due to their superior head-to-head record.
The first of Plymouth’s games comes against the unpredictable London City Royals. Despite losing three of their last six games, the Royals have enjoyed a thoroughly successful inaugural season, having defeated the number one ranked London Lions on the way to BBL Trophy success. Plymouth Head Coach, Paul James will need to be particularly wary of Matthew Bryan-Amaning and BBL Trophy Final MVP, Ashley Hamilton. This dangerous duo have dominated defences all season and have the statistics to show for it. Bryan-Amaning is averaging an impressive 17.42 points per game and also leads his team in assists with 6.88. Hamilton, who scored 25 points in London City’s BBL Trophy win, isn’t far behind. The explosive small-forward is currently averaging 14.31 points and 5.88 assists per game.
The Raiders face a very quick turnaround after their Saturday fixture, travelling back from London to face Worcester Wolves at the Pavilions the very next day. The Wolves are enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in recent weeks with a well-rounded performance against Manchester Giants and a record breaking victory against Surrey Scorchers amongst the highlights. The catalyst for this recent turnaround is undoubtedly DeShawn Freeman. Freeman has managed to produce some stunning performances for Worcester, despite the team languishing in last place for the majority of the season. The 6’7 Rutgers University graduate has lit up the league with his athletic prowess and dynamism in 2018/19, averaging an astonishing 19 points and 11 assists per game. The Raiders will be more than familiar with Freeman’s talents, as they have lost to the Wolves twice already this season.
The Raiders produced their best defensive performance in over a decade on their way to a dominant 56-85 win against Sheffield Sharks in their last game. Donte Nicholas proved his worth once again with an outstanding all round performance that saw the All Star Five regular finish with 28 points and 14 total rebounds. Supporting Nicholas was Josh Wilcher and Rashad Hassan who scored 21 and 20 points respectively. Joonas Järveläinen also played his part with a commendable 12 points and 9 total rebounds. If the Raiders want to reach their play-off potential they will need to draw and rely on each and every squad member for consistency and maximum effort in the weeks to come.
Make sure you keep up with all the latest Raiders news on Twitter @officialraiders. You can also subscribe to the Raiders YouTube channel for highlights, behind the scenes footage and exclusive interviews. Get your tickets for the Wolves game at https://www.plymouthraiders.com/tickets/. Tip off is at 3.00 p.m. on Sunday April 14th.
Let’s go Raiders!