BBL Championship: Worcester Wolves defeat league-leaders Leicester Riders as play-off race heats up

The BBL Championship play-off race is heating up at both ends of the top eight following a bumper Sunday that saw 10 of the league’s 11 teams in action, including road defeats for two of the top three.

First up, Worcester Wolves snapped a three-game losing streak and handed league-leaders Leicester Riders a first defeat in 12 with a buzzer-beating 84-82 overtime win that avenged Friday’s defeat live on Sky Sports, when Riders pipped them by one courtesy of a late three-pointer.

Wolves appeared in control of the game and led by double-digits in the fourth quarter, but they did not score a field goal for over six minutes as the visitors stormed back to force overtime with Conner Washington scoring nine late points.

The game was equally as tight in the extra period, but Lamarr Kimble proved to be the difference as he scored eight of Wolves’ 10 points in those five minutes.

It came down to Kimble to separate the teams in thrilling fashion at the death with a baseline floater to win it at the final buzzer, and results elsewhere mean that Wolves jump into the play-off places, with Brandon Anderson leading their scoring with 21 points.

#WolfPack your Wolves take the win over Championship leaders @RidersBball in overtime and also end their winning run.

Great job by the boys this afternoon!#BritishBasketball #OT #Update pic.twitter.com/iCeEuCRNdM

Sharks tame London Lions

Meanwhile, fourth-placed B. Braun Sheffield Sharks closed the gap on the top three by beating London Lions 83-72, to secure a second win in three nights at Ponds Forge.

Sharks’ latest victory moves them level with Lions on 10 wins, as they inflicted a third defeat in five games for the Londoners.

The teams were tied at 55 in the third period after two-time MVP Justin Robinson scored 10 straight points to drag Lions back into the game.

However, parity did not last long as Sheffield hit a 13-2 tear across the fourth-quarter break; Nicholas Lewis nailing a three-pointer to end the third before Antwon Lillard opened the fourth in the same manner.

That made the lead double-digits at 68-57 and there was no way back for the visitors, as Sharks were led by 23 points from Jeremy Hemsley.

BBL Championship Results

Rampant Raiders rock Glasgow

Plymouth Raiders also joined both sides on 10 wins and closed the gap on the top three, after recording a comprehensive 92-67 win on their longest road trip to Glasgow Rocks.

British guard Denzel Ubiaro led the way with 18 points as Raiders controlled the game from the early exchanges, to make it seven wins from their last eight league games.

They spread the scoring early on, and a 13-1 burst was sparked by three triples as Plymouth led 27-11, courtesy of eight early points from Chris Porter-Bunton and a pair of triples from Will Neighbour. Raiders controlled the game from there and steadily built on their lead throughout.

Flyers edge out Giants in a thriller

🎙️ "OH MY GOSH!" For the third time in the game it's @JoshWilcher ➡️ @DelpecheMarcus.

📺: https://t.co/5Z3hL32KCC
📊: https://t.co/VIPLytCNGm
#BritishBasketball pic.twitter.com/aGt0Fd1afP

At the other end of the play-off race, Bristol Flyers levelled the head-to-head series with Manchester Giants, and leap-frogged their play-off rivals in the process, with a dramatic 93-89 victory at the National Basketball Performance Centre.

Josh Wilcher was behind 23 points and seven assists to lead six players in double-figures, and after letting an early lead slip, Flyers did the damage midway through the fourth period when Eric Lockett scored six in a 10-3 push that made the score 75-66 heading into the final five minutes.

Sam Cassell Jr hit a pair of three-pointers to make it a one possession game in the final minute, but Wilcher and GB guard Teddy Okereafor saw the game out from the free-throw line.

Scorchers stop the rot

The @robinsonbuckley Play of The Game….Killa Cam seals the deal!

📊 – https://t.co/xMmgMSFZKM #OneGoal 🔥 pic.twitter.com/WTk2FsK06K

Finally, the race for the last play-off place was tightened further as 10th-placed Surrey Scorchers ended a run of three straight league defeats by beating Cheshire Phoenix 76-74 on the road, moving to 4-10 as Ryan Richards scored 21 points.

Surrey took over immediately after the break, opening the third quarter 13-2 as Richards scored four and Martelle McLemore hit a triple; and after eight more consecutive points, Hicks scoring four of those, it was 58-45 as Scorchers won the third period 23-9.

That gave them a cushion they had to defend late on as Cheshire got it back to a one-point game inside the final minute, only for 18-year-old GB star Cameron Hildreth to hit a crucial free-throw and then make a huge block on a three-pointer that would have won it for the hosts.

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