This could well be the weekend where the BBL Championship really begun to take shape as leaders Worcester Wolves and the chasing Newcastle Eagles had winning weekends to stretch out the group at the top of the table.
Helped by yet another defeat for reigning champions Leicester Riders, Wolves made the most of their trips on the road, with a dominant display over Plymouth Raiders, 93-63 on Saturday night, before the long journey back and to Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday, where Paul James’ men made it a series whitewash with a 105-94 victory; the first time these two sides haven’t needed overtime to decide the result.
Newcastle Eagles were pushed all the way in both their games on Friday and Sunday. After a stunning start at Sport Central against Sheffield Sharks on Friday night, restricting the Yorkshiremen to just nine points in the first quarter, the third placed side fought their way back, but the Geordies led from beginning to end, picking up a 69-59 home win.
Sunday saw Fabulous Flournoy break Peter Scantlebury’s record of appearances in the BBL, as he took to the Emirates Arena floor for his 541st game in the British league against Glasgow Rocks.
It was to be celebrated with yet another victory, but again the Eagles were made to work for the result, as Glasgow put pressure on the visitors cutting a ten point lead midway in the final quarter to just four in a matter of moments, however, Fab’s party was not to be spoiled as his charges held on to a 74-66 win.
The shock of the weekend came as Manchester Giants produced a mesmerising 33-point second quarter on the way to a 91-86 win over the Riders.
The Giants scored more points in the first half against the Leicester Riders than any other team this season, and although Rob Paternostro’s men threw everything they had at the home side in the final quarter, Jeff Jones’ side were able to finish the night with their seventh victory of the Championship campaign, and give a glimmer of hope that they could be in the hunt still for a playoff spot come the end of the season.
The other fixtures on Sunday, London Lions and Durham Wildcats inflicted severe punishment on the two bottom teams in the BBL Championship in the earlier fixtures.
The Lions also made it a winning weekend (claiming a home court 89-6 win over the North East last Thursday) as they ripped apart Surrey United 96-66, whilst the Wildcats penetrated the armour of the Birmingham Knights with a 103-70 victory at home.
Birmingham also suffered at the hands of Cheshire Phoenix on Saturday night, but after trailing by 17 points in the second quarter, the home side were unfortunate not to turn things around after the half-time break, cutting Phoenix’s lead to just four. Cheshire were able to control the game however and ran out 96-87 winners.