Home » Lions net play-off title to complete BBL double

Lions net play-off title to complete BBL double

Sam Dekker iced the game with a three-point shot from the corner with less than 10 seconds left, capping off his MVP performance.

Lions were looking for revenge from the Trophy final, but the scoring got off to a slow start before Aaryn Rai and Dekker traded to get things going.

It wasn’t until the introduction of substitutes that things opened up, with Cheshire looking to be going through the gears, as Skyler White banked home a step-back three.

Out of the first media timeout Lions introduced Donte Grantham and Josh Sharma who made an immediate impact.

Grantham’s wing three kicked off a 15-point run to give them a 24-12 lead, before David Ulph punctuated the quarter with a rim-rocking stuff.

Five quick points for Tarik Phillip fired the Lions up, before Maceo Jack hit back with a quick-release three.

Lions stayed in the ascendency early in the second quarter, which flourished into everything the fans could hope for with baskets dropping and defences battling every trip down the floor.

Cheshire were down by double digits for much of the first half, but dogged defence by Laquincy Rideau helped steer them back into the game.

Rideau ended the half with a triple, but Coach of the Year Ben Thomas was frustrated as his side went into the break down by 11.

Thomas called a quick time-out early in the third, after a 7-0 run by the BBL champions, before Ethan Chargois and Rai dragged Cheshire back into it.

The game got chippy as Cam Christon drilled a corner three to cut the gap to five, with Rideau forcing London into turnovers and riling up his opposition guards.

The dogged style was suiting Phoenix, with Rai’s playmaking ability on full display as he wrapped a pass around to Rideau who found Jack in the corner for another make from downtown.

Lions, for the first time in the game, struggled to find the basket and Rideau’s Hail Mary attempt would have tied it up as they faced a one-score game with one quarter remaining.

Rideau cut the gap down to one, before Dekker stepped up with a much-needed three.

Jack followed with an and-one play to cut it to one again, before Rideau forced his sixth steal of the game.

But despite the intense defence they faced, Lions maintained their lead as Olaseni finished around the low block.

Lions pushed their lead out to four and kept splitting crucial trips to the foul line, leaving Cheshire still needing two possessions to win.

With less than 90 seconds to go, Rideau’s drop-step lay-up dropped with the contact, making good of the and-one to make it a one-point game.

He then evened the tie with another ridiculous finish over Dekker, before the London forward made amends with a clutch corner three.

Cheshire couldn’t get the look they wanted in the last nine seconds and London were crowned champions as Dekker’s 17 points led the way.