Cheshire Phoenix were made to feel the full force of Leeds Force in the BBL Championship losing out 74-82 this evening.
It meant a disappointing end to Jorge Ebanks’ home debut as the Yorkshire side took control late in the game to claim a vital win in an already closely fought league.
Cheshire, without captain David Aliu to injury, opened the scoring early, but a well-orchestrated period from Leeds with Kwan Waller at the heart of the attack helped establish a 21-26 lead to the visitors.
In the second quarter, Cheshire Phoenix worked hard to overcome the deficit early, thanks to tougher defence and taking advantage of costly errors made by Force and working hard to execute quickly on offence to help post a turnaround in the period ending 45-39.
Coming out after the half-time break, Cheshire looked to build on the lead that they had built, however Leeds hung on to their coat tails throughout the quarter making the most of Cheshire’s own missed opportunities from beyond the arc, but the Nix Nation were about to roar on their side with the score at 58-55 heading into the decisive final ten minutes.
Ebanks helped to tighten the screw pushing Phoenix out to a seven point lead with 7:33 left in the game. However, an almighty effort from Leeds Force, which saw them put together an unanswered 12-point run and take the lead in the game mid-way through the period, left Cheshire shaken to the core, despite a late deep three made by Jordan Williams to bring the score back to within five in the last minute.
As the seconds ticked down though, the momentum refused to shift from Coach Newby’s team, who tie the season series level at 1-1, and in turn, leaving the Nix Nation needing to wait just a little longer for their first home regular season victory.
Top scorer in the game overall was Cheshire’s Jordan Williams with a haul of 22 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Speaking after the game, Coach Lavery lamented on his side not being able to put in practice their game plan: “It was a tough loss; we turned the ball over too many times. We didn’t execute down the stretch and Leeds took full advantage of that and came away with the win.
“We’re on a bit of a bad stretch at the moment but I’m confident that the guys will turn it around, but we do need that little bit of luck down the stretch too,” Lavery went on to say.
Cheshire Phoenix next face Worcester Wolves away in the BBL Championship on Friday, but host Bristol Flyers in the crucial BBL Cup Quarter-Final next Sunday at Cheshire Oaks Arena, Ellesmere Port Sports Village, at 5:30pm.