Cheshire Phoenix 79 – 64 Leicester Riders
by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix bounced back from last weekend’s defeat with a statement win against the Leicester Riders.
The Nix had four men in double digit scoring, while Brandon Clark carried the load for the Riders with 25 points. Leicester went on a 17-2 run to end the third but the Nix took care of business in the final act of the game. Phoenix played suffocating defence as they limited the hosts to just 34% FG on the night.
The game started off slowly for both teams as they combined for just 32 points during the first quarter. The Riders were poor from the perimeter, they missed six of their seven three-point attempts. The Nix hit four shots from beyond the arc and defended well, which meant that they went into the second quarter up 19-13 on the hosts.
Phoenix’s lead doubled halfway through the second period, after Ben Thomas’ team capitalized on multiple turnovers and missed shots by their opponents. Momcilo Latinovic was on fire from beyond the arc, he made four out of six shots in the first half. C.J Gettys and Daniel Norl also contributed with seven points each. Brandon Clark was the top scorer for the Riders, with nine points. The Nix held the Riders to 39% FG in the first half and went into the interval up 39-27.
The Nix kept their opponents scoreless in the opening two and a half minutes of the second half before Conner Washington hit a mid-range shot. Phoenix were hitting on all cylinders as their lead swelled up to as much as 22 points in the third quarter. They continued their good shooting display in the third period of play, as they made seven of 15 shots. The Riders went on a surprising 17-2 run before the end of the third after they forced the visitors into multiple turnovers, the home side trimmed Phoenix’s lead to just seven at the end of the third.
Jalen Hayes fouled out of the game with 9:37 remaining in the fourth. Shortly after, the Riders found themselves only five points behind the Nix with six minutes still left to play. Ben Thomas’ side recovered from the Leicester avalanche and pushed the lead up to nine, with just three minutes to play. C.J Gettys orchestrated the Phoenix defence beautifully in the last minutes of the game, he scored at will, grabbed offensive rebounds and assisted his team-mates. The Nix triumphed in the end, 79 – 64.
Key Team Stat: 53% FG. The Nix shot the ball at a very high clip, all night long. They also shot an incredible 45% from three-point range. Great shooting paired with impressive defence propelled the Nix to their 13th win of the season.
The Cheshire Phoenix will look to build on the win when they face off against the Bristol Flyers at home, on the 31st March.
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