It was a memorable night for Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders, as they comfortably despatched One Health Sharks Sheffield to book their place in the BBL Cup Final at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on Sunday 13 January.
Already up 90-70 from the first-leg, Rob Paternostro and his team completed one of the most one-sided semi-final ties in Cup history, with a crushing 50 point win over the two legs as they strolled to a 75-45 second-leg victory.
Great Britain and Riders captain Drew Sullivan led the way with 15 points, and he will face his former club Newcastle Eagles in a repeat of last seasons' BBL Play-Off Final.
And, there was double cause for Leicester to celebrate, since their title rivals slumped to a crushing 88-73 loss at Worcester Wolves to lose ground in the title race.
It was an excellent display by Paul James and his bolstered Wolves team who took full advantage of the Eagles losing Charles Smith to injury after just six minutes of action and Joe Chapman still being entrenched in his worryingly lengthy shooting slump.
The hosts overpowered the Eagles in a big way under the basket and wore down the reigning BBL Champions until the final quarter, when they turned on the style from outside too and consequently pulled away to coast to the win.
Lithuanian centre Arturas Masiulis (210-C-80) was unstoppable in the paint and tore the Eagles to shreds. He claimed a sparkling double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, whilst Kai Williams had a great shooting night on debut with an excellent 20 points from 8 of 10 floor shooting-the same as Masiulis.
This was only the second BBL Championship loss of the season for Fab Flournoy and the Eagles, but a second defeat in three games in all competitions and means will do well to avoid a third loss in four games when they head to Devon to play UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders on Sunday.
Eurobasket.com All-British EBL Division Two Awards 2013 - May 24, 2013
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Finals MVP: Karolis Stepanavicius (198-F) of Newham Nept.; Player of the Year: Matt Gwynne (6'10''-F/C) of Cary Invasion; Guard of the Year: Thomas Ward (183-PG) of Manchester M.; Forward of the Year: Karolis Stepanavicius (198-F) of Newham Nept.; Center of the Year: Matt Gwynne (6'10''-F/C) of Cary Invasion; Bosman Player of the Year: Karolis Stepanavicius (198-F) of Newham Nept.; Import Player of the Year: Matt Gwynne (6'10''-F/C) of Cary Invasion; Domestic Player of the Year: Thomas Ward (183 [read more]
Eurobasket.com All-British EBL Division Two 1st Team 2013
Leicester Riders continued with their team building for the 2013/14 season by re-signing 6 foot 8 inch forward Anthony Rowe (203-F-85, college: N.Georgia). The 27 years old Rowe was born in Plymouth and played for his home town club for 4 seasons, after graduating from US college North Georgia, before joining Riders early last season, after a season ending injury to centre John Fraley [read more]
Leicester Riders continued with their team building for the 2013/14 season by re-signing 6 foot 8 inch forward Anthony Rowe (203-F-85, college: N.Georgia). The 27 years old Rowe was born in Plymouth and played for his home town club for 4 seasons, after graduating from US college North Georgia, before joining Riders early last season, after a season ending injury to centre John Fraley.
Rowe knocked down nearly 12 points a game, and averaged nearly 7 rebounds and just over 1 assist per game, for the Jelson Homes DMU backed Riders, which helped Rowe pick up his first silverware in the BBL.
Rowe said, "I am absolutely ecstatic to come back with the Riders. I was really pleased with the way I was welcomed into the Riders team part way through the season, and Leicester has proved a great team, a great Club, and a great organization."
"Winning three trophies was well beyond my expectations, but well deserved, because this team put in a lot of hard work. I really always wanted to stay and defend those titles and keep that success coming to the city."
Rowe admitted coach Rob Paternostro was a factor in his decision, "Rob is a great coach, and good person, and was undoubtedly part of the reason I am here. He has total respect of his players, and I feel I have learned a lot and improved immensely throughout the season."
"And as a team, I think we can step up again. It is great we have already got a number of British players back. If you look at successful teams over a number of years in the BBL, keeping a solid group of good British players is a big factor, and I really like the way the Club is getting on and getting key players under contract early."
Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro said, "Last season when Rowe arrived he fitted in really well, and proved his ability to adapt to what we were looking for quickly. Anthony can do a variety of things at both ends of the court, but most impressive is his hunger to win. He also brings a lot to the organization in terms of his outstanding work in the community."
"What I really like is, with Rowe's signing, we are building a core of young British talent in our team, when you add in Jamell Anderson and Connor Washington. These guys send a message to the younger players in our organization that if you buckle down, train hard, and listen and learn, there are openings in our team. And, of course, their signings give huge flexibility to our squad."
Leicester Riders took another step to rebuilding their championship winning team, by announcing the return of guard Jorge Calvo(190-G-87).
The 25 year old point guard, born in Ponferrada, Spain, was a huge hit with the Rider's fans last season, with his tenacious defence and in ability to run the offence, but also for his hugely engaging manner off the court. He was the first Spaniard to win a BBL Championship [read more]
Leicester Riders took another step to rebuilding their championship winning team, by announcing the return of guard Jorge Calvo (190-G-87).
The 25 year old point guard, born in Ponferrada, Spain, was a huge hit with the Rider's fans last season, with his tenacious defence and in ability to run the offence, but also for his hugely engaging manner off the court. He was the first Spaniard to win a BBL Championship.
Calvo was very keen to return to the Jelson Homes DMU backed Riders, "From very early on with the Riders, as I came to understand the great mix of players we had, I was really keen to make Leicester more than a one year stop. I believe this is a team that can get better, and I can get better with the team."
"Playing in the BBL is a different challenge to Spain, but I think it is helping to develop my game. I will be looking to do things a little different, add some things to what I bring to the Riders, but it is really working with my team-mates and coaches that will help make the difference."
"I was also excited to see that Drew Sullivan had re-signed, because he is such an important player in our team. He and Rob (Paternostro) our coach are what make the big difference to the team, so that just reinforced my keenness to come back."
Calvo thinks Riders will have it much tougher in the BBL next season, but is looking forward to the challenge, "For sure, teams are going to be gunning for Leicester, and it will be difficult. We set a standard this season, and other teams will be out to put one over on us. But I think the Riders can get better, and particularly if we can keep most of the squad together."
Paternostro was very excited to have Calvo back, "Jorge is hugely under-rated in my opinion. He handles himself extremely well, is a very smart player, and is very much a team guy. There are a lot of decisions to make in his position on the court, particularly in terms of getting other guys involved in the offence, and that is where Jorge excels."
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