PERFECT JETS FLYING HIGH ATOP BBL

Cheshire Jets will head into their break still sat proudly at the summit of the BBL table with four wins from four games after grinding out a 71-66 win over Leicester Riders as the hosts lost on their own court for the first time in nine months.

Leading 67-55 in the fourth quarter, Jets – who had been 16 ahead at one point – then allowed their grip to slip as the hosts rallied and had Cheshire nerves jangling loudly – despite a technical foul being called on Leicester coach Rob Paternostro. With two minutes remaining, Riders had put together a stunning 14-2 run rounded off with an inside basket by Anthony Simpson who made it a one-shot game at 69-66.

Jets continued to turn the ball over as they sweated down the stretch but Riders couldn’t make the outside score they needed and a fast break score with 17 seconds to go by Jeremy Bell – who hit a team-high 20 points – was enough to give Paul Smith and his team a fourth win in four league games.

“We made it hard for ourselves and made hard work of closing out the game but we got there in the end,” Smith said. “I think we are all looking forward to having a couple of weeks off now.”

Glasgow Rocks pulled off a stunning 81-79 win on Saturday over Worcester Wolves after a late flurry from player-coach Sterling Davis saw his side emerge on top following a fourth quarter battle.

The Scots trailed 42-39 at half-time and were within reach of the in-form hosts at the start of the final period. But Davis hit 5 of his 16 points in the final two minutes and then fed Nick Livas for the winning basket with just 9 seconds left.

The Kelvin Hall outfit – who were led by 17 from EJ Harrison – made it a double with an 87-75 win over struggling Plymouth Raiders on Sunday, paced by 24 apiece from Davis and Mike Copeland.

In stark contrast, it proved to be another frustrating night for Paul James and the Wolves who were condemned to a second gut-wrenching home loss in the space of a week and the play-caller was inevitably upset his team blew their opportunity once again.

“We are very disappointed and are not helping ourselves this season,” explained James.

“We are struggling to close out games when we get into a winning position and in that respect, it was another hugely frustrating night.”

Sheffield Sharks maintained their 100% start to the Championship season thanks to a 107-84 victory over the Worthing Thunder at the EIS, Sheffield on Friday night.  A strong second quarter from the Sharks saw them outscore their opponents 20-6 in the opening eight minutes of the period in order to take the score out to 55-30.  Despite the valiant attempts of the visitors to get themselves back into the game, the Sharks were able to see off the Thunder and leave them languishing at the bottom of the table without a victory.

The Mersey Tigers drew level on points with the Sharks at the top of the table thanks to a hard-fought 96-85 victory over Plymouth Raiders at the Echo Arena.  A 20-4 run for the Tigers in the opening quarter set the tone for much of the game as the home side enjoyed plenty of strong offensive performances as they ran out comfortable winners.

Newcastle Eagles found things extremely easy as they crushed the Essex Pirates 112-43 at Sport Central.  After a tight opening to the game in which both sides traded baskets, the Eagles took control and enjoyed a 32-2 tear to lead 40-10 midway through the second quarter and they never looked back from there as the rout was completed.  The result meant that the Eagles moved themselves up into sixth position in the table while the Pirates remain without a victory from their opening three games.

Saturday 23

BBL – Worcester Wolves v Glasgow Rocks (7pm), Leicester Riders v Cheshire Jets (7.30)

Sunday 24

BBL – Plymouth Raiders v Glasgow Rocks (4pm)

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