Leicester Riders are the British Basketball League champions for the third successive season.

Rob Paternostro’s men were far too strong for struggling Plymouth Raiders on Sunday and eased their way to a comfortable 104-75 road win as Tyler Bernardini impressed after netting 26 points. The celebrations will be repeated on April 20 when Riders have the silverware presented to them in front of their own fans.

“What a feeling,” said Paternostro. I am so proud of the guys and the effort. To play back-to-back games this weekend and to put on the performances like they did makes it special.

“There were a lot of people who said we had already won it, but nobody had talked like that on our team.They were focused and they did the complete job in order to get it done today.

“It’s unfortunate that we don’t have JR (Holder), Andy (Thompson) and Shane (Walker) here as they have been so incredible all season.

“They’re three great players, but in some ways, it kind of typifies the way that our season has been. We have played so many games with players down and today with three missing, the guys stepped up and came out to do exactly what they needed to do.”

Leicester sealed the title with five games to spare to thwart Newcastle, having only had three defeats all season in the league.

“I am so proud of the fact that if we have injuries or guys missing, the bench steps up or comes through and it was fitting to win it that way,” continued Paternostro.

“It’s the first time we haven’t won it at home, but we’re looking forward to the 20th at our place when we can celebrate with the fans.

“Our fans have been unbelievable on this journey. It’s three titles in a row and four in six years and they have been a big part of that.”

Pic: Mansoor Ahmed

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