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Lions out to secure Trophy semi-final berth

MK Lions will look to wrap up a place in the BBL Trophy semi-final when they face London Leopards on Sunday afternoon.

MK Lions will look to wrap up a place in the BBL Trophy semi-final when they face London Leopards on Sunday afternoon.

A win will ensure Lions a place in the last four, but if they are surprised by the EBL Division One side, it would leave the door open for Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders to reach the semi-final.

It will be the first time that BBL basketball has returned to the Brentwood Centre since the 2002/3 season, although the Big Cats are competing in the Trophy for the fourth time since the club was restarted by its fans in 2004.

Leopards travelled to Milton Keynes a fortnight ago, and with star forward Ousman Krubally sitting out with an ankle injury, they went down 113-72 despite a 43 point haul from guard Vernon Teel.

Demarius BoldsDejan Mihevc, the Big Cats coach knows the size of the task facing his young side: “MK is a very balanced team. Coach New did a very good job on recruiting. The main thing was to keep [Demarius] Bolds (pictured) who for sure is one of their best players, even though their strength comes from the whole starting five players, where any of those players will contribute to the final result.

“I would say that the whole starting five team is key for them, I would still pointed out triangle of Stefan Gill, Bolds and Daniel Northern, where Gill is a great leader on the floor that will always know when to pass and when to take responsibility to finish. Bolds is an all-round player that will always play hard in defence and is their main threat of offence. He is very dangerous of a dribble and moves very well without the ball.

“Northern with Adrien Sturt and Howard Crawford provide them that they can play very strong under the basket what gives other players on the perimeter more space.”

Mihevc believes that his side can give Lions a tougher game this week: “Last game against them we couldn’t answer to their inside game. They were just too physical for us. With Krubally back and signing [Will] Ohuaragbe under the basket I believe that home game will be totally different story.”

While Lions will be looking to bounce back after a mauling in Glasgow last Sunday, Leopards recovered from their two heavy BBL Trophy losses to record their fifth win in six EB games with a comfortable 81-668 home victory against Bradford Dragons last Sunday.

MK coach Mike New is determined to avoid an upset at the Brentwood Centre: “Leopards are a well coached team, who play hard for 40 minutes with a couple of outstanding imports in Krubally and Teel.

“When we played them before, we again got off to a really strong start and that goes a long way. We must however do a better job of containing the ball to stop penetration and also help better on dribble drives to the basket.

“Their two danger men are Krubally, who is athletic and active and Teal who can get into a zone and put up big numbers once he gets going.”

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