Leicester Warriors prevented the semi-finals from involving all of the top four seeds with a win on the road at Worthing. The top three seeds all enjoyed home victories and will now go to Manchester, where the semi-finals and final will be contested next weekend.
In the first quarter-final, defending play-off champions, Reading were comfortably beaten 71-52 away to the Bristol Academy Flyers. Gregory Streete led the hosts with a game high 22 points while Ryan Lohfink top scored with the Rockets with a 20 point haul.
The teams were level at 16 after ten minutes after a late triple from Bristol’s Douglas McLaughlin-Williams. The American repeated the feat just before half-time as the home side finished the second with the final five points to take a 33-26 advantage into the interval.
Bristol’s lead was reduced to five points heading into the final quarter but the Trophy and Cup runners-up overpowered their opponents in the fourth on their way to a convincing victory.
Rishi Kakad scored 40 points in Derby’s 83-72 win over the Bradford Dragons to set up a clash with Bristol in the final four. The teams entered the final quarter level at 54 but the Trailblazers streaked clear to win by an 11 point margin.
The closest of the quarter-final clashes was between Worthing and Leicester as the fourth seeds were defeated 79-86 at home. The fifth seeded Warriors stayed in front for most of the game and used a 14-4 run in the final quarter to repel any late surge from the Thunder.
On Sunday, the final quarter-final saw the league champions extend their winning streak as the London Leopards dispatched the challenge of Medway Park with a 93-78 success. David Buchberger and Vernon Teel contributed trible-doubles of 22p/12r/10a and 16p/15r/10a respectively in the victory while Lukas Volskis also added 19 points.
The Leopards used dominant first and third quarters as a platform for their success despite a fourth quarter rally from the Crusaders. Leicester will look to snap the Big Cats winning streak when they clash in Manchester next week while Bristol take on Derby.
Semi-Finals: London Leopards (1) v Leicester Warriors (5); Bristol Academy Flyers (2) v Derby Trailblazers (3)