The Leicester Riders held off a 17 point fightback from the Cheshire Jets and produced some excellent team work to leave the Northgate Arena 80-73 winners.
Riders Coach Rob Paternostro said his teams performance was a good improvement from last nights shock 87-82 defeat to the Glasgow Rocks.
” We felt we had to do whatever it took to win today. Last night was a disappointing loss because we didn’t like the way the team vibe wasn’t coming together. For most of tonight’s game we felt like we controlled it but you have to give Coach Lavery and the guys credit. They came at us hard but I’am proud of my guys in getting another road win.”
Although it was a great team effort with Cameron Rundles grabbing a healthy 9 assists on the night, Bradd Wierzbicki led his teams scoring with 23 points. Wierzbicki was in perfect form from beyond the three point line and hit 8/15 from the field.
As for the Jets, they have now lost their seventh straight game. Coach John Lavery said: “The message in the locker room was we have got to come and play for forty minutes. Tonight I didn’t think we matched their energy or desire but if we continue to have the same energy and desire we will start picking up wins. We know it is coming but we just have to work harder on the practice floor and the game floor to put it right.”
The teams traded baskets in a fairly even first quarter with the scores tied at 7 midway through the period. The Jets broke away when Rundles’ effort was swatted away by Bill Cole. Colin O’Reilly ran down the floor and finished at the hoop for a slender 12-9 lead. Cheshire then kept their opponents at bay finishing the period one point in front at 14-13.
An acrobatic layup from the Riders Jamell Anderson kickstarted a 9-2 surge from the visitors in the second quarter. Rundles picked out Drew Sullivan under the basket for the Riders to take the lead at 24-16. Things got worse for the Jets as Wierzbicki went on an amazing scoring spree, netting 11 points to create a comfortable margin of 42-28 at the break.
Defence creates the best offence as many coaches would say and that is what the Jets certainly did in the second half. They intensified their defence and cut the deficit to six points, thanks to two huge triples from Cole to make the score 40-46. The hosts comeback was to be short lived as Wierzbicki had the hot hand again stroking in two more three pointers for his team to have a 13 point advantage heading into the final stanza.
Jets leading scorer Matt Schneck finished the night with 22 points. He scored a quick four points to spark an unanswered eight point run to bring the scores within single digits at 61-70. Lavery’s men kept on battling to trim the difference and O’Reilly nailed a huge three pointer to bring the hosts within three at 73-76 with under a minute to play. The Jets were all out of fuel and were unable to complete the turnaround as Wierzbicki sunk two from the foul line to close out the victory for the Riders.