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Scorchers v Riders: Match Preview

Scorchers v Riders: Match Preview

Surrey Scorchers return to the Sports Park arena this Sunday at the start of a run of three home games against the BBL’s top two sides in three weeks.

Surrey Scorchers return to the Sports Park arena this Sunday at the start of a run of three home games against the BBL’s top two sides in three weeks.

Tickets for all home games are available here.

MPU

Second-placed Leicester Riders are first up, with a 2pm tip-off, as Scorchers look to put in the sort of 40-minute performance which earned an impressive victory against Bristol Flyers two weeks ago.

Riders – who, in Josh Ward-Hibbert and GB international Conner Washington, boast two of the BBL’s most prolific shooters – had themselves been on a seven-game winning streak until last Sunday’s agonising two-point loss to Manchester Giants.

“We’re definitely looking forward to being back on home court. It’s seems like we haven’t been here for a while,” admitted coach Creon Raftopolous, “and we’ve got nothing to lose. In Leicester Riders, we’re playing probably one of the top teams of the last couple of years. We go into the game open-minded and we just want to give our fans a great performance and try to defend home court.”

Although conceding that the Scorchers’ defeat to Flyers last Saturday “wasn’t one of our best performances”, there remained some positives to be drawn from the final quarter resurgence which at one stage lifted the team to within one basket of drawing themselves level.

“I felt we did enough in the later stages of the game to get ourselves back in it and give ourselves an opportunity to win,” reflected Creon. “But we’ve got to learn to not put ourselves in holes so that we fall behind too much, so our focus is going to be on trying to remain disciplined and play 40 minutes of basketball.

“We’ve got to stay structured and on the same page because that’s what (Riders) do very well. If we want to match up with them, I think we need to do the same.”

The Riders’ visit is closely followed by BBL leaders London Lions, who arrive at Surrey Sports Park on Sunday 31 March counting 2018 BBL MVP Justin Robinson amongst their number. “I don’t think the games get any easier,” smiles Creon, who relishes the chance to pit his wits against the best. “The Lions are having an absolutely amazing season, and probably have one or two players who are going to be in that MVP discussion come the end of the season.

“It’s great when you know you’ve got high-level players coming into the building. But once again you know it’s about us just performing to the best of our ability. That’s all I can really ask of the guys. That’s all I can really do as a coach – coach my heart out, and let them play their hearts out. We have a lot of pride as professionals and we just want to finish as strong as possible.

“At the end of it, if we’re on the winning side, you know it makes for a big celebration.”

** A Mother’s Day Family Ticket offer is available for all families who bring their mother along to celebrate the special day in style – click here for full details.

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