Yet another dying seconds loss for Surrey Scorchers on Sunday evening saw Leeds Force take the points to book their spot in the BBL Championship Play-offs.
The hosts, who have been on receiving end of numerous narrow defeats this season, tied the game at 68-all with 36secs left on the clock only for Leeds’ resilience and determination allowing them to take a 69-72 win on the road.
Scorchers held an early lead in Q1 while Force took time to settle on court, before a 2 point jump shot from Anebo on the buzzer allowed Leeds to take a 19-25 lead into the break.
A dry period of baskets for both sides followed early in Q2, before Force increased their lead to as many as 11 points midway into the quarter. Mike Anderson kept Scorchers within touching distance at the half time buzzer, with the Force leading 31-39.
Coach Creon Raftopoulous rallied his troops during the break and they started to creep back into the tie. Jordan Williams and Andreas Schreiber were working hard at both ends of the court to create and score chances, as Scorchers reduced the deficit down to 3 points. Leeds were having none of it though, and held a 12 point lead ahead of the final period (45-57).
But then it was time for Anderson to come alive. Surrey opened Q4 with a 15-2 run to give the sell-out crowd hope of seeing their first home win of 2016, as the boys in black took their first lead since the start of the game. Force continued to poke ahead until a Nick Schlitzer 2 tied the game at 68-all with 36secs on the clock.
But the luck was in for the visitors, who replied with 4 unanswered points to close out the game, and take a vital win to secure them a spot in the BBL Championship Play-offs, while Scorchers must settle for 12th in their debut season.
Anderson’s final quarter showing earned him 19pts in the game, with Williams taking the double-double of 10pts/15rbs.
Surrey Scorchers will return to Surrey Sports Park in the autumn to kick off the 2016/17 BBL Championship season, with news of fixtures and tickets due to be announced over the summer.