Scorchers take victory on New Year’s Day in Surrey
After a mid-week change of opponent from Bristol Flyers to London Lions the Scorchers set their focus on continuing the New Year’s Day Winning tradition.
Both teams entered the game with depleted squads as Scorchers top scorer Stanley Davis Jr and BBL rebound leader Saiquan Jamison were out due to injury sustained prior to the Christmas break.
As the ball went up for tip-off the surrey side were ready to step up and take on the challenge. Caylin Raftopoulos started the game with a hot hand hitting a floater and back-to-back three-pointers on his way to a 20-point season high.
Lions struggled to score early in the quarter without offensive threats Isiah Reese and Jordan Williams on the floor as Scorchers lead by 8.
Former Scorcher Will Neighbour found joy beyond the arc knocking down his shot attempts bringing Lions back within 3 points. Starting guard Cugini added 11 points of his own in the opening quarter to give Lions a 1-point lead to finish the 1st quarter.
Scorchers rotated the bench in the 2nd which saw Scorchers Academy student Ryan Gannicleft inject himself into the game with a steal leading to an easy finish on the break followed by an assist to Hamrick.
Jules Dang Akodo provided some fire power for Scorchers with a couple of three-pointers as he would go onto finish the night 2 rebounds shy of a triple double.
After being down as many as 10 points in the quarter, Lions turned to leading scorer Dirk Williams and former league MVP Justin Robinson to bring composure to the offence heading to the locker room Scorchers up 41-36.
A half time talk from Coach Vince Macaulay say the Lions enter the third quarter with conviction. Both teams traded three-pointers across this quarter, Raftopoulos moving to 17 points as he drained his 5th on the night.
Scorchers hustle and desire edged them in front to finish the third quarter 65-61as Wanliss cleaned up the offensive glass and Mclemore converts a circus scoop shot on the buzzer.
The final quarter was neck and neck with big buckets from Lions Will Neighbour forcing Coach Creon to call a timeout as Lions string together good looks and executed on offence.
Momentum shifted as defensive stopper Jules Dang Akodo converted a steal on the fast break and followed it up with another assist to Hamrick for the arial finish plus the foul.
Scorcher captain Tayo Ogedengbe was vital on the night keeping the team together in adversity making big plays when they mattered most finishing with 19 points.
With Scorchers up by 1 point and 6 seconds on the clock, Lions turned to their top scorer on the night Cugini for the last shot of the game.
Hamrick doing just enough on defence with a high hand resulting in a missed shot from Cugini. Scorchers cause a New Year’s Day upset for the Lions and move to a 11-1 record on New Years Day game play.