After lifting silverware at the O2 last week and a convincing win in Worcester on Friday night, it was back to the Copper Box on Sunday night for the London Lions.
And it was a return that more than lived up to expectations, with the home side taking a 93-78 win in a game that had so many good plays it would leave the highlight reel bursting as the large London crowd went home smiling.
The Lions started the game strongly, quickly building a 7 point lead largely thanks to impressive work between new star signing Justin Robinson and Momcilo Latinovic.
As former Lion Alex Owumi helped the visitors from downtown, Brandon Peel was right back at it, rescuing an errant shot to build the lead back up to 5. Fan favourite Joe Ikhinmwin was hot from behind the line as the lead started climbing again.
But the Scorchers weren’t going to lie down. They kept fighting, but were frustrated by a strong Lions defence. The first quarter ended 27-19.
The Lions came into the second quarter determined and the depth and quality of the roster gave the Scorchers headache after headache. True the Lions defence wasn’t consistently strong, but whenever the visitors tried to come back, it was always answered emphatically.
As the clock ticked towards half time you sensed Surrey were desperately throwing everything at preventing the game being over by half time.
The Lions however were having fun, and at the end of the half the score (48-31) betrayed the fact that Surrey seemed deflated and there appeared no way back.
Other teams might have settled for a 17 point lead, but one of the impressive things about this side is the sheer effort that each member of the team puts in.
Play after play, beautiful shot after beautiful shot went in, with equal amounts of hard work on the defensive end, led to the lead ballooning to 62-36 with 6.08 left in the third.
There was still or no rest for a Surrey team who looked as if they were totally beaten.
The quarter ended with the Lions cruising comfortably at 75-48.
The fourth quarter didn’t live up to the previous three for the Lions. The side’s frustration with the officiating boiled over, a foulshot count of 32 to the visitors and a mere 10 to the home side when they were the ones who led by as many as 30 points were compounded with repeated technical fouls being issued. This culminated in bizarre scenes as the Lions coach was ejected from the game for his second technical foul.
But despite a deflating end, nothing could take away from the players who seemed to be really enjoying playing with each other in a team that has serious amounts of promise.
Next up for the Lions are the Manchester Giants on Friday 6 October, tip at 7.30pm. Tickets available at ticketmaster.co.uk
Lions Scorers; Flannigan 19, Robinson 15, Latinovic 13, Peel 11, Lockhart 9, Hall 7, Ikhinmwin 7, Lanegger 5, Isenbarger 5, Guede 2, Roberts, James.
Scorchers Scorers; Ogedengbe 18, Owumi 16, Robinson 13.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
London Lions – firstname.lastname@example.org
London Lions Official Website – www.londonlionsbasketball.com