Leicester Riders have advanced to the BBL cup semi-finals alongside London Lions, Newcastle Eagles, and the Manchester Giants.
Following a strong performance against the Glasgow Rocks in tonight’s quarter-final, the Leicester Riders, led by team Captain Darien Nelson-Henry, have advanced to the next stage of the BBL cup.
Head coach Rob Paternostro said: “I thought it was a real professional job from our guys. In the first half, we really jumped on them and gave ourselves a really big lead.”
The Riders beat the Glasgow Rocks 93-59 and had a whopping 51-26 lead at the half.
The team is not planning to let their guard down though, and understand that there is always room for improvement and tightening up their cohesion and tactics. Captain Darien Nelson-Henry said: “Defence is always a principle that we pride ourselves on so we’re just going to stress a lot of that in practice. Lessons in turnovers is a huge thing; making sure that we secure every rebound—the classic things you need to do to get the job done.”
Of course, with heavy restrictions on crowd numbers at games, the atmosphere has take a big hit. It’s a very different experience, not only for those that are attending the game, but for the players too. “It’s been a little weird,” said Nelson-Henry. “Basketball is a game that feeds on emotions—you feed off the environment and the energy from the crowds. It’s definitely weird, so we have to kind of provide that ourselves and make sure the guys on the bench are extra vocal and that we’re supporting each other, even more than we ordinarily would.”
The draw to see the fixtures for the semis is expected on Friday, and will see the Riders pitted against the Lions, Eagles, or Giants.
By Sam Ellison