BBL & WBBL: Leicester Riders and Sevenoaks Suns secure play-off wins
Leicester Riders confirmed their status as the dominant team in the British Basketball League with a comprehensive 84-63 win over Newcastle Eagles in the play-off final in London.
The Riders opened a 10-point lead in the first quarter and never looked in trouble in a one-sided final.
Leicester also finished the regular season in top spot.
In the Women's British Basketball League play-off final, the Sevenoaks Suns beat Nottingham Wildcats 70-61.
Leicester confirm their dominance
Newcastle finished second to the Riders in the league, but the gulf between the two teams was obvious almost from the first play.
Andy Thomson, a former Eagle, led all scorers with 18 points for the Riders and Pierre Hampton, named most valuable player, added 12.
Newcastle's top scorer was BBL Player of the Year Rahmon Fletcher, with 16 points.
Leicester led by 10 points (18-8) after just five and a half minutes and then added an 11-3 run to win the first quarter 29-11, a start similar to the one they had inflicted on Plymouth in the Trophy final two months earlier.
Although Scott Martin hit two threes in an improved second quarter for the Eagles, they were still 47-27 adrift at half-time and with a mountain to climb as Leicester's greater depth off the bench took its toll.
The Riders went 30 points ahead in the first minute of the final quarter on their way to missing the biggest winning margin in play-off final history by a single point.
Leicester had already won two trophies this season after adding the league title to March's Trophy final demolition of Plymouth. The win is their sixth knockout final success in the last six seasons and secures a silverware treble (Trophy, league and play-offs) for the season.
"You've got to give them a lot of credit for the way they've played in this game and, equally, throughout the season," said Newcastle coach Fab Flournoy.
"We never got into the game from the get-go. Whether that's because we didn't do things right or they forced us into it, we just didn't do better - we could have played a better game."
Leicester coach Rob Paternostro added: "I think today really typified what we were about. Defensively we were very locked-in from start to finish - to hold them in the 20s in the first half was very special."
Sevenoaks spring a surprise in the WBBL
The Sevenoaks Suns beat Nottingham Wildcats 70-61 in the Women's British Basketball League play-off final.
Nottingham had the better of the first quarter, but had a disastrous third quarter in which they only scored two points as Sevenoaks took control.
The Suns' Catherine Carr was named most valuable player for her match-winning 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Gabriele Nikitinaite added 15 points.
WBBL player of the year Ashley Harris scored 16 points for the Wildcats.
Nottingham led by 12 points at the start of the second quarter but allowed Carr, Clark and Nikitinaite to rediscover their shooting touch, bringing them back into the game to trail just 42-36 at half-time.
That lead was gone 126 seconds later and Nottingham, seeking to avoid a third successive play-off final defeat, had only a pair of Harris free throws in the whole of the third quarter.
Worse was to come for the Wildcats when playmaker Siobhan Prior went down with a calf injury two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Sevenoaks strode to victory with an 11-0 run, inspired by Carr and Ann Pedersen, to take their second trophy of the season and leave Nottingham still without a play-offs win in three trips to the post-season final.
Carr said her most valuable player award "feels great", but added that she was sharing it with her fellow Suns.
"There's five of us out there on court and we're all together in this - that's why I play basketball," she said. "I think we executed to a tee in the second half.
"We may not have started off well, but everyone knows we're like that."