The game was a very tight one with both teams not willing to give an inch. Leeds Force put on an amazing performance for the home crowd who were relentless throughout the game as they well and truly raised the roof on the Carnegie Sports Arena. Spectacular performances came from the team as a whole but in particular the new addition Kwan Waller made a statement in his debut for the club as he scored 17 points and made life difficult for the opposition’s guards on offence and defence.
Noteworthy performances also came from joint top scorer for the Force, Louis Sayers with 17 points and Zak Wells who dominated down low scoring 13 points and 8 rebounds.
From the tip off the game was intense as both teams wanted to get one up on their long-time rival. Kwan Waller was the man to make the impact early on in the first quarter as he converted a four point play which got the crowd on their feet. The end to end basketball continued for the first quarter as it finished 14-18.
The second quarter started and remained tight with both teams getting small leads but. Big shots were made by Sayers and Camille from behind the arc as the home side were starting to find their rhythm. The quarter finished 33-35 and with 2 points in it the teams went to looked for a strategy to enable them to pull away from the opposition.
The third quarter got underway and Leeds came out strongly, Kwan Waller showed brilliant energy as he hustled the defence, leading to a steals and also delivered at the other end as Force took the lead. The quarter continued and Leeds Force were performing well as they gelled perfectly as a team on offence and defence. The opposition called a timeout to try and stifle the home team’s hot streak. Play resumed and around the 30 second mark Sayers made a 3 pointer. Force continued to apply the pressure pushing Bristol into a shot clock violation. With only 15 seconds left Leeds Force had the ball and who better than Kwan Waller to have it, in which he sunk a 2 point shot to finish the quarter 56-49
The Final quarter saw the guests chisel away at Force’s lead, the score stood at 68-68 with 1:30 to go. It was anyone’s game to take, and the winner came from Force’s Dwayne Camille’s, as he hit a 3 pointer with 41 seconds left on the clock. Flyers tried to take the game into overtime but a tenacious final defensive play from Leeds enabled them to hold out for the 71-68 win.
After the game Zak Wells said “We were all on the same page out their tonight and we knew what we had to do, we worked well as a team and it was simply unbelievable to get that win”
When asked about the game Louis Sayers said “It felt great to play out there and I feel like after tonight this rivalry is going to continue, but as well as we played I feel Bristol’s current record doesn’t reflect their ability so I can see some teams getting a surprise this year.”
Finally Head Coach Matt Newby said “It’s a historical rivalry and all the boys were up for it today, this was shown mainly in the second half where we were tenacious on defence, we communicated well and got more possession and it lead to a better performance tonight.”
He then went on to say “We went up a gear today and I think we surprised Bristol by showing great character and playing as a team”.
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