The Lions have also made history in Europe this season becoming the first-ever UK side to qualify for the playoffs of the EuroCup – they begin April 12
The London Lions secured the British Basketball League (BBL) Championship after beating the Surrey Scorchers 88-75 on Friday. This marks the first time a team has won the championship with six games left to play and represents the Lions’ second piece of silverware this season, having already secured the BBL Cup in January. Their domestic attention now turns to the quarter-finals of the BBL Playoffs – taking place between 28-30 April – after their heart-breaking loss to Leicester Riders last season.
The Lions had to make significant changes to their roster for the game with key players such as Sam Dekker and Josh Sharma missing out, however the experience of Vojtěch Hruban and Tomislav Zubčić shone through with both players scoring 17 and 15 points respectively. A little help from the Leicester Riders who beat Bristol Flyers – the only team who could catch the Lions – meant that the championship was guaranteed on Friday. A notable player on the Lions’ roster, Luke Nelson, becomes one-half of the first-ever father and son league-winning duo after his father Steve previously won the championship.
The Lions have also made history in Europe this season becoming the first-ever UK side to qualify for the playoffs of the EuroCup, beginning on April 12. Head Coach Ryan Schmidt’s side will face Spanish giants Club Joventut Badalona in a game which will represent a landmark occasion, not only for the club, but for British basketball as a whole. The Lions boast a plethora of talent and have been led by Sam Dekker in the competition, as the former NBA-star boasts an impressive 18.9 average points this season. The Lions now have a chance to secure qualification to the EuroLeague – the most prestigious European basketball competition – if they reach the final of the EuroCup.
London Lions Head Coach, Ryan Schmidt said:
“Obviously we’re very excited, to be able to win a championship with this group is special. We won the BBL Cup back in January and to be able to do it again and clinch it in March is something special. I just told those guys in the locker room that championships are won by organisations, everyone contributes to this.
I think when you see what we’ve been able to do, both domestically and in Europe, it’s been a great season so far. Anytime you can cap it off with a championship, especially in March with six games left to go is pretty special. These are the moments to cherish and remember. “
The BBL’s Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Radin, said:
“The league would like to congratulate all the players, staff and fans at the London Lions on sealing the BBL Championship, they are worthy winners. They have provided the league with some thrilling games this season and I’m sure they will bring that same intensity to the play-offs when they get underway later this month.”
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