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Britball.com Front
Leicester drink from fairytale Cup



 
 
 
 

Leicester Riders finally broke their 30 year duck in major competitions but it took a thrilling finish for them to secure the long-awaited silverware. 

Tied at 81-81 in the final minute of an enthralling NTL National Cup Final against Leopards, the Riders took a field goal from MVP Ralph Blalock and a free throw from city-native Karl Brown to secure an 84-82 victory at the end of a classic at Sheffield Arena.

"Cinderella no more, champions today," exclaimed a jubilant Billy Mims, who lived up to the promise he had made when he took over at Leicester 16 months ago, ironically after his sacking at Leopards.

In a match which ebbed and flowed from start to finish, Leicester started brightest, racking up 14 unanswered points in the first quarter to lead 24-11, the Southern Conference outfit taking an age to find their range.

However they soon came back and inspired by Rod Brown and Rashod Johnson, edged in front four minutes into the second period. 

Mims' men, unused to holding a lead of late, temporarily lost their spark as Leopards ran up a 1-10 burst before the interval, only Ralph Blalock's late three pointer reducing the gap to four at half-time.

With both Jason Kimbrough and Rico Alderson used sparingly due to foul trouble, Leopards had to be patience.

Donewald, whose father sat proudly at his side on the bench, visibly tried to curtail the nerves among his squad, several of whom remain from 2000's runners-up selection. But Leicester kept up the pressure, Larry Johnson ably running their game-plan against his old club, a 9-0 burst late in the third stanza putting the Midlands outfit ahead 67-62.

Kimbrough hit the final four of the quarter and when the largely anonymous Maurice Robinson fired in with 8:40 left it was even at 70-70.

Blalock inspired a 7-0 Leicester burst but to their credit, the Brentwood boys refused to give in, nine unanswered points putting them ahead 78-81.

But Larry Johnson popped up with a trey in the corner to level again and with Blalock - who had a game-best 26 points - and Karl Brown's late efforts, a single free throw from Rod Brown which took his team-high tally to 21 was not enough as the clock ran out, leaving Mims dancing his familiar jig of joy at centre court.
 
 

Quarter by Quarter
 
 
1
2
3
4
Final
Leo
24
21
21
16
82
Lei
28
13
26
17
84

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