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Rock shock as trio advance



LONDON TOWERS 63 (21,33,48) (Arinze 19, Stewart 14, Williams 13)
SCOTTISH PHOENIX HONDA RECORD ROCKS 65 (23,33,49) (Henning 16, Cole 12, McIntosh 12)

The Scottish Phoenix Honda Record Rocks have made the BBL Championship Playoff Semi-Finals after upsetting London Towers, the 2003 winners stealing a 65-63 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday night.

Former Rocks hero Jerry Williams missed two free-throws which would have tied the game in the dying seconds, moments before Roni Gordon had missed two at the other end to leave the game in the balance with 8 seconds to go.

Prior to that tense finale the teams could barely be separated all game long, the largest lead was held by the Towers midway through the third at 48-42 but a triple from Donald Cole and pair of baskets from Adrian Henning comprised a 7-0 tear that put the Rocks infront. They lost that lead momentarily in the final quarter after a Rod Brown three made it 56-55 but Adrian Henning responded from beyond the arc and they didn't let the lead slip again.

Henning led the Rocks with 16 points, Donald Cole scored 12 with 11 rebounds and Lamont McIntosh made 12 points and 5 assists. It was Towers' Niki Arinze who led all scorers with 19 points.

WESTFIELD SHARKS SHEFFIELD 91 (30,60,78) (Yanders 26, McKinney 17, Davis 13)
BRIGHTON BEARS 56 (4,23,43) (Holley 18, Alleyne 11, Lepore 11)

Westfield Sharks Sheffield have made it to the final four of the Playoffs for the fifth consecutive year after comprehensively beating Brighton Bears 91-56 at Ponds Forge on Saturday night.

An astonishing first quarter saw the home side leading 30-4 courtesy of starting the game 8-0, including two Rob Yanders threes, and then posting a 22-0 run, split only by 4 Brighton points early in the stanza. The Bears couldn't get into the game before half-time, against a stern Sharks defence, and trailed 60-23 before fighting back in the third period. Steve Lepore scored 6 in a 12-4 burst that helped them win the third quarter 20-18 but there was no way back and they failed to get much closer.

Rob Yanders led the scoring with 26 points for the Sharks, nailing 6/10 from beyond the arc whilst Tony Holley led the Bears with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

SPRINGFIELD HONDA NEWCASTLE EAGLES 105 (31,58,78) (Walker 24, Smith 23, Bennett 20)
THAMES VALLEY TIGERS 72 (23,39,47) (James 23, Murray 21, Brown 10)

Springfield Honda Newcastle Eagles booked their place at the Finals Weekend, and showed their Playoff intentions, with a resounding 105-72 defeat of the Thames Valley Tigers at the MetroRadio Arena on Friday night.

The teams couldn't be separated for most of the first quarter until the Eagles closed it out with a 7-0 run, the last four of which came from TJ Walker, for a 31-23 quarter lead.  In all they went 18-4 accross the first quarter break for a 42-27 lead midway through the second which was 58-39 by half time.

The Eagles, missing Jeremy Hyatt, outscored their visitors by 20-8 in the third period for a
commanding 78-47 lead going into the final stanza and although Thames Valley made a go of it, they couldn't get much closer in what could yet be the club's final game.

TJ Walker led all scorers with 24 points and Frank Bennett posted 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Eagles.  Jo James shot 8/12 to lead the Tigers with 23 points.

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