Leeds Force were denied a historic first win in the BBL by an injury to their star forward and the ruthlessness of an experienced top-tier outfit last night.
The potential of the team and the sport in the city, however, was evident at the Sports Arena at Leeds Beckett University as Force succumbed 77-57 to Glasgow Rocks.
A crowd of 300 is one they need to swell as the team formed just eight years ago launch a two-pronged attack on being a sustainable BBL franchise.
But their mission statement on the court is to be competitive in their first season, and they certainly achieved that for the most part last night.
In the eight months since they played Glasgow Rocks in a one-off BBL Trophy match, Leeds have not only changed their name, the majority of their players and their status, but they have also closed the gap considerably on the court.
Back in January they lost 84-48 to the seasoned Rocks. Last night they led all the way until deep into the third quarter when Glasgow showed their experience.
The match swung on a game-ending knee injury to Patrick Nyeko, Force’s stylish guard/forward who scored 16 points.
Branimir Mikulic, one of just four survivors from the club’s National League days, was unerringly accurate with his three-point attempts while Zak Wells, a GB junior, had eight points.
But they could not prevent a fired-up Rocks storming to victory following Nyeko’s injury.
Elsewhere, Sheffield Sharks chalked up a comprehensive 79-55 victory over Plymouth University Raiders. BJ Holmes scored 17 points and Allen Payne, 16.