Klassen points Leeds towards play-off tie with Leicester

Matt Newby
Matt Newby
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Leeds Force claimed the final spot in the BBL play-offs yesterday on the final day of the 2015-16 regular season.

Matt Newby’s side held their nerve late on to defeat Surrey Scorchers 82-78 on the road with Marek Klassen leading the way with 19 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.

The home side tied the game inside the final minute, but Klassen stepped up with the game-winner before Kwan Waller iced a historic win from the free throw line for their fourth consecutive success.

Klassen was instrumental for Leeds, including seven rebounds, eight assists as well as five steals to help his side edge out Plymouth University Raiders for eighth. The trio of Waller, Zak Wells and Armand Anebo provided valuable support with 12 points apiece.

The reward for making the play-offs for Leeds is a first round clash against the league champions, Leicester Riders, having beaten them in their most recent encounter.

Scorchers were led by Mike Anderson’s 19 points as they closed the season with a 7-26 record.

Plymouth missed out on the play-offs despite their 84-76 victory against Sheffield Sharks.

Daryl Corletto top scored for his side with 25 points, while Cory Dixon flirted with a triple-double after putting up 18 points along with 12 rebounds and eight assists.

The visitors started with an 8-2 run, but after Plymouth settled, the Sharks would only have a narrow two-point lead at the end of the first.

The Sharks moved ahead by seven in the second when the returning Jerrold Brooks netted a triple.

The lead continued to change hands until a pair of free throws from Mike Tuck – who finished with 19 points and 16 boards – made the score 76-73 in favour of the Sharks with 90 seconds remaining.

However, the Raiders stormed to victory with Adrien Sturt netting back-to-back baskets to edge his side ahead before they scored the final seven points from the foul line to seal the win.

While the Raiders miss out on the post-season, Sheffield advance as the third seeds having amassed a 20-13 record in the regular season. The Sharks face London Lions in the quarter-finals of the play-offs.

The league’s top two sides both fell to defeats as Leicester Riders went down 73-62 to London Lions in the capital, while Esh Group Eagles Newcastle suffered a 105-84 loss away at Cheshire Phoenix with Kinu Rochford pouring in 40 points.

Glasgow Rocks defeated Worcester Wolves 80-69.