Plymouth 98 Leeds Force 78: Elementary for Watson as Force come up short on south coast

Leeds Force continued their winless start to the new British Basketball League campaign, suffering a 98-78 defeat to the Plymouth Raiders.

Tavarion Nix

A scintillating 38-point showing from point guard Neil Watson demolished Force’s late lead and powered Plymouth to victory.

A whirlwind opening saw Plymouth race into an early advantage, capitalising on Force’s porous defensive play inside the opening three minutes.

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Despite Childress and Bankevics’ threes levelling proceedings for Force, momentum swung Raiders’ way, with a trio of long-range triples prying open a nine-point lead for Plymouth and forcing Leeds into a much-needed timeout.

Antonio Deogratias

With the game seemingly slipping away from Leeds again, an electrifying response saw new-signing Tavarion Nix’s spectacular three and a soaring tip-in from skipper Samuel Toluwase snap Raiders’ free-scoring spree.

With the game finely poised, a marvellous offensive flurry in the second period from both teams ignited a back-and-forth battle, Nix and Antonio Deogratias’ threes answered straight away by Raiders threat Watson as half-time loomed.

In need of an offensive spark in the second half, Nix stepped up with a stunning rebound and finish, before dropping a cold-blooded triple as Force snatched their first advantage of the game. Nix continued to rampage with a ferocious one-handed throw-down, dealing blow after blow to a stuttering Plymouth.

Nix’s spark invigorated Leeds, forcing Plymouth into a shot-clock violation whilst Bankevics registered consecutive threes as Force fired into a nine-point lead.

Samuel Toluwase

Leeds’ lofty lead quickly disintegrated, with 14 straight points from the untouchable Watson leaving a despairing Force stunned and three points down with one quarter remaining.

Buoyed by Watson’s third quarter explosion, Plymouth rallied behind a rejuvenated home crowd and ramped up their defensive pressure in the fourth. Watson continued to propel Raiders, as a tired Leeds began to feel the effects of two road games in 48 hours.

A sea of green shirts continuously shut out a waning Leeds, as Plymouth piled on the points and earned a first win of the year whilst a frustrated Force suffered defeat but with their heads held high.

Antonio Deogratias
Samuel Toluwase