Via British Basketball League

Leicester Riders fell to Caledonia Gladiators in runaway British Basketball League Championship victory.

Clifton Moore Jr. played a starring role for Caledonia, securing an impressive double-double to help his team remain in control for the majority of the contest.

Missing Player of the Month Teddy Allen, the Riders struggled to keep the pace, as the Gladiators pulled away completely in the 4th quarter.

Starting Fives

Leicester Riders: Kimbal Mackenzie, Miryne Thomas, Blake Bowman, TJ Lall, Duke Shelton

Caledonia Gladiators: Quade Green, Princeton Onwas, Patrick Whelan, Clifton Moore Jr., Lukas Palyza

First Half:

Fans anticipated an exciting affair at the Mattioli Arena, with the Riders hoping to gain ground on their opponents in 3rd place and Caledonia conversely aiming to push further ahead of the hosts and closer to guaranteed homecourt advantage. Well, the Leicester faithful surely got their fair share of excitement in the opening period.

Both teams were quick out of the blocks, scoring in the opening minute. They exchanged buckets for a string of possessions, before Caledonia pulled away through dynamic offence led by centre Clifton Moore Jr. Kyle Johnson came off the bench to add extra artillery to an already firing Gladiators team, who stretch their lead up to nine in the early stages.

In the absence of All-Star MVP Teddy Allen and fellow star guard Jaren Holmes, Leicester’s starting five shared the offensive load to keep within reaching distance of the Gladiators, but the visitors showed no signs of stopping. After a high-scoring first quarter, Rob Paternostro’s side were down by seven.

Things were looking rough for the Riders, when Johnson nailed a pair of jumpers to push the Gladiators lead beyond double-digits. Leicester proved worthy contenders however, as they scored by committee to go on a run for the final minutes of the half. Captain Kimbal Mackenzie and Miryne Thomas splashed home shots to spark a potential comeback, while Duke Shelton plugged away inside for the home team.

At half-time Caledonia were still ahead, but only by eight.

Second Half:

Both teams traded blows after the restart, as Moore Jr. and Mackenzie continued to keep their teams ticking.

In desperate need of a swing in momentum, Leicester called upon Samuel Idowu, who muscled his way to a string of baskets that drew them closer. The Glads had an answer every time however, as Quade Green affected the game in a multitude of ways.

Gareth Murrays side fully took the reins at in the opening minutes of the final quarter however. Moore Jr. continued to pour it in, dominating under the basket and creating his team’s largest lead of the night, at 19.

Riders suffered a major blow before the final period, as coach Paternostro was ejected from the game for a heated debate with the referees. Coach Vazquez took over on the sidelines for the duration, as Leicester slowly saw the game slip through their fingers.

The Riders continued to push the ball, but it was too little, too late. In the absence of Ian Dubose and Fahro Alihodzic, Caledonia had managed to outclass an equally depleted Leicester team, creating a gap between the two teams and tying for 2nd with the Cheshire Phoenix.

At the final buzzer, Caledonia had secured a 115-90 W.

Player of the Game:

Tonight’s Player of the Game was Clifton Moore. Jr, who scored 29 points by shooting at a clip of 92%, while also securing 10 rebounds and 2 steals.