British Basketball League: Leicester Riders retain BBL Championship title

British Basketball League: Leicester Riders retain BBL Championship title

The Riders needed just one more win heading into their clash with the Patriots, and thanks to another stellar performance from reigning MVP Geno Crandall, who posted a near triple-double with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, Leicester were finally able to capture their sixth league title with four games to spare.

The Patriots initially took a 15-8 lead off the backs of February's Player of the Month, Antonio Williams, and Rowell Graham-Bell, but then the Riders began to mount their comeback, running out ahead with an 11-0 run to put the hopeful champions back in front.

The second period saw the Leicester Riders continue to capitalise with back-to-back threes connecting and by the time the half-time buzzer sounded, they found themselves with a 12-point lead.

It was just four minutes into the third quarter when the Riders, eager to finally capture their 17th BBL title in the club's history, extended their lead to 20 and cemented themselves as the back-to-back champions.

Riders coach Rob Paternostro, who has now guided the club to 16 BBL titles since taking the reins in 2008, was full of praise for his side.

He said: "It feels amazing to win the title with such a talented, hard-working, tough group - it is special. From the moment we walked on the practice floor this year, we felt like we had something special, and the guys came through.

"It's very difficult to win the league title, people who have won it understand that, and these guys won it with time to spare. So I'm super proud of the guys and super excited for the club.

"No matter how many titles you get it's always a great feeling, I think the league title is special though. You can't get lucky. It's about playing with the full league season and coming out on top, so it's a different feeling when you win the league, it definitely means more to me.

"I'm really looking forward to coming home to the fans to celebrate."

Riders will now return home on Friday as champions where they will meet Manchester Giants, live on Sky Sports, and celebrate adding another piece of silverware to their trophy cabinet.

You can catch all the action on Friday at 7pm live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Youtube.

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