Leicester Riders' 89-83 victory over London Lions dedicated to tragic coach Kris Ledgard
Rob Paternostro dedicated his side's 89-83 victory over London Lions to Kris Ledgard, the club's coach who died suddenly last week.
Before the game, a capacity crowd at John Sandford Sports Centre, in Leicester, paid their respects with a minute's applause to the strength and conditioning coach, aged just 22.
All the players wore black ribbons on their shirts in his memory.
And it took a fantastic third quarter by the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders to ensure the night ended in victory after they struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the first half. It seems that every win these days comes with a new record for head coach Paternostro.
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Riders now have not been beaten at home since February and this success marked their 12th consecutive home win, their best stretch of all-time.
The Lions, though, made the better start to the game as Riders, aside from Jay Couisnard and John Fraley, looked inconsistent at the offensive end.
Orlan Jackman helped the visitors into an 18-9 lead in the first quarter and, though Couisnard's three-point shooting and Fraley's impressive work inside kept Riders in the hunt, they were never in the lead.
Nine consecutive points from Nuno Pedroso saw London's lead peak at 44-33 just before half-time, but after the break Riders were a completely different team.
Their defensive intensity upped a level and their offense finally started to click.
Within four minutes of the restart, they had posted 16 points and turned an eight-point deficit into a five-point lead.
Five quick points at the start of the final period by former Lion Connor Washington had Riders in total command at 74-63 and, with four minutes to play, they still held a double-figure lead.
London did attempt to rally in the dying seconds, but Zaire Taylor's foul shots ensured Riders never looked worried.
Couisnard, who had struggled with his three-point shooting in the first two games, showed he was very much at home at John Sandford, with five long-range makes in nine attempts to lead all scorers with 28 points.
Fraley again made it look effortless inside with another scintillating performance of 23 points and 14 rebounds.
On an emotional night for the club, it was a fitting finale that Riders maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
Riders 89: Couisnard 28, Fraley 23, Sullivan 10, Losonsky 8, Taylor 5, Washington 5, Anderson 4, Lamble 4, Calvo 2, Hopkins, Dawes, Haggith.
Lions 83: Jackman 18, Sturt 16, Pedroso 11, James 11, Ogedengbe 10, Spencer 8, Lawson 5, Martin 4, Lawman, Irish.