Scorchers Open 2022 with first BBL Championship victory

BBL Championship
Surrey Scorchers 78-77 London Lions (20-21, 41-36, 65-61)

(Scorchers – Raftopoulos 20, Ogedengbe 19, Hamrick 13; Lions – Cugini 23, Voisin 18, D. Williams 16)

The Surrey Scorchers opened 2022 in spectacular fashion, securing their first BBL Championship win of the campaign by beating the London Lions 78-77 in a shootout outside a sold-out Surrey Sports Park. It sees them improve to a remarkable 11-1 record in their usual New Year’s Day home game.

The Scorchers entered this one on a seven-game losing streak, winless since late October and three previous losses to the Lions. But there was no sign of that as they were leading by double digits early on when Caylin Raftopoulos scored eight points in an 18-8 start; and despite a Lions fight back and six lead changes, they restored that margin just before half-time as they held the visitors scoreless for four minutes and hit a 14-2 push for a 41 lead -31 in a run started by a Jules Dang Akodo beat the triple buzzer and finished with another from Raftopoulos.

The hosts held on to their lead throughout the third period as Raftopoulos connected on a trio of corner threes from the same spot, and took it in the fourth when Martelle McLemore went from coast to coast the other to sensationally beat the buzzer.

But the game went to the wire as the Lions struck eight in a row to open the decisive period, Cugini scoring five of his 23 points to take the lead at 69-67 on his fifth triple.

In a frantic finish, there were then six late lead changes as BBL veterans Tayo Ogedengbe and Andre Lockhart traded baskets twice, and it was Ogedengbe who followed up a huge dunk with another score in the last minute to seal it as the Lions failed to score with six seconds left. remaining following a hitch on the ground.

Ogedengbe took over and finished with 19 points, trailing only Raftopoulos’ 20 on a 6-8 (75%) three-point shot. Dang Akodo, against his former club, came close to a triple-double with 12 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.

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