On Sunday the Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters clinched the number one spot in the England Basketball League after their victory over the Loughborough Riders. The Hatters defeated the Riders 92-82 but it was a hard fought road to secure the win.
At the end of the first half the Hatters and the Riders were tied 44 all. With both teams coming off of wins the night before, it appeared to be any team’s game to take. There were eleven lead changes throughout the ball game.
The Hatters struggled to pull away from the Riders during the game, and towards the end of the third quarter they found themselves losing to Loughborough. A much needed surge of spectacular play came from American Kisha Lee at the end of the third to put the Hatters ahead by four. Kisha Lee had the last nine points of the quarter as well as a huge, timely three pointer that cause the game to be tied at 62 all.
The team fed off of Lee’s momentum in the fourth quarter. The energy level from the team increased dramatically. With crucial defensive stops and rebounds, paired with well-timed baskets the Hatters secured the victory and the top spot in the league.
It was a hard fought game and the Riders had four key players for the night. Maaja Bratka was the leading scorer and finished the night with 21 points and 9 rebounds, just one rebound away from a double-double. Jordan Elliott-King was next with 12 points, Mackenzie Westcott had 11 points, and Gillian Baird added 10 points.
Although she wasn’t the leading scorer for the Hatters, Kisha Lee had a crucial performance that led the team to victory. She recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Stephanie Gandy was among the top scorers and there is no surprise there. Gandy also finished with a double-double on the night with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Helen Naylor was the leading scorer for the night with 28 points.
The Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters are meant to travel away this weekend and face the Cardiff Archers, the only team that the Hatters have lost to this season. However, the Archers have requested a reschedule. It is still unknown if the game has in fact been change, so the Hatters will just practice hard and prepare for either outcome.