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BBL: London City Royals 77 London Lions 73

PUBLISHED: 15:54 30 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 30 March 2019

London Lions in action against London City Royals at Crystal Palace (pic Graham Hodges)

London Lions in action against London City Royals at Crystal Palace (pic Graham Hodges)

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London City Royals came out with the win over league leading Lions in a thrilling derby encounter at Crystal Palace.

The hosts move to 14-10 with the teams behind them also picking up victories whilst the Lions still retain a three-game lead at the top of the BBL Championship.

The Lions made a hot start to lead 26-12 after 10 minutes on the back of excellent three-point shooting from Brandon Peel and Justin Robinson.

But the Royals hit back with a 12-0 start to the second and gradually clawed back the deficit with their zone defence which saw Lions scoreless for the first four minutes of that quarter.

However Joe Ikhinwin broke that run with a triple and the Lions got flowing again, with Robinson making a gorgeous assist to Ladarius Tabb under the basket to take a 38-32 lead into the half time break.

The third quarter was intense as both teams competed hard and Bryan-Amaning scored inside for Royals before Lamar Roberts did the same and drew two fouls on the Royals centre.

The Lions again weathered the storm and still led by three points, 59-56 going into the final quarter.

Royals forged ahead 68-63 with 5.30 left in the game before Robinson nailed a three-pointer to cut the deficit to two.

Neither team could find the net despite attempts and with four minutes left, Robinson took a knock to the knee and had to leave the game.

Out of the subsequent Lions’ time out, Peel tied the game on a drive, a stop by Bristol led to Peel being fouled and this time a Royals time out with three minutes left.

Peel nailed both free throws, although Lions missed eight from the charity stripe on the night (going 10 from 18), and baskets were exchanged before Tabb put the visitors 73-72 up with 1.40 left.

Tabb was fouled 40 seconds later, called unsportsmanlike on Will Neighbour, but missed both free throws and off the subsequent possession, Peel missed his attempt, which led to a Washpun score and a fifth foul on Bristol.

With 47 seconds left and a free throw to come, Washpun missed, but the Lions could not secure the rebound and off the possession Washpun again went to the line to put the Royals up.

Lions then turned the ball over on the last possession and the game was over.

Both sides were without key players and the Royals welcomed back Washpun for his return home with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists along with some huge scores in the final quarter and down the stretch.

The Lions now travel to Surrey Scorchers on Sunday to try and extend their gap at the top of the League.

Lions: Peel 22, Robinson 21, Tabb 14, Ikhinmwin 9, Guede 3, Roberts 2, Okoro 2, Bristol 0, Lockhart 0, Larkai 0, James 0, Ekperuoh.

Royals: Washpun 23, Bryan-Amaning 16, Neighbour 11.

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