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13 July 2014
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Sport Features

Plymouth Raiders
Plymouth Raiders

Raiders on the trophy hunt

After just three years in the BBL the Raiders have won a place in the prestigious BBL Trophy Final to take place in March.

A crushing 83-64 win for the Kularoos Plymouth Raiders over Leicester Riders has booked the team's place in the final of the BBL Trophy.

The Raiders outscored their opponents in every quarter and for coach Gary Stronach the team finally showed their true colours after three losses.

"We played tremendously, the way we know we can play," he said.

"We've had our snipers in the last couple weeks about the way we were playing and we answered the call this week, we came out totally focused and had a great game."

Shooting Guard Drew Lasker agreed with his coach that the team had to put a performance in for the fans and that spurred him on.

Andrew Lasker
Andrew Lasker

"Tonight was the biggest game of my pro career and it's hard to explain how I feel right now - but I feel great," the second-year American told the BBL Official Website.

"I came out tonight on a mission. We've taken a lot of criticism, but we came together and played hard for our fans, because lately we haven't.

"Tonight we gave them their money's worth."

Despite a swathe of honours as a Division 1 team this is the first time the Raiders have had a chance at a BBL award, their furthest achievement so far being a quarter final appearance in the BBL Cup in 2004.

"We've moved on since Division 1 days, this is the BBL," said Stronach.

"This is the premier league, so this is one of our best accomplishments for the franchise. It's not about 'let's go to the final and enjoy ourselves', it's 'lets get a gameplan'."

It's been a long slog for the Raiders who are unbeaten in the competition this year having beaten Guildford, Worthing and Reading in the regional group stage for a 3-0 record.

Gary Stronach
Stronach passes on team instructions

Now they will hope they can last one more match as they face off against the Newcastle Eagles, also unbeaten and coming off a clean sweep of League, Playoffs, Cup and Trophy in 2005/2006.

The Eagles will also have the massive advantage of the game being scheduled to play in Newcastle before the finalists were known.

"Metro arena in front of all those Geordies, we'll be on the back foot there because it'll be 6,000 and most will be Geordies," said Stronach.

It'll be a homecoming of sorts for the Raiders coach who was born in Newcastle but he is quick to assure fans he has no split loyalties.

"I'm not a Geordie in basketball, I'm part of Plymouth, this is my city," he said.

"I've been here long enough, 22 years, to think I'm a Plymothian and I'm going all out for victory. I don't care -  home town or not, they're nothing to me in basketball.

last updated: 12/02/07
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