The Plymouth City Patriots hit the road once again last weekend, and despite two solid displays, came up short.
It would be a torrid weekend for the Patriots, as they faced the daunting task of two away games with less than twenty hours between them. Leicester was the first destination, to face the on form Riders, a team that the Patriots have yet to win against in their short existence. The game was a close affair, with both teams scoring freely and running some impressive plays, including an impressive alley-oop dunk whe Elvisi Dusha fed a pass to Jacob Wiley for an impressive highlight play. With one quarter to go, the Riders held a slender 5-point lead, but with quality in depth, the Riders managed to connect on big plays down the stretch and pull away for a 102-81.
The turnaround would pay dividends to the Plymouth side's success. Mason Faulkner went down early on with a worrying looking injury, and didn’t return to the game. They would go on to lose to the Scorchers with less than a day's rest, by two points, 94-92. Despite being underdogs in both games, the Patriots fought valiantly and pushed their opponents, but it was one step too far.
“It’s been a tough couple of days,” started head coach Paul James after an exhausting weekend for him and his players. He continued, “I can’t fault the effort, we certainly put ourselves in a great position to get something from both games. Against the Riders, they hit four big three pointers in the fourth quarter at key times, and we could match them. Tonight, we fought hard against Surrey, but were running out of steam. We did well to push them as hard as we did and I credit my guys for that.”
Indeed it has been a tough season for the Patriots, with injuries and scheduling alike. There is, however, most certainly a shining light for them and their loyal fans, and even though the playoffs are becoming more out of reach with every passing week the discovery of TJ Atwood has been a revelation. Atwood is statistically the best player in the BBL (British Basketball League), sporting a league topping 469 efficiency points, at a league high average of 19.5 per game. He also features in the top ten for nine of the sixteen “league leader” stats, topping the charts for minutes played, two points made and field goals made. Over the weekend he led the Patriots with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists against the Riders and managed 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists against the Scorchers, impressing in both games with his high basketball IQ, great court vision and tireless work ethic.
After six games on the road and some tough back to backs, the Patriots finally head home for next weekend, and have two games at Pavilions. Friday night they take on the Newcastle Eagles, in a rescheduled game from the festive period, followed by the third meeting with the Riders, when they head to Plymouth Sunday afternoon.
You can book tickets for Patriots next home game here.