The title race is all but over after Plymouth fell to an 86-81 defeat away to Guildford. The battle for second is their next concern after Leicester picked up a vital 83-70 win on the road at play-off hopefuls, Mersey.
It was the trio of Drew Lasker (24 points), Tayo Ogedengbe (23 points) and Martelle McLemore (20 points) who did the damage for Guildford as they snapped their opponents nine-game win streak
The home side gained the early advantage with an 8-2 burst but it was the visiting Raiders who edged ahead after ten minutes, 19-21. Plymouth stormed further clear in the second with a 14-1 start as Paul Williams contributed six points. The gap remained at 15 points by half time where the visitors now lead 30-45.
When play resumed for the second half, James Jones netted a three to see the lead peak at 18 points. And with just over five minutes to go in the third Plymouth were still in control; leading 40-55 before Guildford launched a pivotal revival. The home side compiled a 17-2 run to level the game with Mike Martin and Ogedengbe making six points each. Plymouth did manage to regain the lead; taking a slender 59-61 advantage into the final quarter.
Gavin Love’s side were in front for the majority of the fourth but were contained by Guildford, who made their move when it mattered most. Ogedengbe followed up a three point play with two more points to give Heat the lead with just over a minute left.
There was just one point separating the teams heading into the final minute but four points from ex-Plymouth star, Lasker sealed the win for the home side to move closer to securing a well earned play-off spot.
In the day’s other game, Leicester kept themselves in the mix for second place, after effectively ending Mersey’s play-off challenge, with a hard fought win at the Knowsley Culture & Leisure Centre. The home side contained the Riders in the first half and went into the interval all-square at 39.
The visitors edged ahead at the end of the third to take a two point advantage into the final quarter before showing their class and pulling away from the Tigers.
On Saturday, Worcester Wolves bounced back from their agonising defeat to Newcastle with an 85-77 home win over Guildford. The teams went into the half time interval level at 44 but the home side broke clear in the third and held on for the victory. Richie Gordon led the way with a game high 22 points for the Wolves.
The race for second heats up this coming week as the trio of Worcester (21-7), Plymouth (20-6) and Leicester (19-7) all play each other while Newcastle (23-3) will be crowned champions if Plymouth fail to beat Leicester on Wednesday.