LEICESTER Riders coach Rob Paternostro claims his side were disappointed in the way they lost Saturday’s BBL Trophy final against Sheffield Sharks and says the match shouldn’t have been settled on free throws.
With the two teams set to meet again tonight at the EIS (7.30pm) in the BBL Championship, Paternostro is sure to have his players fired up as the Riders look to extend their lead at the top of the table and gain revenge for their final defeat.
Paternostro admitted he was disappointed with the call which sent Sharks’ BJ Holmes to the free-throw line where he won the game.
He said: “Upon further review we are disappointed BJ Holmes went to the foul line with nine seconds left in a tied game. After the turnover I thought our guys made a great defensive play in order to get back and prevent Holmes from scoring. The foul was called on Jay Cousinard and after watching the play many times we just do not see the contact.
“It is very tough to give up the game winning points that way. I have always felt that at that stage of the game, in a game of this magnitude, you would like the game to be decided in open play and not on the foul line.
“We feel like we ran out of time, it was a game of runs and our run may have came a bit late, but when you get to a final and have the ball under 50 seconds to go in a tied game, you have to feel pretty good about your chances.”
Despite his disappointment Paternostro praised the Sharks for the way they approached the match.
Riders had previously beaten Sheffield four times this season - twice in the league and both legs of the BBL Cup semi-final, which Leicester went on to win.
He said: “We expected them to play well they have a lot of talent and we knew that they would be up for it, and play one of their better games.”
Meanwhile Sharks’ Andrew Bridge said Leicester will be looking forward to an instant re-match: “It’s not the most ideal thing in the work, they’ve been the most consistent team all season, they’re top of the league and have won the Cup. They’ll be foaming at the mouth, I’ve lost a few finals and when you’re in that situation, you’re gunning for revenge. We’ve got to play another perfect game to give ourselves a chance.”
* Follow The Star sports writer Richard Fidler on Twitter @richardfidler and Google+ follow Richard Fidler on Google+. For breaking news keep checking The Star website or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar or Twitter at www.twitter.com/sheffieldstar”