Team Solent Kestrels produced one of the most high profile ‘upsets’ in the recent history of the British Basketball League Trophy.

Kestrels convincingly defeated last season’s BBL League and Cup champions, the London Lions, on their home floor, to book a quarter final against National League Basketball League rivals, Worthing Thunder, writes Jack O’Keefe.

They were led by Travis Charles’ 26 point and 14 rebound double double, whilst Jonathan Lashley had 21 points off the bench and Ian Smith chipped in 15.

Lions were the better side early on, building an 8-5 advantage.

However Lashley and Charles soon put the visitors 15-8 up.

Jules Dang Akodo briefly responded for the Londoners but Kestrels’ inside duo that powered them to a 13-22 lead after the first quarter.

Luke Busumbru momentarily pushed the advantage into double figures for TSK, but Lions talisman Justin Robinson stroked a triple.

Kestrels however would continue with their trademark ball movement and continue to find a number of excellent scoring opportunities through Brendan Okoronkwo and again Charles.

Midway through the quarter, a 10-2 run for TSK capped off with an almost wide open lay-up for Ian Smith, meant the lead was now out to 13 [25-38].

Lions big man Brandon Peel stopped the rot for the hosts but after a Coach Macauley timeout Elliot Dadds piled on the pressure as he stroked a triple [27-41].

Despite a pair of trips to the foul line for the home side, Kestrels held a 12-point advantage at the break [33-45].

The third quarter was a period of two halves as the reigning BBL League Champions showed their mettle and set about trimming the deficit early on.

A 10-2 run for the Lions brought them to within four at 43-47, behind five Robinson points.

However Elliot Dadds answered with a timely three to settle the visitors down.

Robinson started to find his rhythm from beyond the arc as he knocked down another triple in transition, to cut the arrears to four yet again, but that would be as close as they got.

Former Lion Lashley got to the foul line to restore a six-point gap and that would kick start TSK again on the offensive end.

Ian Smith converted a pair of lay-ups to bring the Kestrels’ lead back to double digits and although Andre Lockhart scored four straight for the hosts, an 8-3 run to close the quarter capped off by a Chris Scarlett three from the car park on the buzzer, saw TSK restore their 12-point buffer.

Busumbru went coast to coast for the and-1 at the start of the fourth to put TSK 15 up.

The sides would trade scores over the opening possessions of the final quarter, which better suited the visitors.

Dang Akodo brought Lions back within 12 after he converted an and-1 of his own but Charles was on hand to responded on the ensuing possession for TSK before he further extended the gap to 16, forcing a timeout for the hosts with 5:11 remaining.

Kestrels pushed the deficit to 20 through Jonathan Lashley post TO, as he was huge for the visitors down the stretch. Only a late flurry of scores from London made the scoreline much closer, but Kestrels held on.

TSK Head Coach Matt Guymon said: “I’m so proud of our guys for this fantastic achievement, it means so much to our club. Our players sacrificed some of their Christmas break, travelling back early to ensure we could prepare for a game of this magnitude. I loved our effort and intensity at both ends of the floor with a real commitment to execute our plan.

“This was a team effort, but I want to give additional credit to Jon Lashley who had a huge impact against his old club.”

London Lions GB guard Justin Robinson had 19 points to lead the hosts, with Brandon Peel and Jordan Whelan chipping in 17 and 13 respectively.