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James Questions Latest Defeats

Worcester Wolves Basketball Club

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2015 10:07am
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Worcester Wolves fought valiantly before becoming Newcastle Eagles’ latest victim as the North East outfit stacked up their eleventh victory, 95-88, in their unbeaten start to this season’s British Basketball League.

Although there were several spells where it looked like Newcastle may pull away from their visitors, they were hauled back on each occasion, with Worcester trailing by just three points as the contest entered its final minute.

The night saw another outstanding contribution from Wolves’ centre Perris Blackwell who accumulated 31 points, in addition to grabbing ten rebounds as he dueled with his opposite number and Eagles’ top-scorer with 20 points, Darius Defoe.

Ben Eaves and Javier Mugica both sank three-pointers in a bright first quarter that ended tied at 24-24. Ominously, Newcastle’s ageless forward Charles Smith took to the court towards the close of the period to open his scoring account.

Sure enough Smith was soon on target from distance to edge some daylight between the teams as the second period began. One-time Worcester man Stuart Thomson made a shot and a bonus free-throw to move the score to 34-28. When Thomson dunked the ball home, from a Smith assist, the advantage had widened to 42-32. However, Mugica reached his hat-trick of triples to help drag the deficit back to 49-46 by half-time. 

There was more back-and-forth after the interval as Defoe and Blackwell took turns to score inside. Wolves’ guards Jay Couisnard and Josh Cameron got their first successes from the field during a third quarter that remained poised at 71-68 in favour of the hosts.

Four points from Smith pushed Eagles out to 77-70, before Cameron responded with a similar tally. At 89-83, and just a minute and a half remaining, Coach Paul James called a time-out. From the re-start Couisnard nailed a three to briefly give hope to his side but in the last seconds of the contest Newcastle displayed the composure which has earnt them their impeccable record this year.

The evening’s scoresheet showed twin 13-point inputs from Mugica and from Ashton Khan, with Couisnard chipping in with eleven points. Chief-support for Defoe was Smith on 19 points. 

Wolves will look to get back to winning ways this Sunday afternoon, (tip-off 3pm), when they host Plymouth Raiders at the University of Worcester Arena.


 

Worcester Wolves 91-101 Plymouth Raiders

 

One week after surrendering their proud 15-match unbeaten home record to Cheshire Phoenix, Worcester Wolves have now tasted their second defeat of the season at the University of Worcester Arena after they faltered against Plymouth Raiders on Sunday. 

The afternoon saw Wolves trailing 40-51 by half-time, falling more than 20 points behind in the third quarter, before mounting a too-little too-late comeback to close the afternoon at 91-101. 

Wolves were subjected to a hail of three-pointers, with their visitors tallying an impressive thirteen successes, while they could themselves muster just a solitary triple on target out of an increasingly-desperate 20 attempts. Perris Blackwell once more headed the Wolves’ scorers with 23 points, followed by Pavol Losonsky on 20 points. Player-coach Daryl Corletto led the way for Plymouth with 24 points, supported by five of his squad also in double-digits. 

Much-travelled forward Adrien Sturt was the first man to convert from the outside with Corletto following soon after. Worcester’s Ben Eaves looked dangerous early on with a couple of baskets, but saw the rest of his contribution hampered by foul trouble.  

As the opening quarter wound down Corletto was left unguarded to convert from the left corner and on the next play was given similar space to convert from the opposite corner, finalising an 18-28 deficit. In the next period home supporters were left exasperated when Corletto again found his favourite spot on the court to maintain Raiders’ margin of advantage. 

The match slipped further out of control in the second half. The hard work of Blackwell and Losonsky close to the basket was overshadowed by Plymouth’s bombardment from long-range during a 16-2 run in the third quarter.  

Worcester’s resistance stiffened in the final period as they ground their way back to 82-89 with three minutes remaining. However, the next minute or so saw a series of errant passes and ill-advised shot attempts from the hosts, while Raiders’ Dante Williams coolly set his feet to sink consecutive triples and put the game firmly out of Wolves’ reach. 

Coach Paul James admitted afterwards that he was seeking answers for the defeat, saying: “The performance was just not there. We’ve got a lot to figure out. We need to find a combination of players who are all going to come out to play hard, and play hard for the full forty minutes.” 

Wolves return to the University of Worcester Arena this Friday, welcoming Leeds Force to the city (tip off 7.30pm). The next day they travel to meet Bristol Flyers.

 

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