Leeds Force 91-92 Worcester Wolves

Last Updated: Mar 6, 2016 02:54pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Late heroics from newly-signed playmaker Jordan Aaron helped Worcester Wolves prevail by a single point in an overtime thriller at Leeds Force on Friday.

With a minute and a half remaining in regulation time, Wolves trailed 76-81. Orlan Jackman wove the ball to Aaron as he took up position on the edge of the arc to calmly sink a three-pointer.

Leeds were unable to contain Aaron on his next possession, leading to two made foul shots and the match tied at 81-81. The hosts went back in front before Aaron again drove to the basket to force five minutes of added time.

There was more back-and-forth in the extra period until Worcester finally edged a 92-91 success, pushing them into second place in the British Basketball League, sandwiched between Newcastle Eagles and Leicester Riders.

Coach Paul James was relieved to get the victory, saying: “It was an up and down performance and a bit crazy at the end, but I’m really pleased that we came away with the win.”

James applauded a sparkling 23-point debut from Aaron, saying: “He only arrived here on Wednesday and is still getting used to the team, but had an excellent game. He controlled the ball well down the stretch. That’s what we brought him in to do.”

Pavol Losonsky was the next-highest Wolves scorer with 22 points, with Jay Couisnard and Javier Mugica contributing 17 and 15 points respectively.

Mugica tallied Worcester’s first seven points before Aaron opened his account with a triple for an early 10-4 lead. 

Ahead 21-16 as the second quarter began, Losonsky and Mugica settled into what would be a night-long battle for space against Leeds big men Zak Wells and Robert Marsden. A trio of buckets for Losonsky was tempered by Force fighting back to an even 39-39 half-time scoreboard.

Seven-footer Wells took the first score after the interval before Losonsky replied. It was still all square at 61-61 with one second to go in the third quarter when Leeds forward Louis Sayers launched a highly-optimistic shot from inside his own half which flew through the hoop, bringing home supporters to their feet.

The Force advantage maximised at 79-72 with three minutes to go, before Aaron’s intervention forced overtime. 

Jackman inked the scoresheet for the first time when the extra period commenced. When Wolves led 92-87 inside the last minute it looked as if the contest had finally been decided.

However, point guard Mark Klassen managed to sink a triple and a bonus free throw. With 14 seconds remaining, and now only behind 92-91, Klassen dribbled down court, running the clock down in the hope of a decisive go-ahead play. But an off-the-ball offensive foul by Leeds forward Armand Anebo on Mugica turned over control to Wolves.

Delighted with the win, Aaron attributed his own performance to his teammates, declaring: “It was a well-fought game. Sure, there was tension at the end but we held our composure. This was about the team doing what it had to do to get the win. I felt good because everyone on the team has gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable here.”

Wolves will be on the road again next Friday, at Newcastle Eagles, before returning to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday 18 March to welcome Plymouth Raiders to the city.

Looking ahead to those two games, James stated: “These matches will be a challenge but we’ll prepare well for them. We’ll now have a full week to bed Jordan into the way we do things and it’s going to be exciting for all our fans to see him and everyone else back in Worcester.”


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