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Mixed Results For Wolves

Worcester Wolves Basketball Club

Last Updated: Apr 11, 2016 08:22pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Bristol Flyers 77-82 Worcester Wolves

 

Worcester Wolves will enter next weekend’s final round of the British Basketball League’s regular season locked into a battle with Sheffield Sharks over third place in the table.

A gritty 82-77 triumph at Bristol Flyers on Saturday leaves Wolves with a 19-12 win-loss record while Sharks currently sit a place beneath them on an 18-12 record.

Worcester lost out at London Lions on Friday after wilting under a hail of three-pointers. They were subjected to a similar onslaught in the first half of their visit to Bristol, before at last drawing a line in the sand and regaining the initiative.

After just a couple of minutes in the West Country, Wolves already trailed 2-10 following two triples from Doug Williams. Jordan Aaron responded with what would be Wolves’ solitary long-range success in the first half, before Williams again connected.

Disraeli Lufadeju injected fire into the evening to drag the arrears back to 22-23 as the second quarter began, but the deficit would once more widen out to 32-43 when Flyers floated in their seventh three-pointer.

The last five pre-interval points went to the visitors, as did the first points of the second half when Aaron jabbed the ball out of the hands of a Bristol attacker and raced down court to make it 39-43.

A large contingent of travelling fans whooped in delight when Javier Mugica directed a behind-the-back pass for Perris Blackwell to slam home while Flyers defenders stood transfixed. By midway through the third period Wolves had drawn level at 53-53.

On the next play Mugica somehow directed an outrageous shot through the basket despite falling backwards to the floor, giving his side a lead that they would not relinquish. 

Worcester were ahead 63-58 entering the final quarter and continued to push forwards. Pavol Losonsky and Blackwell asserted inside control while Orlan Jackman and Jay Couisnard tormented Bristol into a series of turnovers. 

With a minute and a half remaining Wolves led 74-65, having limited their hosts to just a single further three-pointer. A late flurry gave respectability to Bristol’s side of the scoreboard, but not enough to claw back the lead.

In a balanced spread of scorers, Blackwell and Losonsky each tallied 16 points, backed up closely by 15 points apiece for Couisnard and Aaron.  

Coach Paul James praised his players’ defensive intensity after a slow start, saying: “Early on we still seemed shell-shocked from what happened in London. But we made a stand – five, six, seven stops in a row – our defence won the game for us.

“This was a win we desperately needed and a win we desperately wanted.”

The first round of the playoffs will begin in a fortnight’s time. Before then, Wolves round out their fixtures by entertaining Cheshire Phoenix at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday 15 April (tip off 7.30pm), followed by a trip to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday. 

“We want to finish the season the right way by taking care of Cheshire and making sure we profit from the long trip up to Glasgow. Then it’s on to the playoffs,” added James.


London Lions 101-89 Worcester Wolves

 

Worcester Wolves had no answer to a bombardment of three-point shots on Friday as they dropped to an 89-101 defeat at London Lions.

London sunk a highly-impressive 17 long-range bombs from 31 attempts while, for their own part, Wolves could make a mere five of their 21 attempts, a success-rate less than half that of their hosts. On an individual basis, former-Worcester man Kai Williams reveled in nailing a quintet of triples amongst his team-leading 20 points.

Up until the final ten minutes of the evening, Wolves stayed firmly in contention, before eventually capitulating to Lions’ outside explosion.

As the match began there was little sign of what was to come. By six minutes into the contest Wolves were in front at 17-13 once Jordan Aaron had grabbed his second basket and once Williams was off-target for the third time.

As the opening quarter wound down London’s Joe Ikhinmwin suddenly sprang to life with a trio of three-pointers, helping his side to a 29-27 lead.

It would take until three minutes into the second period before Williams debuted on the scoresheet. At midway through the period the teams were tied up at 38-38. Persistence close to the hoop from Wolves’ centre Perris Blackwell helped maintain an even 52-52 half-time scoreboard.

After the interval both sides’ offenses migrated outwards. Worcester’s guard combo of Jay Couisnard and Aaron hit from afar, while Williams and Ikhinmwin did likewise for London.

A Javier Mugica bucket edged Wolves 76-75 at the start of the final quarter, but this was to be their last advantage. Williams and recent signing Olu Babalola took it in turn to sink threes with ease, while delighting in seeing their visitors repeatedly fall short in their own attempts. 

Blackwell led the scoring with 23 points, 16 of that total coming before half-time. Couisnard was next-highest scorer with 15 points.

Despite the loss, Coach Paul James was still upbeat about his team’s performance, saying: “We came up against a London side that simply shot the lights out. We challenged their shots, we had hands in their faces. I can’t fault the efforts of my players.” 

Wolves will now need to quickly bounce back for a trip on Saturday to Bristol Flyers. “I’m still optimistic - we didn’t play badly today. One or two of London’s players got hot from the outside, and suddenly they were all at it. Any side would have found tonight difficult,” added James.

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