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Triumphant weekend for Wolves

Worcester Wolves weekend results

Last Updated: Oct 13, 2013 05:42pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Friday 11 October 2013

Worcester Wolves 94-90 Cheshire Phoenix

For the second night in a row Worcester Wolves fought tooth and nail to drag themselves back from a late deficit and eventually triumph after overtime.

On Thursday they won 63-62 at London Lions and on Friday they defeated a shell-shocked Cheshire Phoenix 94-90, after a titanic battle.

Another big crowd was on hand at the University of Worcester Arena to witness the Wolves maintain their unbeaten start to the season and now go clear at the top of the British Basketball League. After playing free-flowing basketball early in the encounter, Wolves’ exertions of the night before seemed to take their toll as the offence thereafter dried up. In the dying seconds of the game, a steal and two crucial free throws from Zaire Taylor thrillingly took the evening into an extra period.

Ex-Worcester forward Kai Williams marked his return to the city by opening the scoring, but responses from Stefan Djukic, Alex Owumi and then Kai’s elder brother, Jamal, put Wolves in front at 7-2.

A prolonged exchange of three-pointers was the feature of the initial quarter. Cheshire shooting guard Dominique Coleman hit a trio of long-range scores, but this feat was matched by Wolves’ Williams, helping his side to a 31-23 lead after ten minutes.

The first warnings of a tight contest came when Phoenix took three baskets at the beginning of the second quarter. Although the hosts re-established a cushion at 42-31 with three minutes of the first-half to go, Coleman once more stepped to the fore from long distance, taking Phoenix into the interval trailing by just 47-43, having drained an impressive five of his six three-point shot attempts.

After the break, Kai Williams again took the honour of beginning the scoring, and then made two free throws after being fouled by his sibling, levelling the match at 47-47. The Cheshire assault continued, with Owumi and centre Will Creekmore being the only Wolves players able to score from the field during a 26-14 tear for the visitors.

A 61-69 deficit only worsened as the fourth quarter went on. At six minutes remaining, Djukic was whistled for a technical foul after a tussle with Phoenix veteran Shawn Myers, and left Wolves staring up at their largest arrears of the evening at 65-77.

Over the next couple of minutes a double of close-range baskets from Creekmore, and one from outside the arc by Taylor finally re-ignited Worcester’s offence, forcing a Cheshire time out. At a minute remaining and his side still behind 77-81, it was the turn of Wolves’ coach Paul James to call for a break in play.

From the re-start Taylor floated in another triple, rousing the home supporters to their feet. With just ten seconds to go, and with the hosts behind at 80-82, the University Arena was awash with noise after seeing Taylor gleefully pounce on a wayward Cheshire pass. As he sprinted towards the hoop and rose upwards he was cruelly hacked to the floor by Phoenix’s French forward Masse Doumbe.

Inspired by a huge wave of “Taylor, Taylor” chants, the Worcester favourite regained his feet to coolly sink both of the resultant foul shots and send the contest into an extra five minutes.

As the overtime period progressed a deflated Phoenix were unable to cope with a resurgent home side. Taylor and Creekmore tallied twelve further points on the way to the 94-90 comeback victory.

Paul James was thrilled but exhausted after seeing his team pull off the second of a double of plucky fight-backs, saying: “Two nights and two overtime wins. We never stopped believing. We found a way to come back in the fourth quarter and after that there was only going to be one winner. I’m so proud of these players.”

Taylor and Owumi had big-scoring nights with 27 and 23 points respectively, but the most dominant performance of the game came from Creekmore who nailed 28 points and grabbed a monstrous 22 rebounds.

Next Friday the Wolves will take on Manchester Giants in the first round of the BBL Cup at the University of Worcester Arena, before making the short hop over to Birmingham Knights on the following Sunday afternoon. 

 

Thursday 11 October 2013

London Lions 62-63 Worcester Wolves

Worcester Wolves continued their unbeaten start to the new BBL season when pulling off a thrilling overtime victory at London Lions on Thursday.

Holding a ten-point lead by half-time, it looked as if the Wolves were comfortably on their way to their third win in a row. However, a dearth of second-half scoring left them struggling to stay in the contest. As regulation time wound down, a ball-steal from Kalil Irving allowed his forward partner Stefan Djukic to level the scores and take the evening into an extra five minutes, where Wolves eventually prevailed 63-62.

The first quarter of the game saw the beginnings of a night-long battle between Wolves’ centre Will Creekmore and Lions’ recent high-profile signing, Great Britain International, Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Six points apiece were their contributions to a 20-16 advantage for the Wolves by the end of the period.

Creekmore made a neat fade-away shot off one leg, and moments later sank a three-pointer to help extend the Wolves lead out to its largest of the night at 29-18 by midway through the second period. However Bryan-Amaning responded with a score of his own, blocked a Creekmore attempt and then directed a bullet pass for London’s veteran forward Julius Joseph to lay home.

Wolves’ guard Alex Owumi and his opposite number at the Lions, Rod Brown showed that it was not just amongst the big men where duelling was taking place. A double of baskets from Brown inspired Owumi to target his smaller opponent, backing the ball towards him and sinking scores on three successive occasions, on the way to a 37-27 interval cushion for his side.

Towards the end of the first half, Wolves’ point guard Zaire Taylor had taken a worrying fall to the ground, though he stayed on court. As the third quarter began it appeared that the fall had indeed served to stunt his earlier effectiveness. With little firepower coming from his team-mates, a paltry eight points was all that Worcester could muster over the period, while the Lions tallied fourteen of their own.

A slender 45-41 lead evaporated in the first minute of the last quarter when Bryan-Amaning again denied a Creekmore shot attempt and then went on to float a tidy jump shot over the outstretched arms of his rival. By the time Bryan-Amaning had showcased his all-round versatility with an outside score, London had become the team with their noses in front, with three minutes remaining.

Two points from Joseph was the signal for Wolves’ coach Paul James to call a time-out. With just under a minute to go his team still trailed, now by 51-56. Wolves’ forward Jamal Williams managed to bustle his way to the hoop to score and draw a foul, pulling the scores back to 54-56.

With just 19 seconds remaining the Lions were inbounding from the side-line when Irving intercepted the ball and passed it on to Djukic who made no mistake with the lay-up, topping off what looked an unlikely Wolves’ comeback.

The Worcester momentum carried over into the extra period with a triple from a revitalised Taylor, and a confident spin move from Owumi, quickly taking matters to 61-56. Although the Lions would once more briefly roar, they did not have quite enough to deny their visitors the spoils, 63-62.

Paul James was relieved to take the win, commenting: “We did well in the first half, but Lions did a great job in turning the tables on us in the second half. We weren’t moving the ball well enough or setting screens. At the end of the day though we stayed calm to take the win, showing some toughness that perhaps wasn’t always there last season.”

Talking about the last few seconds of regulation James said: “We were down and knew we needed to foul or go for a steal. We gambled on the steal and it paid off with great work from Kalil and Stefan.”

Creekmore and Owumi led the Wolves scorers with 17 and 15 points respectively. Brown and Bryan-Amaning tabbed 15 and 13 points for London.

Wolves will now return to the University of Worcester Arena, to face Cheshire Phoenix (tip off 7.30pm), this Friday (October 11).

British Basketball League

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standings as at Friday 11-October-13

 

 

 

 

 

Played

Win

Loss

Points

1.     Worcester Wolves

4

4

0

8

2.     Sheffield Sharks

4

3

1

6

3.     Newcastle Eagles

4

3

1

6

4.     Leicester Riders

3

2

1

4

5.     London Lions

4

2

2

4

6.     Glasgow Rocks

1

1

0

2

7.     Durham Wildcats

2

1

1

2

8.     Plymouth Raiders

3

1

2

2

9.     Cheshire Phoenix

4

1

3

2

10.   Birmingham Knights

2

0

2

0

10.   Surrey Heat

2

0

2

0

12.   Manchester Giants

3

0

3

0

 

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