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Wolves are One Step from Glasgow

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:43pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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This Wednesday will see the University of Worcester Arena host the second and deciding leg of Worcester Wolves’ BBL Trophy semi-final tie against Sheffield Sharks.

Wolves hold a slender two-point lead from the first-leg, and will hope that this will be enough to help them through to their first-ever final since joining the top tier of British basketball, on Sunday 30 March at Glasgow’s prestigious Emirates Arena.

In the first half of last Friday’s encounter in Sheffield, the Wolves built up a commanding 20-point advantage, and still held a healthy 59-46 lead with ten minutes of action remaining. However, a dearth of scoring from Worcester in the final quarter, while their hosts continued to keep the scoreboard moving, resulted in an eventual 62-60 outcome, to keep the tie tightly poised.

Despite the slimness of the edge his team now holds, Wolves’ coach Paul James remains confident that his side can triumph on aggregate, saying: “It’s still anybody’s game. We’ve got a two point lead and Sheffield now have to travel to us. We’re feeling good about Wednesday, with a chance to make some history for the Wolves.”

Since their promotion to the top flight of British basketball in 2006, this is only the third time that Worcester has reached the semi-final of any competition. In their two previous later-stages appearances, the club bowed out after being unable to bounce back from large first-leg deficits. In 2011 Plymouth Raiders walked away from the city with a huge 28-point advantage, while last year the Wolves were also initially put under the cosh by Leicester. On both occasions the second legs took place on their opponents’ courts and on both occasions those matches were won by Worcester, albeit by insufficient scores to allow further progress.

There was a further boost for the organisation last week with recognition for both Wolves’ Coaches. Firstly, Alex Radu was appointed as Assistant Coach of the Romanian Women’s National Team, a role he will commence at the conclusion of his duties this season at the Wolves. Secondly, Paul James received the Molten BBL Coach of the Month award for February, after a near-unbeaten month. Four league wins kept Worcester at the top of the British Basketball League, while February also saw early-round BBL Trophy victories on the road at London Lions and Newcastle Eagles.

James is keen to give credit for the award to his players, commenting: “We’ve been playing well since November, going unbeaten for nearly three months. This recognition is testament to the effort and hard work put in by the team, and for the focus that they have shown.

“Hopefully we can now put on a great performance for the fans on Wednesday and win through to our first-ever final.” 

Tickets for the semi-final decider, (tip off 7.30pm), can be purchased in advance by visiting the Wolves website www.worcesterwolves.org

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