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Wolves Run Into a Roadblock

Worcester Wolves Weekend BBL Results

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2015 09:16am
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Worcester Wolves 78-76 Bristol Flyers

 

Worcester Wolves gave a big University of Worcester Arena crowd palpitations before they finally managed to squeeze out a 78-76 victory over a plucky Bristol Flyers side on Friday.

In only their second year in the British Basketball League the Flyers are already showing that they fully deserve their place in the top flight. Despite falling into a double-figure hole during the third quarter, they roared back to almost deny Wolves their second consecutive win.

With less than a minute remaining the match was tied at 73-73, before Bristol guard Cardell McFarland stunned home supporters by floating home a long-range effort. As a delighted McFarland celebrated by miming the replacing of pistols in a holster, he was quickly brought back to reality when Wolves’ star man Jay Couisnard was similarly on target from afar.

Throughout the evening Worcester forward Pavol Losonsky had been locked in battle with his opposite number Mathias Seilund. When Seilund once more blocked the path of Losonsky, he was whistled for an infringement. The Worcester man calmly sank both of the resultant foul shots. With a mere three seconds to play there was an end to the dueling when Losonsky harassed Seilund into a desperation hurl that fell just short of the Wolves’ basket.

Seven first-quarter points apiece for Couisnard and Losonsky in a 23-11 lead looked to have laid the foundations for a relatively comfortable outing. Intercepting a wayward McFarland pass, Losonsky galloped away to thrill fans with a powerful reverse dunk as the advantage widened to 31-16.

Trailing 40-31 by half-time, Flyers found a way back when netting a trio of three-pointers to draw level at 43-43. However, once Wolves’ Perris Blackwell sank successive close-range buckets, the deficit once more grew out to 64-54 entering the last period.

Bristol’s captain Greg Streete showed his leadership qualities with eight points to haul his side back into the contest and set up the nail-biting finale.

Worcester Coach Paul James admitted his relief after the game, saying: “We were already up by ten points at half-time, and it could easily have been twenty. Unfortunately we allowed them back in and they shot the ball well from the outside. We were lucky to get away with this win.”

“We must take the easy scoring opportunities if we want to live with the top teams,” added James.

Losonsky dominated the statistics with 29 points and 16 rebounds, followed by Couisnard’s 22 points. McFarland and Seilund led the way for Bristol with 24 and 21 points respectively.


Leicester Riders 88-54 Worcester Wolves

 

Worcester Wolves had the misfortune to run into the roadblock that is this year’s stacked Leicester Riders squad on Saturday. After barely edging past relative newcomers to the British Basketball League, Bristol Flyers, the night before, it was always going to be tough for Wolves to then compete against one of the country’s long-established contenders for honours.

Riders sped into a double-digit lead after only five minutes had elapsed, kept their foot on the gas to register twice their visitors’ points total before half-time and ruthlessly maintained their domination until the final 88-54 score-line.

Fifteen seconds into the evening former Leicester stalwart Jay Couisnard began the scoring, but this would prove to be the one and only moment that Worcester were in contention. Guard Neil Watson sliced through stationary Wolves’ defenders to level matters, forward Trayvonn Wright rattled home seven quick points and the pattern for the evening was already set.

Such was the embarrassment of riches on Leicester’s roster that their Coach Rob Paternostro was soon able to sit down a couple of his starting five, only to then introduce a couple of Great Britain Internationals in Andrew Sullivan and Flo Larkai onto the court.

A 9-26 first quarter deficit had ballooned out to 19-39 by midway through the second period. There was a rare moment of amusement for travelling Worcester supporters to see referee Neil Wilkinson stride to the Wolves bench to loudly exclaim that he needed no help from them in making his decisions, an ironic declaration given that no intervention from any quarter would be likely to alter the course of what was taking place.

By the time that a shell-shocked Wolves’ team trooped to the locker rooms trailing 29-50, only Perris Blackwell had registered double-figure scoring. By contrast Watson had already accumulated 20 points, including a quartet of three-pointers, while Wright had tallied thirteen points.

Despite failing to sink any of their thirteen first-half attempts from outside the arc, in the face of impenetrable defence around the basket, Wolves continued to pull the trigger from downtown. It would prove to be an ineffective tactic, with just a single success in nine further attempts. 

39-65 behind entering the final ten minutes, there was still no let-up in the onslaught. Sullivan casually swatted aside a Couisnard effort and subsequently dunked the ball home at the other end. Not to be outdone, Wright entertained a capacity crowd by powering the length of the court for a ferocious slam.  

By the close of the evening Wolves’ Assistant Coach Alex Radu could do no more than acknowledge that his team had been outclassed, saying: “We didn’t compete, especially at the defensive end. Leicester shot the ball extremely well and we had no answer for their guard Neil Watson.”

It will be a couple of weeks before Wolves are back in action, with a trip to Manchester Giants on Sunday 11 October. After that they will return to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday 16 October to host Glasgow Rocks.

“We will need to address what has taken place this weekend. We didn’t finish off Bristol when we should have last night, and then we simply couldn’t stay with Leicester tonight,” added Radu.

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