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Wolves top the table four points ahead

Cheshire Phoenix 94-105 Worcester Wolves

Last Updated: Feb 10, 2014 07:26pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Worcester Wolves followed up Saturday’s 93-63 hammering of Plymouth Raiders with another vital road triumph on Sunday. Facing one of the British Basketball League’s form sides, Cheshire Phoenix, the Wolves again showcased the power that has propelled them clear at the head of the table, coming up with a fine 105-94 win and extending their unbeaten run to eleven matches.

Worcester established an early lead which they were then able to maintain throughout the contest. Zaire Taylor thundered his way to 30 points to lead all scorers, but it was also a big afternoon for the William brothers, Jamal and Kai, who contributed 30 points between them against one of their former employers.

Cheshire’s recent performances have resulted in awards for both their coach John Lavery and their first-year forward Victor Moses. In line with their resurgence of form, there was a large crowd on hand to witness the visit of the league leaders. Their raucous support was initially rewarded as five points from England International guard Devan Bailey helped the hosts to an 11-7 lead after six minutes had passed.

From here both Williams entered the fray, and soon made their mark. Jamal scored with his first touch of the ball and a moment later Kai floated home a shot from distance to nudge Worcester in front by a point. The brothers netted a basket apiece in the final minute of the opening quarter to extend the advantage to 20-13.

Four points from Moses hinted at a Phoenix comeback, before Jamal Williams blasted through transfixed Phoenix defenders to once more restore Wolves’ seven-point cushion. With neither side able to wrestle control from the other, the teams went into the half-time locker rooms with the visitors holding steady at 44-38 ahead.

The nip and tuck pattern continued in a third quarter that was notable for a barrage of Worcester three-pointers. By midway through the period Cheshire forward Dominique Coleman had nabbed a couple, but his input was matched by Wolves forward Kalil Irving, and outdone by a trio of triples from Kai Williams. Worcester stalwarts Zaire Taylor and Will Creekmore also got in on the act, as did reserve forward Daniel Belgrave, helping their side’s advantage to widen to 74-63 entering the final ten minutes of the match.

One-time Wolves guard Mike Creppy was next to score, later followed by another brace of long-distance successes from Coleman. At six minutes to go the gap had lessened to 79-74. Additional scoring from Moses and Coleman closed it further to 81-78 over the next minute.

However, five points from Taylor and an outside success for Jamal Williams were enough to calm matters and once more put distance between the sides at 89-81 with three minutes remaining. Taylor would grab eight more points in the final quarter, while his team-mates sank the majority of their free throws to ensure the outcome was decided in favour of the visitors.

Coach Paul James was overjoyed to complete a double-winning weekend, dancing with his players at the final whistle. Asked if the eventual margin of victory flattered his team he emphatically replied: “In no way at all. We should have beaten them by more. We totally destroyed Cheshire today.”

Talking about the weekend as a whole James added: “I can’t emphasise enough the magnitude of the weekend. Set up as one of our toughest, we came through it like the number one team we are right now.”

Referring to the performances of the Williams duo, James enthused: “I’m so pleased for them. Cheshire were spending a lot of time in a zone defence, so we shot them out of it. It was perfect for Kai, and I’ve been encouraging Jamal to shoot more, which he did today.”

Jamal Williams also spoke about playing alongside his brother, saying: “It was beautiful for Kai and myself out there today. And beating Cheshire, one of our former clubs, was the cherry on top of the sundae.”

Coleman and Moses led the Cheshire scorers with 26 and 22 points respectively. Creekmore garnered his umpteenth double-double of the season with 17 points and 19 rebounds.  

Next up for Wolves is a return to the University of Worcester Arena, to host Glasgow Rocks on Friday 14 February. 

Standings as at Sunday 09-February-14

 

 

Played

Win

Loss

Points

1.     Worcester Wolves

21

18

3

36

2.     Esh Group Eagles Newcastle

20

16

4

32

3.     One Health Sharks Sheffield

19

14

5

28

4.     Leicester Riders

20

14

6

28

5.     London Lions

22

14

8

28

6.     Cheshire Phoenix

23

12

11

24

7.     Plymouth University Raiders

20

10

10

20

8.     Durham Wildcats

22

10

12

20

9.     Glasgow Rocks

20

8

12

16

10.   Manchester Giants

21

7

14

14

11.   Surrey United

21

2

19

4

12.   Birmingham Knights

21

0

21

0

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