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Worcester Wolves 79-66 Surrey Scorchers

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2015 09:03pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Mick Donovan
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Satisfying was the verdict from Worcester Wolves’ coach Paul James after seeing his new roster take to the court for their final pre-season warmup on Sunday against Surrey Scorchers. With only a couple of players returning from last year’s third-place finishers in the British Basketball League, it was always going to be a challenge to maintain the high standard that Worcester fans have come to expect from their club.

Trailing at half-time, the players eventually settled sufficiently to see off a determined Surrey outfit 79-66, with ex-Leicester man Pavol Losonsky leading the statistics with a 23 points and 11 rebounds double-double performance.

“We still have a lot to work on, with pretty much a new team,” remarked James. “However, once people worked out their roles more in the second half, we were able to raise our intensity level. All-in-all it was satisfying – a good test for us.”

It was Surrey who began the scoring, moving 6-0 in front after nailing consecutive three-pointers. It would take three minutes until Losonsky opened Wolves’ account. Baskets from the returning Disraeli Lufadeju and new signing Perris Blackwell kept matters tied at 12-12 by the close of the first quarter.

Worcester finally nudged ahead at 18-17 when newly-arrived American guard Malik Smith connected from outside the arc. Uncertainty in positioning and hesitancy in passing contributed to a 27-32 interval deficit.

Soon after the break, Smith was twice more on the mark from distance. When his third attempt bounced up off the rim a determined Losonsky was in the right place to tip the ball home. Losonsky was again in the thick of the action when providing a double of assists for Blackwell to convert into easy buckets, rounding off a 28-15 third quarter streak for the hosts.

The advantage only grew greater in the final period, with Smith controlling the tempo and big British forward Ben Eaves revelling in plenty of court time once Blackwell had taken a seat on the bench.

Smith and Lufadeju contributed 19 and 15 points respectively, while Eaves and his fellow forward Javier Mugica joining Losonsky in grabbing double-figure rebounds.

Wolves will begin their regular season at the University of Worcester Arena this Friday, (tip off 7.30pm), against Glasgow Rocks. James is optimistic about what is to take place and is also hoping his squad can be boosted by the arrival of former Leicester guard Jay Couisnard, stating: “We don’t know a great deal about the Rocks as, like us, they have signed quite a few new faces. But we will improve as players settle and we execute our plays. I’m hoping that Jay will have his passport and be cleared to play on Friday.”

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