Wolves devour Wildcats
Updated: January 15, 2012
Worcester Wolves moved level on points with the Newcastle Eagles at the top of the BBL Championship with a comfortable 86-72 victory over the Durham Wildcats at Worcester University on Saturday night.
The Wolves, who defeated Mersey Tigers, the previous night, led the first period 21-16 after an 11-2 burst midway through the quarter.
In the second period the home side maintained their advantage and a 12-0 run, finished off by back-to-back three pointers from Arnas Kazlauskas, took the score out to 46-33 at the half.
Three-pointers from Sherrad Prezzie-Blue (2) and Tommy Freeman powered the Wolves 64-41 ahead in the third period and from there on victory always looked assured.
The Wildcats tried valiantly to get themselves back into the contest, but despite outscoring their hosts 19-24 in the final quarter they could not close the gap significantly as the Wolves continued their strong run of form to pick up the all-important victory.
Richie Gordon led all scorers in the game with an impressive 30 points for the Wolves, while Mario Flaherty led the scoring for the Wildcats with 20 points personal.
Jets fail to take Heat
Updated: January 14, 2012
Guildford Heat leapfrogged Cheshire Jets to move into a play-off spot with a last gasp 80-78 victory over Sharks on Friday.
Six quick-fire points from Zach Gachette helped the Sharks move 8-3 ahead early on before they stretched their lead to 20-12 with further scores, including a dunk by Olu Babalola and a basket by player-coach Atiba Lyons.
Heat fought back though, to make it 25-22 heading into the second period although the hosts remained ahead 43-36 at the halfway point.
Guilford remained in touch though, and with the match tied on 78-apiece Drew Lasker scored with just four seconds left on the clock to secure the win.
An 82-61 win over Tigers win saw second placed Worcester Wolves claim their fourth success in all competitions this season over the Merseysiders.
Wolves streaked into a commanding 14-point lead in the opening period but battled back to trail just 36-29 at the end of the first half.
But Wolves upped the tempo after the interval to cruise to victory over the second bottom side.
Heat edge out Sharks
Updated: January 13, 2012 10:18pm
One Health Sharks Sheffield 78 (25,43,59) (Reinking 19, Babalola 17, Tuck 15)
Guildford Heat 80 (22,41,62) (Ogedengbe 18, McLemore 15, Lasker 14)
Drew Lasker was the hero for Guildford Heat as he decided an intense BBL Championship struggle with a basket four seconds from time to inflict defeat on Sharks who missed injured star Justin Dobbins.
During the initial exchanges, it was Zach Gachette who stood out as he scored six quick-fire points to help the Sharks move into an 8-3 lead. They went on to extend their advantage to eight points when they moved 20-12 ahead after a dunk by Olu Babalola and a score by player-coach Atiba Lyons.
However, Heat rallied and outscored their hosts 10-5 to close to within 25-22 heading into the second period.
With Gachette still on fire, Sharks started the quarter powerfully and within a few minutes had re-established control with a nine point lead off the back of an 8-2 run finished by a Mike Tuck score.
In similar fashion to the first period, Heat composed themselves and within a flash found the margin back to three points after the red-hot Joseph drilled home back-to-back triples.
It looked as if Sharks would take a healthy lead into the locker rooms at the half when Nate Reinking put them 43-36 to the good but Heat scored the last five points thanks to yet another three-pointer by Joseph which meant they left the floor trailing 43-41 and very much in the running.
Things would get even better for the visitors after the re-start since this time they would firstly draw level via two free-throws by Shaun Durant and then take the lead thanks to a basket by Albert Margai.
In a real game of runs, Sharks surged back in front at 56-49 but Heat once again enjoyed a really strong end to the period.
Much to the delight of head coach Creon Raftopoulos, they posted a terrific 13-3 burst rounded off by a last gaps basket by Drew Lasker which gave them a three point lead heading into the final ten minutes. This was a sign of things to come.
The fourth quarter was intense and with fouls beginning to mount up for the home team and with little dropping from the three-point range, Heat generally kept their noses in front although it was still a one-shot game at 76-74 to Guildford with 90 seconds remaining.
Tuck tied the game up for Sharks from the free-throw line only for Lasker to sink two of his own to hand the advantage back to Heat.
When Reinking made it all square with 28 seconds left with another two perfect free-throws, the nerves were jangling for both sets of fans as everyone wondered who the game winner would be.
With four seconds left it was the ice-cool Lasker who drained a jump-shot over Reinking and it proved the decisive score as Reinking rimmed out on the buzzer for Sharks to hand Heat a superb road win.
Tayo Ogedengbe top-scored for the victorious Heat with 18 points.
Wolves crush Tigers in Friday night action
Mersey Tigers 61 (11,29,43) (Otten 18, Douse 14, Aliu 8, Hesson 8)
Worcester Wolves 82 (25,36,54) (Gordon 20, Prezzie-Blue 18, Watts 15)
Tony Garbelotto and his players must be sick of the sight of Worcester Wolves after the visitors claimed their fourth success of the season over the Merseysiders in all competitions.
Tigers will have been hoping a weakened Wolves team without the influential Tommy Freeman would be vulnerable but just as Garbelotto feared during his pre-game musings, it was left to Sherrad Prezzie-Blue and Ritchie Gordon (pictured) to be the game winners for the title chasers.
The hosts gave themselves a mountain to climb with just 11 first quarter points as Wolves streaked into a commanding 14 point advantage after the opening period.
While Tigers responded to hold Wolves to just 11 points in the second quarter, it was still tough going although to their credit, the home team halved the deficit which meant they only trailed 36-29 as the first half drew to a close.
But, with Devan Bailey already in foul trouble, it looked a long-shot that Tigers would be able to keep their defensive effort up during the second half and so it proved as Wolves showed their bite after the interval to cruise to victory.
A success against basement dwellers Durham Wildcats at home on Saturday night and Wolves will find themselves level on 22 points with current BBL Championship leaders Newcastle Eagles.