17th Jul, 2019

James: Navajas is Worcester Wolves' captain marvel

Craig Gibbons 16th Mar, 2018

HEAD coach Paul James praised captain Alex Navajas for his inspirational performance in Worcester Wolves’ 100-72 victory over British Basketball League basement boys Leeds Force at the University of Worcester Arena.

A combination of injuries and international call-ups forced James to juggle resources throughout February, with accordingly mixed results.

Wolves’ first March fixture on Friday saw court-time spread across their whole squad and half a dozen of those players returned double-figure points in a welcome victory.

Worcester held a mere 46-35 lead by half-time, but thumped in an overwhelming 30-12 third quarter to make certain of success.

Skipper Navajas led Wolves’ scoring with 20 points, followed by 14 points apiece for Trayvon Palmer and Brandon Parrish.

Dallin Bachynski returned from his month-long injury to post 13 points, with George Beamon and Michael Ojo each tallying 11.

“Alex was again outstanding,” said James.

“He shot the ball well and got others involved.

“He has been playing really well for us lately and this bodes well for our upcoming games.”

Navajas featured heavily in the early going.

After laying on the opening score of the night for Palmer he sank a triple of his own but then bizarrely passed the ball towards a startled referee, before sportingly acknowledging his mistake.

George Emms and Dominic Ives delighted in their earlier than usual introductions to the action by, in turn, assisting a Beamon three and a Parrish tomahawk dunk, rounding out a tidy 22-16 first-period advantage.

A spell of sloppy ball-handling allowed Leeds to stay in contention as the first half ended.

It was an entirely different matter once the teams had returned from the locker rooms, with Navajas again the pivotal figure.

After securing a couple of baskets for himself he hurled a length-of-the-court pass for Palmer to convert.

The Spaniard would rattle in a further ten points in less than two minutes before drawing breath.

A 70-36 scoreline six minutes after the break firmly demonstrated Worcester’s domination.

Four replacements jumped up from the home bench to see out the third period.

The final quarter saw court-time for rarely used reserves Zach Noble and Matt Williamson, with the former inking four points on to the scoresheet.

“We had a decent start, let ourselves down a little in the second quarter, but took control after the break,” said James.

“I told everyone that if they played the way I know they can that we would get the win and that everyone could enjoy themselves out there.”

Wolves have a double-bill of away matches on the horizon, facing Cheshire Phoenix tonight (Friday – 7.30pm) and Manchester Giants on Sunday (5pm), before returning to the University of Worcester Arena to host Sheffield Sharks on Friday, March 23.

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