WOLVES head coach Paul James praised his side’s ‘consistent display’ as they picked up their first British Basketball League win of the campaign after defeating Cheshire Phoenix 91-78 on Friday night.
Wolves maintained a near double-figure lead for most of the evening at a packed out University of Worcester Arena, but had to stay focused to quell a feisty opponent buoyed by success in three of their four outings so far this season.
“It’s great to get our first success in the league. We had a nice spread of guys who got open and made their shots,” said James.
“We’ve only really played well in parts of matches before this win against Phoenix. It was a more consistent display from us in a game that we had to win by hook or by crook.
“We’re now off the mark and obviously want to start climbing up the table.”
The hosts held a 14-11 edge going into the last minute of the opening quarter, but closed out the period with a flourish as Dallin Bachynski supplied a clever pass for Alex Navajas to convert.
George Beamon then sank a couple of free throws and Jermel Kennedy stole Cheshire’s next possession for an easy lay-up.
Phoenix replied with six unanswered points as the second period began, with ex-Worcester forward Orlan Jackman debuting on the scoresheet.
Ashton Khan twice sped to the basket for scores before another former home favourite, Andrew Bachman, took the spotlight.
After losing the ball when hustled out of bounds, Bachman was then pressured into a clumsy travel, allowing two more dashes to the hoop from Khan to finalise a 42-33 half-time lead for Worcester.
Wolves’ growing confidence carried over into the third quarter as Bachynski and Khan enjoyed a flurry of scores to open a 67-50 advantage with a couple of minutes remaining in the period.
A burst of Cheshire scores pulled the teams closer together at 69-61 entering the final quarter, but Wolves had enough in the tank to keep their visitors at bay.
Khan top-scored with 17 points, closely followed by Bachynski on 16 points. The latter also pulled down 11 rebounds.
Wolves travel to Scotland to face Glasgow Rocks in the BBL Cup quarter-finals on Sunday (tip-off 5pm), before hosting them at the University of Worcester Arena next Friday in the league (7.30pm).
*BRITISH-Canadian forward Jermel Kennedy has left the club with immediate effect.
Wolves announced on Monday that Kennedy, who had averaged 8.5 points, four rebounds and 2.5 assists in the club’s opening five games, had shared his desire to leave the University of Worcester Arena outfit.
James said: “We’re disappointed Jermel’s second spell has not worked out in the way we would’ve all hoped. He’s a huge talent and we wish him well.”