16th Oct, 2019

London trip is a step too far for shattered Wolves

Rob George 13th Apr, 2019

EXHAUSTED Worcester Wolves slumped to a 91-78 defeat at London City Royals just 24 hours after an incredible four periods of overtime were needed to see off fellow basement boys Surrey Scorchers.

Tony Garbelotto’s side made the trip to the capital on Saturday evening to face the high-flying Royals but has already fallen into sizeable 34-55 arrears at the interval.

Wolves hauled themselves off the floor to give respectability to the final scoreline with Lester Prosper and Jordan Whelan led the scoring with 14 points apiece, closely followed by Darell Combs and Alex Navajas with 13 and 12 points respectively.

The capital clash was a bridge too far for the Wolves who finally moved off the foot of the British Basketball League after coming out on top of a thriller against the Scorchers on Friday evening at the University of Worcester Arena.

On a night of twists and turns that included the ejection of Wolves’ coach Garbelotto and an incredible four periods of overtime it was the hosts who eventually emerged with an exhausting 152-150 victory to leapfrog Scorchers in the league standings.

Assistant coach Felix Hallam said: “There’s a lot for us to digest from that game but most importantly we finally walked away from it with the win.

“We weren’t locked in at times, but we found enough to regroup. We wanted to get off the bottom of the league. We just had to get it done.”

Finding their path to the basket repeatedly obstructed by Surrey’s hulking seven-footer Morakinyo Williams, Wolves turned to long-distance shooting to keep the scoreboard moving to a 50-50 half-time tie.

By midway through the last period of regulation time, Wolves had slipped 74-78 behind after a second technical foul for Garbelotto saw him trudge to the locker-rooms.

With just six seconds remaining, Robert Crawford rebounded a Scorchers miss to set up a Deshawn Freeman flying dunk and keep a 93-91 lead before a last-gasp Surrey score sent the match into added time.

It was a similar nerve-jangling end to the first period of overtime. At 108-108 Freeman tipped in a Miki Servera miss but had his effort ruled out by the referees for being made after the game-clock had expired.

Crawford continued his torment of the visitors to close the next five-minute stretch with another steal and lay-up to deliver a 124-124 deadlock.

Freeman broke clear to produce an underhand pass to himself off the backboard that he then jammed through the net.

Prosper threw his arms in the air to celebrate a powerful dunk that put Wolves 140-134 to the good with only 25 seconds of the fourth period of overtime to go but the Scorchers came back again to force Prosper to bring up the 150-150 scoreline.

The epic encounter finally came to an end when Crawford edged Wolves in front and Williams spurned last-second free throws to finally draw a halt to the gruelling slugfest.

Wolves hit the road this weekend to tackle former director of basketball Paul James’ new side Plymouth Raiders on Sunday (tip-off 3pm).

Worcester will be looking for their third win from three meetings with their Devon opponents this season.

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