WOLVES coach Tony Garbelotto has claimed his side is ‘bigger than where we finished’ after a disappoininting British Basketball League season came to a close with defeat to Cheshire Phoenix.
Sunday’s 100-83 reverse came 48 hours after Wolves’ final home appearance of the 2018-19 campaign ended with a 74-72 victory over Glasgow Rocks at the University of Worcester Arena.
The win ensured Wolves avoided finishing bottom of the league, although their 11th-placed finish was only confirmed thanks to a better head-to-head record over the Surrey Scorchers.
“I’ve never felt that we were a team which should have been at the bottom of the league. We’ve made mistakes but we’ve got some good players here,” Garbelotto said.
“This club is bigger than where we’ve finished.”
Last week saw Phoenix cause an upset at British Basketball League champions London Lions. Their winning momentum carried them into a comfortable 45-30 half-time lead over Wolves.
Although it was a more closely-fought second half, Wolves were never able to do enough to threaten a victory.
Darell Combs stood out in the early going. A swift six points were followed by him spying his fellow guard Miki Servera standing alone under the hoop for a simple lay-up.
Robert Crawford rose highest to tip in a Deshawn Freeman miss as the second quarter began, restricting Cheshire’s lead to just 21-19. However, there would be few attacks at the hosts’ basket after this.
Having already misfired on seven three-point attempts, that total of unsuccessful long-distance shots by the visitors had doubled by the interval.
Freeman finally got one to fall soon after the break, but ex-Worcester forward Disraeli Lufadeju did likewise at the end of the third quarter to maintain a 72-56 Cheshire cushion.
Jordan Whelan had a busy final period and Lester Prosper engaged in an entertaining big-man battle with seven-foot CJ Gettys as Phoenix did just enough to keep Wolves at bay.
Combs and Whelan joint top-scored with 16 points, closely supported by 15 from Prosper.
A last-day victory for Surrey Scorchers levelled their win-loss record with Worcester’s at the foot of the table.
However, Wolves, having triumphed in two of the three games between the teams, escape the wooden spoon which went to Surrey.