WORCESTER Wolves coach Tony Garbelotto lavished praise on his side after they thumped Manchester Giants 98-79 to record only their fourth win of the season.
Friday’s victory at the University of Worcester Arena was set up in a rampaging second quarter which propelled Wolves to a 53-32 half-time lead and brought a standing ovation from the delighted Wolfpack.
Although the advantage was later briefly hauled back to single figures, an effervescent display gave little opportunity for the visitors to triumph.
“We played with the sort of effort I’ve asked for since I came here. They came back at us but we handled it well and made some big plays,” Garbelotto said.
Wolves conceded the first eight points of the evening before they found their groove with a trio of three-pointers which helped them edge 19-17 in front entering the second period.
Alex Navajas pushed the lead to 28-23 before Deshawn Freeman sank a three and then stole the ball ahead of a crowd-pleasing two-handed reverse dunk.
Three minutes before the interval the advantage had stretched to 43-29 after Robert Crawford set up consecutive Navajas baskets.
In the final minute of the half Navajas again connected from distance and Freeman provided the final flourish to Wolves’ stunning spell of play.
A calmer third quarter gave Giants hope as they rallied to 68-55 and a lay-up from former Wolves captain Callum Jones saw the visitors close the gap to just nine points with six minutes to go.
However, current Wolves skipper Adam Thoseby set his feet for a confident outside shot and Freeman produced another dazzling score, threading the ball behind his back to Miki Servera who returned it skywards for a powerful jab through the hoop to end any hopes of a comeback.
The irrepressible Navajas slotted home his fifth and sixth triples to ice Wolves’ dominance.
Freeman totalled 23 points, just behind Navajas’ 26-point burst, as well as pulling down a mighty 19 rebounds.
“As well as Alex I have to credit Deshawn specifically, I thought his effort was off the charts. His pure effort, his desire, ignited us,” Garbelotto said.
“Our fans, everyone, had a great experience today. If we play as hard as we have just done we can beat almost any team.”
Wolves will be hoping to build on their success when they tackle play-off bound Newcastle Eagles at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (tip off 7.30pm).