WOLVES head coach Paul James praised his side for digging deep to grind out a narrow 94-90 victory against London Lions at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.
Despite missing Andrew Bachman, Ashton Khan and Maurice Walker with injuries, Wolves put in a professional display to extend their British Basketball League winning streak to nine and stay in joint third with just two games of the regular season remaining.
“That was our closest game for a few weeks. We lost a little bit of focus in the last quarter, but the players still found a way to grind out the win,” said James.
“I’m really pleased that despite a blip late on, we were able to stay structured. We shared the ball well and when we have so many different players who can step up at different times, we’re hard to beat.
“It’s another great win in front of another great crowd. We want to keep the winning tradition going straight into the play-offs. We’re all really looking forward to it.”
Before the match even got under way the home side were celebrating, as James was awarded the BBL ‘Coach of the Month Award’ for March and forward Jermel Kennedy scooped March’s ‘Player of the Month Award’.
And it was Kennedy who set the scoreboard ticking, before a trio of three-pointers from Marek Klassen aided Wolves’ 25-19 first quarter lead.
Ex-Worcester point guard Zaire Taylor kept the visitors in the contest as he set up other former Wolves players Alex Owumi and Kai Williams for scores.
Williams was then fouled in the act of sinking another triple, which he slotted home for a rare four-point play to gift London a narrow 31-30 lead.
Trey Zeigler was introduced into the action for Wolves and his double of confident drives to the hoop helped Worcester regain the lead at 46-39 heading into half-time.
The hosts built a double-digit advantage in the early stages of the third quarter at 59-46, which forced Lions to call a time out.
That halted Wolves’ momentum as Williams’ floated home consecutive three-pointers from the restart.
Entering the last quarter at 73-62, London tightened their defence and clawed their way back into the contest to lead by a point with just three minutes remaining.
Missed shot attempts by Alex Navajas and Klassen had the home fans holding their breath, but with their teammates eagerly grabbing offensive rebounds, Navajas was finally on the mark with a triple.
Further baskets from Klassen and Danny Huffor wrapped up the slender win, much to the relief of the packed-out University of Worcester Arena.
Klassen and Zeigler topped the Worcester scorers with 26 and 20 points respectively, followed by Huffor with 18.
Wolves bring the curtain down on their BBL regular season when they host play-off rivals Sheffield Sharks at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (tip off 7.30pm), before a trip to league leaders Leicester Riders at the Leicester Community Arena on Sunday (4pm).