WORCESTER Wolves are two games from the British Basketball League (BBL) Play-off Final at London’s O2 Arena after an impressive quarter-final win over the Sheffield Sharks.
Wolves went into Sunday’s second leg at the University of Worcester Arena ahead by two points after Friday’s thrilling 73-71 triumph in Yorkshire.
And 23 points from Danny Huffor ensured a 86-84 victory meaning Wolves now advance to a two-legged final-four encounter against Newcastle Eagles. After Wednesday night’s first leg in Newcastle, the return will be played on Friday (May 5) at the Arena.
Coach Paul James admitted Sheffield had been challenging opponents and said: “It was always going to be a hard contest. It’s great that we have knocked out the defending Play-off champions, especially as they match up so well with us.
“Both legs were hard-fought and we really had to battle. I’m delighted that we did enough to get through.”
Marek Klassen opened the scoring with a confident drive to the hoop before a quick five points from Jermel Kennedy led to a 7-0 start.
By the close of the first quarter Wolves’ lead stood at 21-16 but six minutes before half-time the advantage had closed to 26-24.
Trevor Setty found space to sink a three-pointer before Maurice Walker swatted away a Sharks shot attempt to set up a Klassen triple. When Klassen produced a mesmerising no-look behind-the-back pass for Walker to slot home, Sharks were desperately calling for a time out, trailing 37-28.
But the break in play did little to interrupt Worcester’s onslaught as Klassen lobbed the ball up for a crowd-pleasing Kennedy alley-oop and followed up with a swift double of long-range baskets.
A 50-34 interval cushion was maintained throughout the third period, becoming 70-54 entering the final quarter.
As time wound down Wolves’ advantage was whittled away. At a minute remaining a Malcolm Riley triple put matters at 85-81. When fellow forward Zach Gachette also connected from outside it became 85-84.
At nine seconds left Setty split a pair of free throws, gifting Sheffield the chance to remain in the tie. However, a large home fanbase were finally able to relax when Klassen intercepted his foes’ last possession.
Wolves will carry confidence into their semi-final with Newcastle, having defeated them both home and away in their latest two meetings.