WOLVES head coach Paul James praised his team for ‘toughening it out’ in their 99-91 British Basketball League (BBL) victory over London Lions at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.
The win, which is Worcester’s sixth out of eight in the BBL this year, keeps the club in seventh and on the heels of Lions and Plymouth Raiders in the standings.
“It was a hard fought victory. London took us out of our rhythm in the first half, but I’m delighted at the way we kept our calm and toughed it out for a great win,” said James.
“Also, well done to Trey (Zeigler) on his debut. He was lively in defence and now gives us another scoring option,” he added.
Marek Klassen set the scoreboard ticking for the hosts with a three-pointer, but former Worcester star Kai Williams hit back with a three-pointer of his own for Lions.
After Trevor Setty bundled into Williams as he again took aim, he calmly sank all three of the resultant foul shots, before a further two triples for the London side pushed them into an early 31-21 first quarter lead.
The free-flowing contest continued as Klassen sunk three outside successes to drag the arrears back to 39-37, before new Wolves signing Trey Zeigler grabbed his first points of the evening to edge the hosts in front.
But two more former Worcester players gave London the advantage at the interval, as five points from Alex Owumi and a single free throw success from Zaire Taylor closed out the first half at 48-44.
An abundant of scores from both teams in the third quarter kept the game evenly poised, with Wolves edging a 69-67 lead heading into the final period.
New man Zeigler then played a part in finally putting daylight between the sides, when he swiped the ball away from Owumi and galloped to the other end of the court for a lay-up and bonus free throw, after brushing aside a clumsy challenge from Taylor.
Ashton Khan came to the fore with several bursts to the hoop in the latter stages, helping to establish a decisive double-figure lead to secure the win.
Jermel Kennedy and Klassen topped the scoring for Wolves with 19 and 18 points respectively, with Khan and Danny Huffor notching 14 points and Zeigler bagging a respectable 12 points on his debut.
Wolves take on Plymouth Raiders in the second leg of the BBL Trophy semi-final at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (7.30pm), when the club will be looking to pull back a 96-78 first leg deficit.