WORCESTER Wolves’ hopes of winning silverware this season ended prematurely after a 173-141 British Basketball League (BBL) play-off quarter-final aggregate defeat to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday.
Despite winning 88-83 in the return-leg at the University of Worcester Arena Sunday night, the emphatic 90-53 first-leg defeat in Scotland on Friday proved too much of a task to overturn.
Wolves knew nothing less than a 38 point turnaround would see them progress to the last four of the play-offs and they began the monumental task with a fighting spirit.
Orlan Jackman was in the thick of the action from tip-off as he set up a score for Jordan Aaron, before scoring himself. He then stole the ball from Kieron Achara, prompting Glasgow coach Sterling Davis to request a time out in only the second minute of the match.
The stoppage did little to settle Rocks’ nerves. Four minutes later an infuriated Davis was yelling to the officials for a further break in play following an impressive dunk from Perris Blackwell and a double of baskets by Jay Couisnard, which had extended matters to 22-9.
The Wolves’ onslaught continued and they closed the first quarter at 32-15 after a pinpoint Aaron pass from half-court found Ben Eaves under the basket who converted a resounding alley-oop.
By the beginning of the second quarter Wolves had reduced more than half of Friday’s deficit with a 39-17 lead as two three-pointers for Aaron and one for Ashton Khan, on his return from injury, had fans up on their feet.
But the advantage had peaked as Wolves were unable to maintain their early pace, allowing the away side to recover and take the upper hand.
Lively guard Jordan Clarke forced a trio of steals to help trim the lead to 42-28 and Rocks further dragged the arrears back to 49-40 by half-time.
The Worcester outfit’s last hurrah came in the third period through buckets from Jackman and Couisnard which stretched the lead to 77-59, but time was now running out.
Wolves’ attacks petered out completely in the final quarter as Couisnard and Blackwell were forced to the bench after their fifth fouls.
And just three scores came from the hosts in the final ten minutes as Glasgow held their nerve to march into semi-finals with ease.
Head coach Paul James said: “Unfortunately all the damage was done on Friday.
The players gave it their all and we got the deficit all the way back to 15 points, but it’s extremely hard to sustain that level of intensity for a long period of time.
“This summer is going to be a time to reflect and look at players as individuals and the season as a whole.
“Over the years we’ve progressed from a side that has not made the play-offs to one that regularly makes them, but recently we’ve failed and now need to move forward.
“We’ll certainly be looking to put a strong team on the floor next season, one that will be challenging for honours.”