WORCESTER Wolves head coach Paul James hailed his side’s ‘character and toughness’ after they recorded a 99-80 victory over Leeds Force at the Carnegie Sports Centre on Friday.
The result was the club’s second win over the Yorkshire outfit in a week, having comprehensively beaten them 112-62 the previous Friday at the University of Worcester Arena.
Wolves have surged up the British Basketball League table since the turn of the year, winning eight of their last ten games to move up to joint fifth on 26 points – six more points than they had recorded in their previous 15 matches.
“We’ve been the league’s form team over the last couple of months,” said James.
“Leeds shoot the ball well on their own court and we knew they’d be a different proposition from the side we beat by 50 points the week prior, but we showed character and toughness to get the job done,” he added.
Both teams traded buckets in the early exchanges, with the visitors edging 21-20 ahead as the first quarter wound down.
With the shot-clock about to expire, Maurice Walker sank a rare three-pointer to keep the advantage with his side.
But former Worcester favourite Disraeli Lufadeju began the second period with two scores to draw the sides level at 26-26.
The forward was then dispossessed by Jermel Kennedy, who galloped up-court for a spectacular tomahawk slam dunk.
Trailing 52-44 entering the third quarter, Leeds stepped up a gear with Jermaine Sanders sinking seven quick-fire points to claw back the arrears.
Holding a slender 62-59 lead midway through the third period, Wolves finally took a grip on the game and proceeded to score nearly twice as many points as their hosts over the remainder of the evening.
First Force’s coach Matt Newby attracted a technical foul from the referees, allowing Marek Klassen to slot home the resultant free throw, before Trevor Setty sank a triple on the subsequent bonus possession.
Then Trey Zeigler and Danny Huffor confidently stepped forward for a series of scores, as continuous turnovers from Leeds and their inability to break through Worcester’s resilient defence finally decided the contest.
Klassen and Huffor led the Wolfpack’s scorers with 19 and 18 points respectively, followed by Setty with 16 points and Walker and Zeigler on 14 apiece.
Kennedy’s 11 points rounded out six players tallying impressive double-figure returns.
Wolves take on league leaders Leicester Riders on Friday at the University of Worcester Arena (tip off 7.30pm).