WORCESTER Wolves head coach Paul James hailed his team’s 99-68 victory over Sheffield Sharks in the BBL Trophy at the University of Worcester Arena as ‘emphatic’.
In the wolfpack’s first outing of 2017, James watched his side put their recent poor run of league results to bed as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition with ease.
“We’ve always known we can produce this sort of performance. We all played together, shared the ball and created shots for each other,” said James.
“ln practice last week we stripped a lot of things back to get back to basics. We thought about what we’re trying to do and we’ve now had a reaction.”
Sheffield took the advantage early on with a 9-4 lead, but this was as good as it got for the visitors as Trevor Setty hit a quick-fire triple and fellow forward Danny Huffor scored a run of four three-pointers to close the first quarter at 21-15 to the hosts.
Maurice Walker then twice produced his trademark back-to-the-basket move, and as Sharks deployed resources to deal with Walker’s present threat, the rest of the team pounced upon gaps in Sheffield’s defence.
Ashton Khan zipped to the hoop and Andrew Bachman delivered a quick-fire quartet of scores to build a healthy 46-33 half-time advantage.
Four minutes of the second-half had elapsed before Sheffield could add to their score, but by this time Huffor had re-commenced his torment with two successes from outside, one on the inside and then a steal at the halfway line which led to an authoritative dunk.
With a dominant 72-47 lead by the close of the third period, Wolves wrapped up the game with ease as Bachman once again took aim from the perimeter, Khan froze defenders with a sublime head-fake and Walker even dared to float the ball home from distance.
Huffor and Bachman both tallied season-high scores with 31 and 23 points respectively.
James added: “It was all about the team. When players were double-teamed inside, we were able to make the most of our chances from the outside. Players had their feet set and shot with confidence.
“We can beat anyone if we repeat this intensity. As I said to the players, we can achieve whatever we want if we have the right mindset and want to do it together.”
Worcester will travel to either London Lions or Surrey Scorchers in the next stage of the tournament.
Wolves return to British Basketball League action when they travel to the West Country to take on Bristol Flyers this Saturday (tip off 7.30pm).