19th Jan, 2020

Wolves tame Lions to claw back into BBL play-off places

Aaron Wise 23rd Jan, 2017

WORCESTER Wolves surged back into the British Basketball League (BBL) play-off places after taming the London Lions 100-71 at the Copper Box Arena on Sunday.

A recent poor run of form had seen the wolfpack slip to ninth in the standings, but following the victory over Lions, accompanied by an impressive 112-103 road win at Newcastle Eagles on Friday night, the Worcester outfit climbed to seventh place.

Head coach Paul James said: “It’s been an amazing weekend. I’m delighted for everyone. The players worked so hard this week in training to make these wins possible.

“We made sure we got the basics right and then stepped it up from there. We had a solid first half, talked through a few adjustments during the break and then blew London away. One or two threes went in and then the floodgates opened.

“Allied to that, our defensive effort was outstanding, I counted 11 stops in a row. Every time Lions had the ball we hunted them down as a pack. The players were relentless.”

Former Wolves player Kai Williams opened the scoring for Lions, but another former Worcester player, Alex Owumi, missed on his first shot, allowing Marek Klassen to disposes him.

Former fan favourite Zaire Taylor then picked up two quick fouls and was forced to take an early seat on the bench, setting the tone for a dismal evening for the hosts.

Maurice Walker settled into his usual pattern of dominance against the opposition, grabbing nine first-quarter points to edge the lead at 23-19.

The London outfit found Ashton Khan far too fleet-footed to stop in the second period, as his repeated slices to the basket helped nudge Worcester 43-42 ahead at half-time.

Four minutes into the second-half the contest was all-square at 50-50, before Klassen provided assists to Walker and Jermel Kennedy and scored a double of his own, breaking the match wide open.

At the other end, London players found themselves pounced upon from all sides and were consequently held scoreless for the remainder of the third period.

Though already firmly in charge at 73-50, the pressure was still maintained by the visitors as they repeatedly denied Lions any space to settle.

Klassen rattled in 14 final-quarter points, whilst Walker brought up the century for Worcester, setting the seal on the outstanding victory.

Walker and Klassen led the way for Worcester with 26 and 23 points respectively, followed by Danny Huffor with 17 points and Kennedy with 14 points.

James added: “We wanted something out of these two matches. We got the maximum return and it’s important we push on from here.

“This has shown if everyone buys into the system and trusts each other, then the achievements will follow. We’ll enjoy the wins, but then it’ll be straight back to hard work again.

“It’s bigger than us adding four points to our total in the table, it’s been about us sending a message to the rest of the league and to ourselves about the potential for success we have at this club.”

Wolves return to the University of Worcester Arena this Friday to host Surrey Scorchers (tip off 7.30pm).

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