WORCESTER Wolves head coach Paul James has urged his side to stay focused as they get set to welcome the Sheffield Sharks for the first leg of the BBL Trophy semi-final tonight.
Wolves warmed up for the clash with a commanding 101-76 win over Leeds Force in Yorkshire on Sunday which followed a battling 76-81 reverse to league leaders Leicester Riders at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.
“Sheffield will be a different challenge. We cannot afford to have any periods of defensive lapses and have to stay focused. We want to put ourselves in good stead for the away leg,” said James.
“Our fans gave the players a tremendous cheer when they came out on court last week. They can give us another big boost on Wednesday.”
Leeds fought gamely to keep with their visitors at 16-16 with three minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
James ushered Brandon Parrish and George Beamon into the action and both players made an instant impact with their initial touches. Parrish drained a three-pointer while Beamon drove to the hoop for two points and a bonus foul shot, aiding a 29-18 advantage entering the second period.
Captain Alex Navajas sank his third triple and then laid on a double of backdoor assists for Parrish and Trayvon Palmer to convert.
With a 50-29 half-time lead at the league’s basement side, James took the chance to spread minutes across his team.
Leeds ignited with a series of long-range scores as the second half got under way, but were unable to replicate their success on the inside. Robert Gilchrist put in a shift close to the basket for 11 third-quarter points as Worcester coasted to a 78-49 lead.
Parrish and Beamon continued to accumulate points and rarely-used Zach Noble thrilled his teammates with a shot on target from outside the arc to push Wolves over the century mark as the full-time hooter sounded. Parrish led the scoring with 27 points while Beamon tallied 21 points and Navajas 19.
“We stamped our authority on the match from early on,” said James. “The players approached the game in the right way and once we got comfortably ahead we had the chance to try out a few different sets and line-ups.”
Tip off at the University of Worcester Arena against the Sharks is 7.30pm.