Worcester Wolves came back from a two-week break with a bang on Friday, demolishing Leeds Force 112-62 at the University of Worcester Arena to record their biggest winning margin of the season.
A dominant 31-15 opening quarter soon established Wolves’ control over proceedings, allowing them to choose when to inflict ever-harsher punishments on their beleaguered visitors.
Coach Paul James expressed his delight at seeing his charges continue the rich vein of form that has boosted them into joint-sixth place in the British Basketball League, saying:
“We are the form-team right now. We were playing well before the break and we were determined to continue playing well after it. There’s been no let up for the players, they’ve carried on working hard and tonight we put on a show.
“We came out on fire and didn’t hold back. We talked about how, if we want to be a really good team, we have to put away sides when we have them on the floor and that’s just what we did today. We were fantastic.”
Danny Huffor set the scoreboard ticking with a three-pointer. Maurice Walker took a double of scores and laid on another for Jermel Kennedy. Trevor Setty confidently swatted away a Leeds attempt and Kennedy connected again.
Matters stood at 11-1 after just four minutes, leaving Leeds calling for an urgent time out. But the onslaught continued. After his next basket, Kennedy broke into a celebratory strut along the baseline with Walker further delighting home supporters as he struck a muscleman pose after overpowering harassed Leeds defenders.
A 39-15 lead a few minutes into the second quarter was not enough, with every Worcester man keen to showcase his skills. Trey Zeigler presented the ball for Setty to slam through the hoop before receiving a likewise gift from his team-mate for his own jam.
Wolves’ advantage was 57-36 by half-time, extending to 78-51 entering the final quarter, with Walker continuing to outfight his opponents and his fellow Canadian Ashton Khan dancing to a series of scores.
Walker had the honour of bringing up the century of points with more than three minutes of the match still remaining, on his way to a game-high 25 points, to accompany a growling 12 rebounds and a handy half-dozen assists.
All eight of Wolves’ players provided impactful scoring. Huffor slotted in 16 points, Alex Navajas and Marek Klassen each tallied 13, with Setty, Ziegler and Kennedy notching 12 apiece. Khan chipped in 9 points.
The two sides meet again next Friday, 17 March, in Leeds. “We’re not going to be over-confident. I’m sure they will put together a game-plan against us next week,” added James.
“We know we have to be ready and we won’t take anyone lightly, but if we can beat teams down let’s do it and send out a message to the league.”
After the match, Wolves’ Managing Director Mick Donovan was keen to add his praise for the club’s upturn in fortunes, saying: “I’m really pleased about how we are looking at the moment.
“We’ve shown a lot of progress and now look a lot more organised. I think it’s significant that Alejandro Vaquera, our visiting basketball academic from Leon University in Spain, has been over again working with Paul and the players and has had a huge impact.”
Amongst an already-substantial University of Worcester Arena crowd were a large party from Greenhouse Sports, a London-based charity that inspires young people through sport, adding their raucous support to the players, leading Donovan to add:
“Obviously if the team are winning we get more people coming along. Our hardcore fans have remained loyal, but we’re getting a lot of new faces coming as well.
“Greenhouse Sports have brought along fifty youngsters aspiring to be basketball players who’ve had a really good day receiving player and coach development and seeing a fabulous game. It’s great that youngsters from London are coming to Worcester for a basketball experience.”
With just nine games remaining in the regular season, Wolves hold an even 12-12 win-loss record, with a fifth-place finish an achievable target in the jockeying for play-off positions.
“If we continue to make progress, if we continue to look a lot more structured and organised, if we keep our consistency, then anything is possible”, added Donovan. “We’ve always had the talent here. On our day we can beat anybody – who knows what we can achieve.”
You can purchase tickets for our next home game against league leaders Leicester Riders here