Worcester Wolves logged their first win of this year’s British Basketball League after overcoming Cheshire Phoenix 91-78 at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.
Wolves maintained a near double-figure lead for most of the evening but had to stay focused in order to quell a feisty opponent buoyed by success in three of their four outings so far this season.
Worcester held a 14-11 edge going into the last minute of the opening quarter, but closed out the period with a flourish. Dallin Bachynski supplied a clever pass for fellow big man Alex Navajas to convert. George Beamon sank a couple of free throws and Jermel Kennedy stole Cheshire’s next possession for an easy lay-up.
Phoenix replied with a 6-0 run of their own as the second period began, with ex- Worcester forward Orlan Jackman debuting on the scoresheet.
Ashton Khan twice sped to the basket before another former home favourite, Andrew Bachman, took the spotlight. After losing the ball when hustled out of bounds, Bachman was then pressured into a clumsy travel. Two more dashes to the hoop from Khan finalised a 42-33 half-time lead for the hosts.
Wolves’ growing confidence carried over into the third quarter. When Bachynski swung on the rim there was time for shoulder bumps with his team mates once he returned to the ground. Continuing razzle-dazzle from Khan maximised the gap between the sides at 67-50 with a couple of minutes remaining in the period.
A burst of Cheshire scoring pulled the teams closer together at 69-61 entering the final quarter, but Wolves had enough in the tank to keep their visitors at bay.
Coach Paul James expressed his relief at getting the win, saying:
“It’s great to get our first success in the league. We’ve only really played well in parts of matches before tonight. This was a more consistent display from us in a game that we had to win by hook or by crook.”
Khan top-scored with 17 points, closely followed by Bachynski on 16 points, who also pulled down 11 rebounds. American duo Brandon Parrish and Trayvon Palmer tallied 14 and 13 points respectively. Kennedy rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points
“We had a nice spread of guys who got open looks and made their shots,” added James.
Wolves will next take on Glasgow Rocks in consecutive matches. Sunday 5 November sees the sides face off in Scotland in the BBL Cup Quarter-Finals. On Friday 10 November Rocks will make the trip south to the University of Worcester Arena for a league encounter.
James is anticipating a challenging doubleheader, saying:
“Glasgow are a team on a roll at the moment. We will need to do our homework and prepare well.
“We got off the mark today and we obviously want to start climbing up the table so the match in a fortnight will be very important.
“Ahead of that we of course meet them in the Cup. That’s a one-off game so we will be going up to Scotland ready to leave it all on the floor.”
Tickets for our home league fixture against Glasgow Rocks can be found here.
Match report by Colin Taylor
Photo credit: Razorlight Imagery