Sunday, 17 February 2013

Wolves Bite Lions in the BBL

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 16 February 2013 at the University of Worcester Sports Centre
Worcester Wolves 98 London Lions 91 (2OT)
British Basketball League
Court #15 on my hoopshopping list – am here because I was a few miles away in Stourbridge for the football earlier today.
Pre-match preparation
Two mid-table sides, albeit with the hosts in a better position on games played.  Both sides will be hoping to be in the top eight play-off positions but neither have any realistic hope of challenging for the title.  Wolves had a thumping win over bottom team Mersey Tigers last night.
This match in one sentence
Wolves made hard work of beating the Lions, who clawed back deficits in the last seconds of both regulation time and the first period of overtime.
So what?
With Sunday’s results still to come, Wolves are in sixth place with a decent gap, and Lions are edged out of the playoff positions after Cheshire Phoenix nicked a surprise win at league leaders Newcastle Eagles in this round of games.
The drama unfolds
It was an even and fast-paced first quarter.  Lions led at 4-6 with a Mike Martin double and then at 8-9, but there were spectacular blocks from both teams.  Wolves got into foul trouble, but three-pointers kept them just in front.  They opened up a 7pt lead at 18-11 before being pegged back, and it was 20-17 before Arturus Masiulis, who’d had an impressive start to the game, popped in a three on the buzzer.  23-17 at the end of the 1st quarter

My scene-setter clip (the lighting isn’t great) has the score going out to 26-17 and Lions getting into foulcount trouble this time.  Wolves are in white.

Wolves gradually got on top and had leads of 28-22 and 32-24.  They just executed their plays more efficiently – I imagine their percentages were just a bit higher all-round.  At 42-33, Wolves called a timeout with only 1s left on the clock, only for Lions to steal the ball and Orlan Jackman got an outrageous three-pointer to keep the gap at six.  42-36 at half time

A three from Adrien Sturt and a 2+1 from Mike Martin helped to get the Lions back to 44-22 and the next clip ends with the scores level at 49-49 with another Sturt triple.

However, Wolves opened the gap to five and then nine again very quickly – a three from Arnas Kaslauskas only just beat the shot clock.  Lions were still not down and out, though, and Tayo Ogedengbe added two on the buzzer to a three so that we had the same gap for the third time in a row.  67-61 at the end of the 3rd quarter

The next clip ends at 72-63.

Wolves pulled out a gap of 11 and it was still 9 with 6m20s left.  It was down to 7 at 74-67 with 4m24s to go, and then Sturt scored another three to get it back to 74-70.  However, with Lions in foul trouble again the game was still firmly in Wolves’ control – or should have been.  Timeout was called at 77-73 with 46 seconds on the clock.  Ogedengbe hit one from two free-throws and Wolves called a timeout after their next attack left them with only 3s on the shot-clock and 19.6s on the gameclock.  Here are the clips:

From the restart, a controversial offensive foul call against Kazlauskas put Wolves in foulcount trouble and we had further TOs at 17.3s and 11.4s after Sturt had been called for a travelling violation.

Alexi Owumi hit one of two free-throws to take Wolves to 78-74 with 9s to go.

A big three from Ogedengbe led to a TO call with 6.6s and a one-point margin.  A Lions tactical foul on the restart sent Owumi to the line again but once again he only scored the second – and there was just enough time for Lions' Perry Lawson to burst through the middle for a two-point layup to level the scores. I only just catch the moment in Clip 8.  Technical and absorbing.  79-79 at the end of the 4th quarter

Overtime is five more minutes.  Ogedengbe was the first player to sit down for the duration has he reached the personal foul limit of five.  Wolves led again at 82-79, but here’s a clip which has the scores levelling at 86-86 with a home timeout called at 2.4s on the clock.  Nothing came of it, so we went into a second spell of overtime.  86-86 at the end of the first period of overtime

Wolves had now lost Kaslauskas, and Lions lost Martin.  Two free throws gave a six-point lead to Wolves at 93-87 as other players reached the five-foul limit.  The game ended in last-ditch timeout ploys as finally the Lions ran out of resilience.  Final score 98-91

The programme

What Next?
Half-term week, so could be some last-minute decisions depending on weather and other commitments, so follow @GrahamYapp for details.

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