Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Worcester Wolves 141 Leicester Riders 148 (on aggregate)
11:18am Monday 4th March 2013 in Sport
WORCESTER Wolves fought ferociously to overturn a nine-point deficit from the first leg of their BBL Trophy semi-final when visiting Leicester Riders, but eventually slipped to a 148-141 defeat on aggregate over the two legs.
While Worcester can be proud to have inflicted the Riders’ first defeat in Leicester since February of last year, their 68-66 victory was not enough to secure the prize of a final in Glasgow against Sheffield Sharks.
In a low-scoring affair, the Wolves gradually chipped away at their host’s advantage, eventually taking a game night lead in the third quarter, and a one-point aggregate lead with five minutes left in the contest.
However, Leicester’s top-scorer from the first leg, Zaire Taylor, was once more the man with the calm hand on the tiller, hitting a couple of late three-pointers to suppress the Wolves.
Centre Arturas Masiulis notched Wolves’ first three points, before his fellow Lithuanian, Arnas Kazlauskas, then spun around and laid in the next Worcester basket, to leave the score at 9-5 in favour of Leicester.
As the first quarter buzzer sounded Kazlauskas floated in a long-distance shot to lessen the deficit to 15-13.
By three minutes into the second period, a double of scores from Riders’ Great Britain star Andrew Sullivan had helped his side to 23-16, and prompted a time out from Wolves’ coach Paul James.
The break in play did little to slow the Leicester run of success over the next four minutes, with their lead standing at 34-22 after Jorge Calvo delighted spectators with a behind-the-back pass to forward Anthony Rowe.
However, an 8-0 burst from the Wolves closed the first-half, including five points from guard Alex Owumi.
The visitors’ momentum carried over into the early part of the third period as 10 more points from Owumi, in a 12-2 surge, took Worcester to a 42-36 advantage.
A trio of scores from Taylor then briefly pushed Leicester ahead, until Wolves’ play-maker Sherrad Prezzie-Blue opened his account with a three-pointer.
Prezzie-Blue sank another triple but immediately watched Sullivan do the same, leaving Wolves in front at 51-49.
Owumi was able to grab the rebound of a Masiulis shot attempt and convert it and Prezzie-Blue was again on target from outside the arc.
Prezzie-Blue and Owumi steadily moved their team’s half of the scoreboard, thrilling a large throng of Worcester fans who finally witnessed a single-point aggregate lead, at 63-53 with five minutes to go.
Unfortunately the Wolves’ offensive production was to splutter for the remainder of the evening, only being increased by a few meagre points from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Leicester recovered their scoring touch, with their talisman Taylor coming to the fore.
With a minute-and-a-half left and leading 68-62, the visitors still had a chance to take overall victory, but Taylor cruelly sank another triple.
A minute later Taylor made one of two foul shots to move his side even closer at 68-66, and there was insufficient time left for Worcester to widen their margin of victory.