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Worcester Wolves secure victory over Cheshire Phoenix
10:37am Monday 14th October 2013 in Sport
FOR the second game in a row, Worcester Wolves fought tooth and nail to drag themselves back from a late deficit and eventually triumph after overtime.
On Thursday, they won 63-62 at London Lions and on Friday they defeated a shell-shocked Cheshire Phoenix after a titanic battle.
Another big crowd was on hand at the University Arena to witness the Wolves maintain their unbeaten start to the season and now go clear at the top of the British Basketball League.
After playing free-flowing basketball early in the encounter, Wolves’ exertions of the night before seemed to take their toll as the offence thereafter dried up.
In the dying seconds of the game, a steal and two crucial free throws from Zaire Taylor thrillingly took the evening into an extra period.
Ex-Worcester forward Kai Williams marked his return to the city by opening the scoring, but responses from Stefan Djukic, Alex Owumi and then Kai’s elder brother, Jamal, put Wolves in front at 7-2.
A prolonged exchange of three-pointers was the feature of the initial quarter.
Cheshire shooting guard Dominique Coleman hit a trio of long-range scores, but this feat was matched by Wolves’ Williams, helping his side to a 31-23 lead after 10 minutes.
The first warnings of a tight contest came when Phoenix took three baskets at the beginning of the second quarter.
Although the hosts re-established a cushion at 42-31 with three minutes of the first-half to go, Coleman once more stepped to the fore from long distance, taking Phoenix into the interval trailing by just 47-43.
After the break, Kai Williams again took the honour of beginning the scoring, and then made two free throws after being fouled by his sibling, levelling the match at 47-47.
The Cheshire assault continued, with Owumi and centre Will Creekmore being the only Wolves players able to score from the field during a 26-14 tear for the visitors. A 61-69 deficit only worsened as the fourth quarter went on.
With six minutes remaining, Djukic was whistled for a technical foul after a tussle with Phoenix veteran Shawn Myers, and left Wolves staring up at their largest arrears of the evening at 77-65.
A double of close-range baskets from Creekmore and one from outside the arc by Taylor finally re-ignited Worcester’s offence, forcing a Cheshire time out.
At a minute remaining and his side still behind 81-77, it was the turn of Wolves’ director of basketball Paul James to call for a break in play. From the re-start, Taylor floated in another triple and, with just 10 seconds to go, the home crowd erupted after seeing Taylor pounce on a wayward Cheshire pass. As he sprinted towards the hoop, he was crudely hacked to the floor by Phoenix’s French forward Masse Doumbe.
The Worcester favourite regained his feet to coolly sink both of the resultant foul shots and send the contest into an extra five minutes.
In overtime, a deflated Phoenix were unable to cope with a resurgent home side. Taylor and Creekmore tallied 12 further points on the way to the comeback victory.
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