Wolves set for Sharks showdown in the Trophy

Worcester News: (4232649) (4232649)

WORCESTER Wolves are determined to make up for last year's British Basketball League Trophy heartache by reaching the final this time around.

The University Arena side, who have never played in a major final, have been drawn against defending champions Sheffield Sharks in the two-legged semi-finals following their 86-73 win at Newcastle Eagles.

Twelve months ago, current Championship leaders Wolves missed out on the final after losing by just seven points to Leicester Riders on aggregate.

Now they are focused on making sure history doesn't repeat itself when they face the Sharks.

Director of basketball Paul James said: "One of the things I wanted to do when I came here was to get to finals and to do that you have got to get to semi-finals.

"We beat Newcastle last year at the same stage but drew Leicester in the semis and missed out narrowly on aggregate.

"I am delighted that we have been able to come back again and give ourselves another opportunity."

The first leg will take place at Sheffield's English Institute of Sport base on Friday, March 7, with the return at the University Arena on Wednesday, March 12 (7.30pm).

The Championship match between the sides, which was originally scheduled for March 7 at the EIS, will now be rearranged.

Both Trophy matches needed to be played before Sunday, March 16, the same weekend as Worcester hope to be involved in the British Universities and Colleges Sport quarter-finals and semi-finals.

"The BUCS is a very important competition for us and we want to give ourselves a good chance in both," James said.

Worcester's quarter-final triumph at Newcastle, who they host in the Championship on Friday, coupled with the 117-60 thrashing of Birmingham Knights, extended their winning streak to 14 matches in all competitions.

Jamal Williams was the star of the show against the Eagles, scoring 23 points, and Stefan Djukic hit 30 against the Knights, while centre Andreas Schreiber missed both games through illness.

"I thought it was a really solid performance from us against Newcastle," James said. "It was a game between two teams in form but we proved to have a little bit more than they did.

"We were without Andreas through sickness so it shows the strength that we have got in our team."

He continued: "It was comfortable against Birmingham but we treated them as though we were playing Newcastle or Sheffield and showed them the same respect.

"I thought it was an extremely professional performance."

The other trophy semi-final is between Glasgow Rocks and Cheshire Phoenix, with the final due to be held at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Sunday, March 30.

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