Triumph in play-off delights Wolfpack

Triumph in play-off delights Wolfpack

Triumph in play-off delights Wolfpack

First published in Sport
Last updated
Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by

WORCESTER Wolves sparked incredible scenes at Wembley Arena as they outclassed Newcastle Eagles to win the British Basketball League play-off final.

Led by 30 points from Most Valuable Player Zaire Taylor, Wolves led a heart-thumping encounter from almost start to finish to record an historic 90-78 victory.

They were roared to the triumph, which came just weeks after capturing the BBL Trophy, by hundreds of their jubilant fans at a packed Wembley.

It capped a remarkable season for the University Arena club who have now won two of the four competitions and come within a whisker of winning the league.

Wolves stormed into a 14-point lead at the end of a pulsating first quarter but Eagles, inspired by 16 first-half points from Darius Defoe, dominated the second to cut the lead to 48-42 at half-time.

But 13 points from the hand of talisman Taylor during a dominant third quarter for the Wolves took Paul James’ side 20 clear heading into the final period.

Despite a delay to tip-off due to technical trouble with the scoring clock, it was an explosive start to the contest. Both sides traded baskets, punctuated by several handling errors, but it Wolves who stamped their authority on the game and took control.

They rattled Eagles as the first quarter progressed, forcing several turnovers, rebounding with aplomb and taking their chances.

By the end of the first stanza, Wolves had opened up a commanding 14-point lead. Taylor scored seven points but three pointers from captain Alex Owumi, Kail Williams and Kalil Irving gave Worcester clear breathing space. Cheered on by a vociferous support that outnumbered the Newcastle following, Worcester continued their charge in the early stages of the second quarter.

But the Eagles showed why they won the Championship by hitting back and cut the deficit to eight points after scoring 12 points in three minutes. That became six at one stage as Wolves began to come up dry, adding just eight points to their tally in five and a half minutes.

Newcastle, aided by some strong defence, got to within one point two minutes before half-time but a superb three from Taylor right on the half-time buzzer ensured Wolves took a six-point lead at 48-42 back to the changing rooms.

There was no let up in the intensity at the start of the third quarter with Wolves establishing an 11-point cushion at 57-46 midway through.

Tempers briefly flared when Defoe squared up to Jamal Williams, with both penalised for technical fouls.

But then it became the Taylor show as the point guard sunk three breakaway baskets and a three-pointer to take his side 20 points clear, winning the quarter 24-10.

Threes from Taylor and Jamal Williams helped Wolves to a 82-67 advantage with five minutes to go.

Charles Smith gave the Eagles hope with two threes in quick succession but their frustration showed and Malik Cooke foul out with three minutes left.

As the clock ticked down, it became apparent that Wolves, with their supporters chanting for all they were worth, would triumph and so it proved.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:55pm Sun 11 May 14

MrV says...

Well done to the Wolves. Tremendous performance by the players and FANS. It was difficult to tell if anyone else in the arena was making any noise as every Wolves fan gave everything they had.

Difficult to give numbers but there were 4 coach loads plus many others who made their own way. Reading the postings beforehand that Wembley arena did not permit drums, horns etc concerns were raised that the atmosphere might have been affected. No such problems the Wolves were loud and they were going to enjoy the occasion for all they were worth.

After all who knows when we shall ever see the likes of this day again.

How wonderful that a city the size of Worcester can boast such a successful team.

Come on Wolves.
Well done to the Wolves. Tremendous performance by the players and FANS. It was difficult to tell if anyone else in the arena was making any noise as every Wolves fan gave everything they had. Difficult to give numbers but there were 4 coach loads plus many others who made their own way. Reading the postings beforehand that Wembley arena did not permit drums, horns etc concerns were raised that the atmosphere might have been affected. No such problems the Wolves were loud and they were going to enjoy the occasion for all they were worth. After all who knows when we shall ever see the likes of this day again. How wonderful that a city the size of Worcester can boast such a successful team. Come on Wolves. MrV
  • Score: 10

12:49pm Mon 12 May 14

CarlWPF says...

What a brilliant, solid performance and as has already been said - the fans clearly played their part in the victory too. The mental fortitude, belief and conviction of the players should not be underestimated. We watched them go fifteen points behind at the Arena last week in the second leg of the semi-final (though at that stage they still had a five point aggregate cushion). But they turned things around to win the match with outright victories in both legs. Similarly yesterday when a sizable lead was whittled down to a solitary point by a resurgent Eagles side, they dug in and did what they had to do. A lesser team (or even an earlier Wolves line-up from not too long ago) might have caved in. But not today's Worcester Wolves.

Paul James has done an outstanding job with the team and clearly gets the very best out of some extremely talented players. Credit should also go to Mick Donovan and the rest of the staff at the University of Worcester. Places like Manchester, Liverpool and London may "own" football but when it comes to basketball, Worcester is definitely on the map! This city has so many things to be proud of and Worcester Wolves certainly add to that sense of civic pride. Go Wolves!
What a brilliant, solid performance and as has already been said - the fans clearly played their part in the victory too. The mental fortitude, belief and conviction of the players should not be underestimated. We watched them go fifteen points behind at the Arena last week in the second leg of the semi-final (though at that stage they still had a five point aggregate cushion). But they turned things around to win the match with outright victories in both legs. Similarly yesterday when a sizable lead was whittled down to a solitary point by a resurgent Eagles side, they dug in and did what they had to do. A lesser team (or even an earlier Wolves line-up from not too long ago) might have caved in. But not today's Worcester Wolves. Paul James has done an outstanding job with the team and clearly gets the very best out of some extremely talented players. Credit should also go to Mick Donovan and the rest of the staff at the University of Worcester. Places like Manchester, Liverpool and London may "own" football but when it comes to basketball, Worcester is definitely on the map! This city has so many things to be proud of and Worcester Wolves certainly add to that sense of civic pride. Go Wolves! CarlWPF
  • Score: 7
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree