WORCESTER Wolves made it a weekend to remember as they easily swept Mersey Tigers aside on Saturday night before trouncing Cheshire Jets on the road yesterday.
The University of Worcester-based side thrashed the Tigers 98-48 in the British Basketball League and followed that up with a 98-59 success at the Jets.
With the Tigers’ outcome of the match never in doubt, this was an opportunity for all of Paul James’ squad to get valuable minutes ahead of what are likely to be much sterner tests as the season progresses.
New Mersey signing, French centre Rudy Etilopy, got the night’s scoring underway, but this was to be the only time his side would hold a lead. A long-distance basket from Wolves forward Stan Ocitti and three points from team-mate Alex Owumi soon put Worcester into a 6-4 advantage.
The Tigers were held scoreless for the next six minutes of the game while the Wolves tallied a further 19 points. Consecutive three-pointers from young forward Daniel Belgrave was the signal for several Wolves’ starters to be pulled to the side-lines as the hosts continued to show little mercy.
A 30-8 first-quarter advantage was quickly added to when a bullet assist from Calvin Mourant-Hudson was slotted home by Kalil Irving. A moment later, the same players combined once more with a powerful dunk from Irving being the end-result.
Surrounded by many less-experienced colleagues, Lithuanian veteran Arnas Kazlauskas joined in the scoring frenzy when floating home a double of scores from distance, taking his side to 47-12 ahead with four minutes of the first-half remaining.
Coming out of the locker rooms already leading comfortably 57-23, a more even third period ensued. The faith of Tigers’ coach Tony Walsh in his young charges was repaid with some brave drives to the basket from forwards Ryan Gallagher and Kieran Forsythe, helping to put the brakes on the Wolves lead.
However, an 80-43 advantage was once more widened in the final quarter of play as 19-year-old England junior Harry Turner added to a couple of first-half points when connecting with a triple and guard Karl Noyer doubled his scoring output for the season so far when sinking a brace of outside shots.
The Worcester onslaught continued, with dunks from Irving and from Stuart Thomson, while stifling defensive play limited the visitors to just five further points in the match.
James said: “We did what had to do against them. It was an opportunity for our bench players to get extended minutes. It was a chance for me to see how they performed and they generally did well.”
Owumi led the Worcester scorers with 19 points in only 18 minutes of action, followed by Irving with a season-high 13 points. Etilopy was the only player in double figures for Mersey, notching 12 points.
Meanwhile, Belgrave led the scoring for the Wolves at Cheshire with 26 points, while Owumi added 18 with Thomson scoring 13.