Worcester Wolves 70 Sheffield Sharks 83

THIRTEEN was the unlucky number for Worcester Wolves last night as their long unbeaten run was finally ended by Sheffield Sharks.

After 12 wins in a row a sub-par performance in their last home fixture of the regular season led to an 83-70 defeat and a fifth-place finish in the British Basketball League.

Irrespective of the result of tomorrow's trip to Leicester Riders Wolves’ position in the table will be unaltered, setting up a two-legged play-off quarter-final against either Glasgow Rocks or Sheffield.

After an even first quarter Sharks’ superior offensive efficiency put them 40-32 ahead by half-time and allowed them to keep their distance until the end.

Coach Paul James said: “Essentially we didn’t score enough.

"We didn’t share the ball enough and we didn’t run our offences particularly well.

"In the third quarter we managed to miss seven lay-ups in a row. That summed up our night.”

With a couple of minutes left in the opening period Wolves trailed 18-12 before Ashton Khan was introduced to the action.

His three-pointer and a dazzling spin move to the hoop tied matters up at 22-22.

Worcester struggled to impact the scoreboard in the second quarter.

Another basket for Khan, a couple for Alex Navajas and a single score for Jermel Kennedy were paltry returns for a usually high-powered offence.

Sheffield dawdled out of the half-time locker rooms to take to the court without a warm-up.

It made little difference to their output as they blasted in consecutive threes.

By contrast Wolves were unable to puncture their opponent’s defences.

When they got close to the basket they were unable to tip the ball home and shots from distance would too often fall short.

A 60-50 deficit entering the final quarter was widened by a desperation triple from Tony Wroblicky as he fell backwards.

A double of further scores for the Sheffield big man put his team comfortably ahead at 74-59 as the game wound down and the cushion was maintained until the final buzzer.

Khan led Wolves’ scorers with 14 points followed by Danny Huffor on 12.

Wroblicky dominated the visitors’ statistics with 25 points and 13 rebounds.

Asked if he would be worried about meeting the same opponents in the first round of the post-season play-offs James replied: “We will need to be prepared but not worried.

"We know we are a much better side than we showed. Allied to that Mo Walker should be back which gives us another weapon.

“Actually this loss might have come at the right time for us - to concentrate our minds on what we need to do if we want to achieve success in the play-offs.”

Wolves round out their regular season tomorrow (4pm) with a visit to top-of-the-table Leicester Riders.

“This will be an opportunity to play hard against a team we could meet again later in the play-offs. We want to end the season on a good note and put on a better display than we did against Sheffield,” added James.