Worcester Wolves 95 Cheshire Jets 79

First published in Worcester Wolves

WORCESTER Wolves overpowered Cheshire Jets in the final quarter to rack up a comfortable win at the University of Worcester.

Outstanding three-point shooting and a fine all-round team performance were the main features as Wolves finished the British Basketball League encounter with five players in double-digits.

Richie Gordon was mightily impressive in registering a double-double of statistics, top-scoring for the Wolves with 23 points, to go along with 14 rebounds.

Arnas Kazlauskas followed closely with 22 points, while Tommy Freeman and Sherrad Prezzie-Blue tallied 15 and 14 respectively. Bill Cole led the Cheshire scorers with 18 points.

However, there was a worrying moment in the closing stages as Freeman collided with team-mate Carlos Fernandez, with the latter needing hospital treatment and six stitches in a head wound.

Worcester director of basketball Paul James said of the match: “It was tight early on as both teams felt each other out, but in the fourth quarter we played impressive defence and executed well on offence for another victory.”

It was the visitors who started well but Wolves finished the first quarter with a strong 13-6 run thanks mainly to successive triples from David Watts and Kazlauskas, giving them a 26-20 advantage.

There was a sense of déjà vu when the same two players hit back-to-back three-pointers once more to push Worcester’s lead out to 32-22 a minute into the second period.

However, the Jets came storming back as they scored 10 of the next 12 points to make it a one shot game at 34-32 midway through the quarter.

English guard Callum Jones and Lithuanian Alex Zimnickas responded well to getting extended time on court as several Wolves starters found foul trouble, helping their side to once more pull clear.

A 44-39 half-time lead was quickly added to by Gordon and Freeman before Fernandez got in on the act as Worcester stormed into 68-58 lead.

Wolves again imposed their authority shortly after the start of the final period. This time Gordon rammed home a powerful dunk, quickly following up with consecutive blocks of Cheshire scoring attempts.

Once Kazlauskas nailed the last of his five baskets from distance, the Wolves led 73-62 and the visitors were in a hole.

Three points from Cole were the only addition to the Jets’ score over the next five minutes, while a staccato burst of scoring from point guard Prezzie-Blue was enough to establish a comfortable 82-65 cushion.

Freeman and Fernandez colliding gave cause for concern late on before the game wound down to the inevitable victory for the hosts.

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