WORCESTER Wolves have reached the National Basketball League Division Three Playoff Final after a dramatic 59-56 win over London Thunder in a topsy-turvy semi-final at the University of Worcester Arena.

With just three points separating the sides heading into the dying seconds, Thunder missed a potential game levelling three-point shot to spark wild celebrations as the Wolves progressed to the final in Manchester in under two weeks time to face Teeside Lions.

Matei Balteanu rebounded a Wilfrid Santhe miss to commence the Worcester scoring before Santhe and Lucas McGregor both sank three-pointers to aid a 16-13 first quarter edge.

Ian Vivero-Rodriguez handed off for Austin Payne to convert, as well as netting five points of his own, but it would be London who headed to the half-time locker rooms with a 30-28 advantage.

The second half began in unsettling fashion for Wolves as they struggled to make an impression on the Thunder basket. A paltry three foul shots were all the hosts had to show in the initial six minutes as they watched London stride 39-31 ahead.

However, it now became Worcester’s time to shine. A McGregor stop-go dribble finally fired the offense. Vivero-Rodriguez joined the fun, Payne made the most of being fouled in the act of scoring and McGregor floated in a rainbow triple to finalise a stunning fourteen-point burst.

44-41 to the good entering the final quarter was an insufficient cushion for Wolves to enjoy. With a minute-and-a-half remaining matters stood at 55-50 before a Thunder corner three closed the gap.

With 22 seconds to go Payne scored as he was impeded but failed to make the bonus free throw and as the game clock wound down, London again looked to connect from the corner of the court but the ball clanged upwards off the hoop and bounced away.

“It’s everything the players deserve, they’ve worked hard all this week and worked hard all season,” praised Blake. “Everyone’s contributed and everyone’s given their all for forty minutes to get it done.”

“We’re expecting the final to be a really tough game between the two best teams in the division, but we’re going there full of confidence. Bring it on – April 23rd – bring it on.”

“We’re not always going to be ahead. Sometimes we’ve got to find a different way to win,” added Blake.

“Basketball can be a game of runs – I kept saying to the guys, just keep going – keep going, regardless of anything.”

“I’m so glad that we got the win to reward our fans for all their amazing support this season and to give them the chance to come with us up to Manchester,” concluded Blake.