WORCESTER Wolves' second-half comeback was cut short as they ended their regular season with a narrow 80-87 defeat to St Helens Saints in front of 1100 fans at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.

Wolves tumbled into a 73-52 third-quarter hole before thrilling a bumper attendance of 1108 fans with a rip-roaring final ten minutes that left St Helens relieved to escape from the city with an 87-80 success.

The result confirms Saints’ second place in the National Basketball League Division Two table behind City of Birmingham Rockets and that Worcester and Bristol Hurricanes will take the third and fourth seedings in the post-season playoffs.

"You can’t afford to fall so far behind against good teams like St Helens,” said Wolves' coach Dean Blake.

"We left it a little bit too late to come back, but I’m pleased we didn’t fold and that late
on we showed just what this team is capable of.

"And what a crowd we’ve had watching us again today. Our fans this year have been
absolutely amazing. No words I can say can do justice to the support we get from the
people of Worcester."

Wolves were forced into an early time out after their former guard Disraeli Lufadeju
dunked the ball home for a 9-2 lead.

The hosts moved at barely above pedestrian pace, with only Lucas McGregor’s eleven points making an inroad into Saints’ 28-15 runaway first-quarter advantage.

Eleven first-half turnovers contributed heavily to Worcester’s woes and matters worsened as they suffered under a barrage of three-pointers. By half-time St Helens had connected a whopping seven times from beyond the perimeter to maintain 48-33 control.

Worcester’s wayward passes and careless ball-handling continued after the break while Saints’ Connor Murtagh perpetuated the log-range torment.

Not satisfied with one triple and then a follow up four-pointer when fouled in the act of
scoring, Murtagh threw his arms up in triumph as he dropped two more long-rangers
amongst his side’s overwhelming third-quarter lead.

However, Worcester now suddenly awoke from their slumbers. Evan Longman set up three-pointers for Wilfrid Santhe and for McGregor and when McGregor sank another St Helens urgently called for a break.

An enlivened Longman produced a circus spin to the hoop and McGregor profited with a technical free throw awarded after St Helens displayed their frustration at seeing their dominance ebb away.

A 12-0 surge to begin the fourth quarter brought previously-quietened spectators to their feet and pumped belief through the Wolves players.

Ian Vivero-Rodriguez joined the scoring party to haul matters back to 79-76 entering
the final two minutes of the match. But as both teams now eyed the finish-line, Saints were the ones able to do just enough to hold on for the spoils.

Wolves will not know for certain who they will face in the opening round of the playoffs until the remainder of this weekend’s fixtures are concluded but do know that they will be travelling south to meet either London Elite or Brighton Bears.