WORCESTER Wolves' promotion hopes were ended on Saturday as they fell to a 70-55 defeat to the City of Birmingham Rockets in their National Basketball League Division
Two playoff semi-final. 

Wolves had several players unavailable for selection but fought their way into a first-half lead before eventually buckling under the superior depth of top-seeded Birmingham.

Wolves quieted a raucous sell-out crowd by holding their hosts scoreless for the
opening three and a half minutes while slotting in six points of their own.

Lucas McGregor had the early hot hand, repeatedly driving strongly to the hoop and
finalising a 12-point burst with an imperious triple.

Wilfrid Santhe profited from an unsportsmanlike foul after a midcourt tussle with
Ronald Oberia and Ian Vivero-Rodriguez set up Tom Grayling to close out a 19-14
first-quarter advantage.

Rockets finally got their noses in front at 23-22 three minutes into the second quarter
before a spectacular spell of play reversed the lead and brought a throng of travelling
Worcester fans to their feet in delight.

Back-and-forth play then ensued and at the break the hosts managed to edge ahead 30-28 at the break.

The closeness of the contest carried on to a 35-35 tie by midway through the third
quarter before Wolves began to wilt and Birmingham began to create some daylight on the scoreboard.

Entering the final period trailing 46-39, a tiring Worcester were unable to prevent the
deficit widening and in the end the home side were able to pull away for victory. 

"Ultimately we didn’t have enough left in the tank against the numbers they had," said
head coach Dean Blake.

"They kept rolling players in and at the vital time we weren’t able to hold onto the game. Nevertheless, we competed and I’m proud of the effort our guys put in."

Despite missing out on back-to-back promotions, Blake reflected on what has been a positive season for the Wolves.

"We’ve had a really good year with a lot of first-year players doing well for us," he added.

"We’ve played in 24 matches this year and unfortunately fell just short of making one
more game, the Final in Manchester.

"At the same time the club has done a fabulous job off the court by pulling in some big crowds back in Worcester and attracting another big turnout of fans to follow us here to Birmingham.

"All in all it’s been a good season for us."