WORCESTER Wolves went down to a 72-57 defeat at the hands of title-chasing St Helens Saints in their National Basketball League Division Two encounter at the University of Worcester Arena on Sunday.

After staying in the contest for the opening ten minutes of the afternoon, eighth-placed Wolves eventually submitted to the superior experience of a Saints side boasting several BBL veterans.

The scoreboard barely moved in the early part of the proceedings as St Helens nudged into a 7-4 lead after seven minutes had elapsed.

A dribble drive from James Harrop and outside shots from Aryan Davoodi and Zak Riabi accelerated the scoring.

A Riabi three-point play drew the sides together by the final minute of the opening quarter ahead of Saints regaining control with a late triple.

The visitors’ advantage extended to 24-16 as the second period began before the introduction to the court of Tom Grayling offered some resistance.

After putting back a Davoodi miss, Grayling accepted assists from Wilfrid Santhe and Jacob Dearman and continued to push forward for a swift ten points.

Another Saints three-pointer just ahead of the interval buzzer saw them stride into the locker rooms holding sway at 39-29.

Inspired by forcing their opponents into a shot-clock violation on the first possession of the second half, Worcester quickly halved the deficit to 41-35.

Santhe inbounded the ball to an unmarked Emmanuel Yeboah to further close matters to 49-45 with three minutes left in the third quarter before St Helens re-asserted control to move into the final period 57-48 ahead.

With their outside shots repeatedly missing the target, the home side now only had a couple of Matei Balteanu inside baskets to show on offense.

Saints in the meantime suffered no such attacking difficulties and when lively forward Wesley Iwediebo twirled around for a spectacular dunk, and a 66-50 cushion, the match was effectively decided.

Grayling with 13 points and ten points apiece for Balteanu and Riabi were the hosts’ only double-digit scorers. Ex-Worcester guard Disraeli Lufadeju enjoyed leading the way for his current employers with a dozen points.