WORCESTER Wolves concluded their 2023/24 National Basketball League Division Two campaign in style with a 70-61 success against Derbyshire Arrows on Sunday.

A large crowd was on hand at the University of Worcester Arena to applaud the victory and also watch Wolves Coach Dean Blake take the microphone to pay tribute to a bunch of his roster who donned the team’s colours for the very last time.

"We never really got a grip on the game until late," said Blake. "But I said to the players it’s our last game all together and we’ve got a lot of fans here so let’s go out and enjoy ourselves.

"My aim was to share out minutes across the squad. I’d like to have done that more in the second half but of course we also wanted to win the game, so some guys had to sacrifice minutes.

"In the end we got the job done and sent everyone off with a win. I’m proud of everyone on the team and especially grateful to the players who are now moving on."

Two of the departing players contributed early scores. Matei Balteanu provided spin moves and an up and under basket while Humberto Ferreira jabbed the ball away from a Derbyshire attacker and swept to the hoop.

Another departee, Wilfrid Santhe, set up a double of three-point plays for first-year man Finn Rennie.

A 20-20 tie entering the second quarter was broken by a Zak Riabi layup and a Ferreira baseline drive and powerful slam extended the advantage. By half-time, Arrows had moved into a 36-33 edge.

An Aryan Davoodi scoop and a Balteanu hook regained the lead and Rennie produced a series of aggressive drives to put Wolves 49-46 to the good by the close of the third period.

Emmanuel Yeboah pump-faked to his first points of the afternoon and followed up with a three-pointer to draw his side clear at 58-49 with four minutes remaining.

Santhe put his head down and danced around defenders with ease and thrilled fans when combining in classic one-two fashion with his partner-in-crime Balteanu to finalise the victory.

"That late Santhe to Balteanu move typified what they have done time and again for us," added Blake.

"Wilf and Matei have represented and been the face of this club in the three years we have been in the NBL."

Balteanu led the scoring with 15 points as well as pulling down ten rebounds. Santhe also grabbed ten boards to go alongside eight points. Ferreira similarly notched eight points and an impressive nine rebounds. Rennie tabbed 13 points.

Worcester end their season in mid-table with a 10-12 win-loss record. 

"This has been a transition year for us,” added Blake. “This squad has truly been made up of students at the University and that’s how it will continue.

"The challenge for us is to recruit high-level players who can make an impact straightaway.

"We want to build a strong team that can compete and hopefully at some point in the future get Worcester Wolves up into Division One."