THERE was success for Wolves juniors as they travelled to University of Essex for the East Region Under-15 3-on-3 tournament, on Sunday.The club sent two girls' and a boys' team to the competition which was being used as the first stage of selection for
2006 and 2007 born England national teams, and the girls Black team reached the final before losing to Brentwood Fire. The Black team, comprising of Amye Swinney, Lila Birtwisle and Caitlin Ryan, opened with a comfortable 12-5 win against Luton, while the Whites - Tiff Tyson, Lilly Harkness and Jemima Uzoka - went down 9-3 against Ipswich The roles were reversed in the second set of games as Blacks lost 13-7 versus Ipswich and Whites hammered Luton 17-3 before a battle of the Wolves teams saw Blacks edge out their club-mates 10-8. The Black found Fire's 6'2" centre too much to handle as they lost 14-10 in the fourth game, while Whites lost 11-7 against Braintree Blue Devils. While the Whites had a rest during the fifth game, Blacks gained revenge for their club with a 13-8 win versus Braintree. Whites then defeated a combined Cambridge and Norfolk side 6-3 while the Blacks rested and that break obviously worked as they then beat Cambridge/Norfolk 14-6 while the Whites gave Fire a scare before going down 9-7. The final table saw Black finish third with a 4-2 record while Whites were one of three teams to end with a 2-4 record and missed out on a place in the semi-final on points scored tiebreaker. The semi-final proved to be a thriller as Blacks faced Ipswich, with the teams exchanging baskets and the biggest lead seeing Ipswich 9-7 ahead with two minutes remaining. But Wolves fought back and with Ryan taking her tally to eight points in the game, it was tied at 10 heading into the last 20 seconds. Ryan was fouled and sent to the free-throw line where she missed her shot but grabbed the rebound and scored the winning basket with three seconds on the clock. Unlike follow title contenders Ipswich and Brentwood, the two Wolves teams didn't have a fourth player to act a substitute and tiredness played a part in the final against Fire as their centre again proved unguardable at times as the Essex side ran out 16-8 winners. But with five of the six Wolves players eligible for next season it was a positive day for the club. The afternoon saw a boys' side comprising of Alex Riley, Ben Hodges, Ethan Downing and Harry Lupton missed out on a place in the semi-final as Brentwood Leopards sunk a long range buzzer-beater to force a 7-7 draw and leave them in fifth spot. Wolves lost their opening pair of games against Cambridge Cats 1 (9-6) and Ipswich (9-8) before bouncing back to beat Essex Rebels 11-10 before hammering West Suffolk 15-5. Their fifth game saw a 13-7 defeat against Cambridge Cats 2 before Norwich were beaten 8-4, but a 14-5 loss against Fire saw them go into the final game needing a win only to see that last second score end their dreams. In common with the girls, the majority of their squad are eligible for next season's East of England programme.
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