Division 1 Men: Match Report

Wolves' men went agonisingly close to a recording a pair of victories over the weekend before just coming up short in the second half of the double-header.


Thomas Baker's team won 88-73 at Leicester Warriors on Saturday before being edged out 92-88 by visitors Derby Trailblazers 24 hours later.


An excellent defensive performance in the third period paved the way for Wolves to complete a double over Warriors, while losing American pair AJ Roberts and Jordan Santiago in third quarter proved key as Blazers took the win on Sunday.


Santiago missed most of the first half at Leicester after suffering an ankle injury in the first minute, but returned to lead Wolves' scoring with 20 points, adding three rebounds and as many assists. Roberts finished with 16 points, 13 boards and seven assists in 39 minutes. Kane Daley added 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Obi Egbunike and Oliver Wright had 12 points apiece.


The signing of Morakinyo Williams has turned Warriors' season around, with the seven footer finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds, but Leome Francis was the only other home player in double figures with 17 points as Leicester suffered their biggest defeat since Williams joined.


Despite the loss of Santiago after just 50 seconds, Wolves stayed in touch with Roberts and Seth Wylie hitting triples before Egbunike sent them into the first break with a 21-19 lead. There was little to choose between the sides before Kane King hit back-to-back baskets to give Warriors a five point lead, only to see Wright and Daley reduce the hosts' lead to 39-38 at half-time.


Wolves opened the second half well as a pair of Wright treys and one from Daley saw them take a lead they would never lose, and the hosts were held to just 12 before Egbunike beat the buzzer with a long jump shot to send his side into the final break 64-51 ahead.

AJ Roberts

Seventeen-year-old Wright was the star the following day, leaving Wolves for the first time with 19 points as the hosts went agonisingly close to beating a side likely to finish in the top four.

Roberts and Santiago each finished with 15 points despite their early exits, with the former adding six rebounds and the latter five assists, while Ahmed Ketiri finished with 14 points and five boards and Daley added 12 points as five Wolves' players finished in double figures again.


The meeting between the teams a fortnight ago saw Wolves match Derby in the first quarter before being blown out, and after the visitors edged the first period 25-21 a repeat looked on the cards as a 14-1 run saw Blazers open a 39-23 lead after six minutes.


Wright hit a triple to break the run but Josh Guddemi's trey capped a 7-0 run as Derby opened the lead to 20 points. Wright again ended the tear with a score from downtown and Santiago also hit a trey as Wolves ended the period on an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 46-37 at half-time.


That run continued into the second half as James Cummings opened the scoring before Wright hit a three and Santiago hit five straight points to give Wolves a 47-46 lead after three minutes.

The key moment came just seconds after Wolves had gone ahead when A Ugo and Santiago were given unsportsmanlike fouls. Santiago had previously received a technical foul in the first half, resulting in his ejection.


With Wright and Roberts hitting threes Wolves stayed ahead before two foul calls on Roberts saw him leave the game with two minutes of the third period remaining. The hosts kept going with Ketiri hitting back-to-back threes before his jump shot sent the hosts into final break 69-66 ahead.


Oliver Wright

Wright hit another trey to open the fourth quarter but with Egbunike also fouling out, it was left to Wolves youngsters to finish the game.

They didn't disappoint, and back-to-back Ketiri scores put them 78-72 ahead with four minutes gone and despite a 10-0 Derby run, four straight Daley points saw them regain the lead at 86-84 heading into the final two minutes.


The pressure finally told, though, with American pair Malcolm Smith and Josh Conway each scoring four points in an 8-0 run to seal the win before - fittingly - Wright scored the final basket of the game.


Wolves make the long trip to fifth placed Newcastle on Saturday before wrapping up the regular season with a return against the north east side on April 11.

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