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Under-16 girls win in play-offs

There were mixed results for Wolves girls as the NBL play-offs started this weekend.

The under-16 progressed to a quarter-final tie against Richmond Knights with a 60-45 home victory against Farnborough Phantoms on Saturday before a depleted under-14 team lost 47-30 against Ipswich.

Wolves and Phantoms went into their last-16 tie having both finished as runners-up in their region, but it was Wolves who led for almost all of the game to set up a trip to top seeded Richmond – a side that Tor Freeman’s side faced regularly in last summer’s post lockdown mini-season.

The visitors’ opening basket proved to be their only lead of the game as Joanna Akpan answered with an and-one. With Caitlin Ryan scoring both kinds of three-point plays Tor Freeman’s side opened an 18-8 lead before scores from Dalma Szigeti and Jemima Uzoka sent the hosts into the first break with a 23-15 lead.

That led was shaved to three as Phantoms opened the second period strongly but a 7-0 run from Wolves, including a Mila Skipic-Piscetili triple took the lead out to ten points, and Amye Swinney’s late basket saw the home side go into the locker room leading 34-27.

Only Swinney (6) and Akpan (4) added points to Wolves’ title in a low-scoring third period as Wolves took a 44-38 lead into the final break and the Surrey side opened the fourth quarter strongly to make it a two-point game.

That was as close as Farnborough came as Ryan hit back-to-back baskets before hitting a triple and Akpan also scored from downtown to put Wolves up by 12 midway through the fourth period.

Skipic-Piscetili hit a pair of baskets before Ryan wrapped up the 16-0 run with 2:31 on the clock, allowed Freeman to run his bench down the stretch.

Ryan led all scorers with 17, with Akpan adding 13, Swinney ten, Skipic-Piscetili nine and Uzoka seven.

The following day saw the under-14s only have six fit players against an Ipswich side they had beaten twice in the regular season on their way to winning the East title, and the Suffolk club gained revenge to set up a trip to Bristol.

Paris Tyson opened the scoring for Wolves, but the visitors reeled off nine straight points to take control, and despite a pair of Darcy Macrae baskets, the hosts trailed 11-6 at the first break.

A low-scoring second period saw Tyson add three points and Macrae two as Wolves narrowed the gap to 15-10 at half-time

The visitors scored the first six points of the second half to open a double-digit lead and they gradually pulled away despite Macrae adding eight personal points to lead 35-23 going into the final break.

Lois Bush opened the fourth period scoring for the home side, but they never got the deficit down to single figures as their season ended in disappointment.

Macrae led Wolves with 17 points with Tyson adding seven.

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