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Wolves Men Suffer First Round Loss

Wolves' Division One play-off hopes were ended at the first stage as they went down 105-77 at Derby Trailblazers, on Sunday.

Having gone close to beating the fourth placed Blazers at Oaklands, the game followed a similar pattern to the away league game with Thomas Baker's side matching the hosts in the first period before seeing the game get away from in the second and third quarters.

Jordan Santiago again led Wolves, finishing with 23 points while AJ Roberts had four triples in a 21 point, 12 rebound double-double, adding three assists and two steals as he sat down for just 97 seconds. Obi Egunike had seven boards to go with his 14 points, with Kane Daley adding ten points. Josh Guddemi led Blazers with 27 points, while American pair Malcolm Smith and Jacob Conway each added 21, and Bowman had a 17 point, ten rebound double-double adding six assists.

Daley opened the scoring before the hosts reeled off seven straight points, but triples from Oliver Wright and a pair from Roberts kept Wolves in touch. Santiago also drained from downtown and with Egbunikie converting a two at the foul line and Santiago scoring a lay-up, the score was tied at 18 heading into the final 90 seconds of the first period. Guddemi and Egbunikie exchanged baskets before foul trouble again caught up with Wolves as Smith and Bowman each hit a pair at the line to give the hosts a 22-18 lead at the first break.

Conway and Santiago exchanged pairs of free-throws to open the second period and Roberts made it a two point game with 7:24 on the clock before back-to-back Guddemi triples launched a personal 8-0 run. Egbunike broke the tear but Guddemi continued to torture the visitors and back-to-back Conway baskets took the lead out to 17 going into the final two minutes of the half. Charlie Brown made it an 18 point game with a pair of free-throws before late baskets from Egbunike and Roberts trimmed the deficit to 51-37 going into the locker room.

Roberts split a pair at the foul line to get Wolves off the mark at the start of the second half but Guddemi hit eight straight points to put Derby in charge and Smith made it a 20 point game with two minutes gone. Daley drained a triple before Santiago hit a pair of shots and Roberts sunk another trey to reduce the deficit to 14 and force a timeout from home coach Matt Shaw with 6:40 on the clock.

Egunike drove to the basket to move Wolves within 12 with 4:17 on the clock but despite a Santiago triple the hosts wnt on a 17-5 tear to close out the period and go into the final break with an 84-58 lead.

Wright drained from the Land of Plenty early in the fourth period, only to see Conway answer at the other end, and the visitors never got the deficit under 20 in the final quarter as Derby progressed to the quarter-finals and Wolves' season came to an end.

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