A Disappointing Weekend for the Hull Wasps
The Hull Wasps experienced a heartbreaking weekend on Saturday and Sunday night as they suffered two painfully close losses in their home games at Ennerdale Leisure Centre.
The games began on Saturday night when the Wasps tipped off against the Newcastle Eagles II in a National League game. The Eagles soared ahead in the first two minutes, scoring a quick and easy 6 points before the Wasps kicked in with Matt Macart nailing a three-pointer and Manuel Guzman following up with three points of his own. A number of fouls on the Eagles' part allowed the Wasps to inch ahead with some three-throw points, and the quarter finished at a promising 25-20 to the Hull Wasps, after John Stewart gave his usual stellar performance with a satisfying slam-dunk.
The second quarter was again evenly played as Slasor and Tipper of the Newcastle Eagles and John Stewart and Jack Daley of the Wasps dominated their respective sides. However, the Eagles managed to fight back with some strong offensive play to grasp a 2-point lead in the last few seconds of the quarter. 48-50
The Wasps again fought back in the opening minutes of the third quarter, briefly gaining a 10-point lead before the Eagles took advantage of a weakened defense and clawed their way back into the game, with Coach Craige and Hannam driving their team forward to 75-79 lead.
The final 10 minutes were nerve-wracking and tense for the fans as the Wasps gained the upper hand once again. However as the minutes ticked by the Wasps lost their grip on the lead and relinquished control of the quarter. The last two minutes saw a frantic attempt on each side to grasp the win, with the Wasps' valiant efforts at strategic play gaining them valuable points into the last few seconds. However, a number of fouls awarded the Newcastle Eagles some much-needed free-throw shots and allowed them to snatch a four point victory over a bitterly disappointed Wasps team. Final score 101-105
John Stewart 28, Jack Daley 21, Manuel Guzman 18, Matt Macart 13
The Wasps returned to Ennerdale Leisure Centre on Sunday night to compete in round 3 of the National Shield against the Rossendale Raptors. The Wasps entered the game determined to bounce back from the previous night's devastating loss, aware that the opposition were likely to pose a strong threat, being a Division 3 side.
True to form, Wasps player John Stewart kick started proceedings in the second minute with the first basket of the night. Wasps' momentum ended as soon as it began, however, and the Raptors gained an early lead, storming ahead and leading 16-8 by the fifth minute. Manuel Guzman, John Stewart and Jack Daley proved themselves as they helped the Wasps close the gap, with an impressive 3-pointer from Aidy Blatherwick. The Wasps trailed by 3 points by the end of the first quarter. 21-24.
Despite a number of free-throws awarded to Rossendale Raptors' top scorer Ben Chicken, the Wasps managed to gain the lead in the second quarter, again with Stewart, Guzman and Daley giving good performances. The quarter finished with a promising 6-point lead for the Wasps at 56-50 and this lead expanded significantly to a 12-point lead during the third quarter. The Raptors fought hard, however, and a slackening Wasps defence allowed them to narrow the Wasps' lead to just 5 points at half time. 74-69.
The final quarter saw a repeat of the previous night's game as the atmosphere became tense and rapid gameplay ensued. The score became painfully close in the last few seconds of the game, standing at 96-90 to the Raptors with a minute and a half to go. The crowd were on their feet as they screamed their support for the players and in the last 30 seconds the score stood at 97-94 with a free-throw awarded to the Wasps. A 3-pointer from John Stewart brought the Wasps up to just a 1-point defecit with 2 seconds left on clock - but the game met a bitterly disappointing end for the Wasps as a successful free-throw penalty from Chicken sealed a victory for the Rossendale Raptors. Final score 100-98
Top scorers John Stewart 35, Manuel Guzman 19, Jack Daley 18, Aidy Blatherwick 9
Fans left the Ennerdale Leisure Centre feeling proud of their team's admirable performance against a tough side.
Coach Matt Fawcett commented, "Obviously we didnt have the best weekend, to say we underachieved would be an understatement. However I believe that there are lessons to be learnt and things to improve. Credit to Newcastle they played extremley well on Saturday as did Rossendale yesterday. We now have to make sure we take wins from the next 3 games and head into christmas with a 6-3 record. It is still too early to hit the panic button and I know our best basketball is ahead of us. We will keep working and take it one game at a time."