Result: Hull Wasps 88 Warrington Wolves 77
HULL Wasps produced their best basketball so far this season to come from 15 points behind to defeat former league leaders Warrington Wolves. Battered and bruised John Brignell produced an awe-inspiring fourth- quarter display to lead his Hull Wasps to an incredible 88-77 victory over the Wolves.
The Wasps player-coach looked finished for the game when a first-quarter collision left him with a black eye and a deep, bleeding gash in his nose.
But the 6ft 8in centre dragged himself off the bench in the final period and scored 16 of his game-high 24 points to inspire his side to a victory that lifts them into second in the league.
It is the first time the Wasps have occupied a promotion spot in England Basketball's National League Division Four.
They entered the fourth quarter down 67-58, but clawed back the deficit with a string of defensive stops. It was then that Brignell ignored the advice of everyone on the Wasps bench to produce a performance of true heart.
He repeatedly proved too strong for a Warrington defence featuring former England star Delme Herriman as his side outscored the visitors 30-10 in the final period.
Player-assistant coach Jamie Goodwin said: "He didn't know where he was after he was hit. Blood was pouring from his wound.
"I said to him: 'we are not risking it. You are done for today, mate'. But it never entered his head that he would not come back into the game. When I saw him asking the scorers' table to come back into the game in the fourth quarter, I thought he must be crazy. I asked the referee to keep an eye on him.
"But the first thing he did was take the ball hard to the basket and score. He then did it again and again. It was like a scene from a Rocky film. He played with true heart and showed himself to be the leader we all know he is."
Centre James Rayner hit 21 points, including three three-pointers, and guard Ash Rice added 14 points and a string of assists.
Goodwin added: "Ash stepped up with his best game of the season and James filled in more than capably for John during the second and third quarters.
"It was just as important that we performed well as a team defensively to give our offence the platform to perform. Once again, John Kelsey typified that, as did Miles Anderson and Rob Birchmore."
The Wasps cross the Pennines to take on Stockport Falcons II on Saturday in their final game before the Christmas break.
Wasps now lie in second place in National League 4 North, level on points with Burnley who, after beating Tees Valley Mohawks, are now top of the league on win percentage.
|Leading Scorers:||Scorer 1||Scorer 2||Scorer 3|
|Home||Brignell 24||Rayner 21||Rice 14|
|Away||Herriman 22||Arden 21||Griffiths 8|