Hull Wasps made history on Saturday afternoon with a thrilling 56-54 victory at Burnley Blaze. The Wasps had never managed to beat Burnley in three previous fixtures but a solid defensive display brought them victory to remain fourth in National League 4 North.
Hull got off to a flying start, hitting the Blaze with six points before the hosts could reply. That performance continued throughout the quarter and managed to open up an 18-8 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Burnley began to pull their way back into the game at the start of the second and put together a small run of their own to put the Wasps on the back foot. However, the Hull side held out with their defence and held on for a 32-27 lead going into the half-time break.
A number of controversial decisions from the officials hit the Wasps hard at the start of the second-half. The momentum had swung in favour of Burnley Blaze, who then managed to overturn the deficit and open up a ten point lead for themselves mid-way through the third.
However, the Wasps were determined not to be beaten and adjusted their defence to keep out their opponents while scoring six unanswered points. That reduced the hosts’ lead to four points to set-up a decisive final quarter.
A number of exchanges kept the game on edge between the two sides but an outstanding 9-2 run from the Wasps brought them back into it with just minutes remaining. John Kelsey dramatically scored the winning basket with just 16 seconds left to go one-point ahead, before sealing the 56-54 win with an additional point from the free-throw line.
Following the game, Wasps’ player-coach Matt Fawcett said: “We ground that victory out. We weren’t favourites going into the game today. We may sit above them in the league, but they have played three games less. It was so important to get the win so we can stay above them.
“They are a very talented side and we had them down as favourites for the league at the beginning of the season. They’ve lost a few games since then and perhaps not reached their full potential this season. They have some great players and it was hard to shut them down today but we dug in and knew that if we defended well, we could do it.
“I’m very proud of my team today. Everyone worked hard, played well as a team and really deserved the win.”
Captain John Brignell led the scoring for the Wasps with 16 points. Forward Matt Brutnell scored 10 with point-guard John Kelsey scoring 9.
The Wasps return home next Saturday evening to face second place Stockport Falcons at the Bonus Arena, 7:30pm tip-off.
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