Hull Wasps resurrected their play-off hopes with a spirited 75-71 victory over second-place Stockport Falcons at the Bonus Arena on Saturday night.
Stockport were the team who looked most likely to win on the night, particularly with their first half performance, stunning the Wasps who found it hard to get into the game.
The visitors looked sharp and were forcing error after error on the home team. The Wasps continued to miss their chances and turned the ball over on a number of occasions, allowing the Falcons to create a 21-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
A similar story continued for the Wasps in the second period with a continued lack of concentration proving to be their downfall. The Falcons took full advantage and opened up their lead even further; taking a 44-31 lead in at the break.
With the opening basket of the second half going to Stockport, the Wasps were fifteen points down and seemingly all hopes lost for the game. However, the Wasps began an unlikely fight back against one of the league’s top sides. Slowly but surely, the home team finally found their feet and brought themselves back into the game with a number of scoring runs to reduce the deficit to six points to end the third quarter 55-49 behind.
The Wasps had the momentum and with full support from the crowd, continued to close the gap. But after a couple of fouls called against John Kelsey, the Falcons again opened up a 10 point lead. The Wasps continued to battle on and, with guard Adrian Blatherwick discovering his shooting touch again, the Wasps closed the gap and took the lead with just 1:45 remaining on the clock.
At 73-70 the Wasps gave away a foul which took Stockport’s Andy Royle to the line for two free-throws. Missing the first, but making the second, the Wasps now had a two-point lead and possession. They used it well, leaving Stockport with no choice but to foul and give Wasps’ forward Matt Brutnell the chance to open the gap, and made both of his free-throws count to seal the win.
Following the game, a delighted Wasps coach, Matt Fawcett said: “It’s an amazing result and our fight back in the second half, once again proved how good a team we are. We beat one of the best teams in the league tonight, and although we looked down and out at half-time, my team never gave up and I’m extremely proud of the way they turned it around tonight.”
“We have more hard work ahead, and there are no guarantees we can make the play-offs still, but we’ve given ourselves a big chance with this result.”
Adrian Blatherwick top scored for Wasps with 19 points, including 5 three-pointers, 3 of which came in the final quarter. Captain John Brignell and forward Matt Brutnell scored 14 and 11 points respectively.
The Wasps travel away to Mersey Tigers II next weekend looking to continue their fight for the play-offs.
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