Wasps Cruise Past Panthers in Hull Derby
Panthers succumb to an agonising defeat at the hands of the Hull Wasps
The Hull Wasps and the Kingston Panthers finally took their rivalry to the court on Saturday night in their first ever derby at the Ennerdale Leisure Centre, ending in a much-deserved and electrifying victory for the Wasps.
The game attracted a massive crowd of supporters and the stands were filled to capacity, with many fans having to stand in the overhead balconies in order to watch the match. The Kingston Panthers brought with them a large group of loyal supporters, but they were vastly outnumbered by a huge Hull Wasps fan base who had arrived to show their dedication to the team.
Having prepared and trained heavily for the much anticipated game, the Wasps entered the court looking positive and confident, an attitude which translated into their game play. A tense first five minutes saw the Kingston Panthers score the first basket and gain some free throw points, but the Wasps fought back rapidly with effective team work from Captain John Kelsey and Matt Macart. Jack Daley, Manuel Guzman and John Stewart came to life to secure an early lead of 28-16.
The second quarter showed a real team effort from the Wasps with good defensive manoeuvres from Matt Wilson and Coach Matt Fawcett scoring two three-pointers to drive his team forward in another successful quarter. Any missed shots were quickly rectified with a relentless attacking of the basket, John Stewart scoring 10 individual points before the half time buzzer. 30-55
Despite the Wasps' defence easing off slightly heading into the third quarter, the Panthers found themselves still unable to take advantage and close the gap. Panthers' Milner and top scorer Grigaliunas fought hard but a number of missed opportunities and failed attempts to score ensured that the Wasps maintained their 25-point lead going into the fourth quarter, a gap that the Panthers would barely reduce throughout the rest of the game. 76-51
As the atmosphere became tense and the game play more heated, the fans roared their approval as the Wasps continued to hold the Panters off. Scoring became less frequent and more evenly distributed between the two teams, but it was too little too late and a final satisfying two-pointer from assistant coach Jimmy Coulson in the final minute solidified the Wasps’ victory.
“I am of course thrilled with tonight’s performance. We have proved that we can hold our own and, at least for tonight, we were Hull’s number one basketball team. There was an amazing atmosphere that could only come from having such a vast amount of supporters coming to cheer the guys on, and there is nothing like a sporting rivalry to bring out the fans. That helped us immensely and the guys’ hard work most definitely paid off.”
For Wasps Chairman Dave Bushnell, the night was a complete success. "We couldn't have asked for a better evening in all aspects of the game night, from fan turnout to team performance. It was a brilliant event for local basketball. This is the kind of game that we are constantly working towards as a club, and the fact that we won against our Hull rivals made it all the more worthwhile.”
Top scorers John Stewart 28, Jack Daley 22, Matt Macart 13.