Wasps Win Close Game with Tigers
Hull Wasps 65 Leeds Tigers 60
The Hull Wasps returned to the court at Ennerdale Leisure Centre on Saturday night, looking to settle the score against the Leeds Tigers after their last disastrous encounter.
They weren't to disappoint and walked away with a much-needed victory after yet another nail-bitingly close game.
Coach Matt Fawcett brought his team out in full force in order to secure the win, with a return from former Wasps player Neil Rymer and some exciting new signings making their debut appearances on the court.
An eager Wasps team took an early lead with John Stewart, as ever, scoring a three-pointer within the first few seconds to kick start proceedings. They continued to dominate the first half of the quarter as the Leeds Tigers missed a large number of attempted shots and free-throws and the Wasps continued to score consistently. Score 21-15 to the Wasps.
The Wasps' new signings made themselves known in the second quarter with Sean Knight opening the period with two points, followed in quick succession by Neil Rymer. The Tigers advanced slowly, but with the aid of new Wasps player J Akpoveta and Jack Daley, the Wasps managed to maintain an 8-point lead going into half time. 38-29.
The Tigers bounced back after half time and began to fight through the Wasps' defences more easily. A few mistakes lead to frustration for the Wasps which caused their defences to suffer. A nine-point lead for the Wasps was soon reduced to just five as Sanwooly and Hughes of the Leeds Tigers gave some impressive performances for their side. 53-48 to the Wasps.
The last quarter brought the intensity levels higher still as the Wasps failed to score in the first seven minutes of the period. As a string of free-throws allowed the Leeds Tigers to inch closer and close the gap, frustrated Wasps fans grew louder in their support, cheering the Wasps back into action. Wasps' Spanish big man Manuel Guzman snatched the two-point lead away from the Tigers briefly before the score was tied again. With many Wasps fans now on their feet and just two minutes left in the game, the scoreboard read 58-58 and tensions began to run high. The remaining two minutes consisted of foul shots awarded to either side. In the last minute, the Tigers managed to crawl forward to close the gap to 63-60, but it wasn't enough. Matt MacArt ended the game and secured a comfortable victory for his team, scoring a final two points to bring the score to 65-60.
"I am so proud of my team. They deserved this win," Coach Matt Fawcett commented after the game. "It was very close and tense for a while but the guys pulled it off. It was a great start to the new year for us and brilliant motivation for us for the rest of the season."
Top scorers for the Wasps were Jack Daley with 22 points, John Stewart with 13 and Matt MacArt with 10.
The Hull Wasps face their rivals, the Kingston Panthers, next Saturday at the Bonus Arena at 3pm. Their next home games will be on 1st and 2nd of February in a double header weekend at the Ennerdale Leisure Centre.