Wasps Win Close One Against Durham
The Hull Wasps returned to the court on Saturday night and finished off the year at Ennerdale Leisure Centre with a satisfying home-game victory in a nail-bitingly close match.
The first quarter was a slow-moving affair, with Chuck Duru of the Durham Wilcats II kicking off the scoring with a 2-pointer in the first minute. John Stewart, Matt MacArt and Manuel Guzman of the Hull Wasps each contributed a basket, bringing the score 6-2 to the Wasps; however, silly mistakes and missed opportunities kept the Wasps from progressing as quickly they should have. The fourth, fifth and sixth minute of the opening period saw little improvement as the Wildcats' Captain Max Fowler took advantage of holes in the Wasps' defense, scoring three times consecutively to pull his team ahead to a 6-10 lead. As the quarter progressed, each team grasped the lead briefly before conceding points to the opposition, resulting in a tense game from the outset. A 3-pointer from Wildcats player Beard was swiftly followed by one from Wasps' Robin Hewson, ensuring a close game right until the buzzer sounded. The quarter finished with just a 1-point difference at 20-19 to the Hull Wasps.
The second quarter began badly for the Wasps as more swift 3-pointers from Beard and Max Fowler had the Wildcats storming ahead to widen the gap to a 6-point difference. Guzman, MacArt and Captain John Kelsey of the Hull Wasps fought hard against some effective gameplay from Wildcats Captain Max Fowler, who scored 15 individual points within this quarter alone. The end of the second period saw Wildcats snatch the 1-point lead, leaving the half-time score at 45-44 to the Durham Wildcats II.
Four free throws awarded to Manuel Guzman kicked off the third quarter, but as a flurry of activity ensued, the teams began to trade baskets rapidly in another closely-matched 8 minutes. Neither team managed to gain a substantial lead, there being no more than a 4-point gap until the final two minutes of the quarter, which saw Stewart, Daley and MacArt begin to fight back against Duru and Beard's offense. The Wasps managed to pull ahead and lead by a 7-point margin at 68-75 going into the final period.
Matt Wilson continues to improve with every game and proved himself a valuable player in the fourth quarter with some impressive defensive skills, whilst also contributing 7 points of his own for the team. The Wasps drove forward, and, despite the good efforts of Beresford of the Wildcats, they continued to widen the gap to ensure a comfortable 19-point lead by the 10th minute. A final 3-pointer from Duru of the Wildcats concluded the game, but the night belonged to the Wasps and they walked away with a much-needed win. 87-103 to the Hull Wasps.
Coach Matt Fawcett: "Tonight was a really good test, They had some good strong players. Their PG was really impressive and made us change our defense on numerous occasions. Our guys pulled together especially at half time and came out with a point to prove. Strong team play and good rebounding in the 4th allowed us to close out the game the way we know we can. Our eyes will be solely fixed on Gateshead now as we prepare this week to face them on Sunday"
Top scorers Matt MacArt 23, Manuel Guzman 23, John Stewart 21