WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL: WARWICKSHIRE Bears continued their strong run of form with a mid-week win against Birmingham Blackcats in a re-arranged fixture.
Bears were looking to get the better of their local rivals in this latest BWB 1st Division South contest after the Blackcats proved the stronger team in previous games.
From tip-off, Blackcats were in a determined mood to reverse their last result against Bears and went into an early lead.
However Bears regrouped and upped their defensive game to soon pull the scores back and take the lead at the end of the first quarter at Blackcats 14-17 Bears.
The Bears started the second quarter the same way they finished the last, putting Blackcats leading scorer Rob Smith under pressure while trying to take advantage of the possession they gained in return.
Bears started to pull further clear from the Blackcats as the scores stood at 24-39.
Blackcats started the second half strong – trying to get a foot hold back in the game.
But again Bears turned up their defence to match Blackcats while taking their opportunities at the other end and pulled further in front to end the third quarter, Blackcats 32-55 Bears.
The last quarter was about watching both teams get a run out.
With the game largely over – due to the lead Bears had accumulated – both coaches gave court time to all their players and saw out the game with the scores Birmingham Blackcats 34-66 Bears.
After the game, coach Masterson said: “I would like to congratulate the Blackcats on a great game, they fought all the way through and should be proud of themselves.
“We didn’t play as well today as we can and I’m pleased that we can still win whilst not playing to our potential.”
Elsewhere the second team also tasted success, defeating Thames Valley Kings by 49 points to 29 to win the Third Division South West championship.
Bears’ second team were looking to keep their unbeaten run of ten games intact and clinch the title of champions of the third division South and West.
Bears started the game strongly with a solid defence, limiting the Kings to only four points while building a lead to finish the first quarter eight points ahead.
The Kings came out in the second quarter with a stronger defence as they looked to claw back the lead Bears had established.
Although Kings’ performance improved, Bears matched Thames Valley and went into half time five points in the lead at 14-21.
Bears came out fighting again in the third quarter, taking a strangle hold on the game while taking full advantage of the possession they obtained with their strong defence and pulled away even further from the Kings.
The side’s lead grew to the point where Thames Valley had little chance in the fourth quarter as Bears eventually won by 20 points at 29-49.
Coach Masterson said: “I’m immensely proud of the team today for clinching the league title and qualifying for this year’s play offs.
“Thames Valley Kings gave us a good game today.
“With the players they are bringing along, they will be at the top soon.”
The Bears are next in action when they host London Thunder and Aces WBC on Sunday (May 14) in Warwick Sports Centre in Henley-in-Arden.
Tip-off is 11am.
Entrance is free if anyone would like to come along and watch a live game and cheer their local wheelchair basketball club.