There was an electric atmosphere at the NSC as defending champions Wolves faced current basketball league leaders Forget Me Not Jets in a top-of-the-table clash on Thursday.

The game was a must-win for Wolves if they hoped to top the table at the end of the regular season, having lost out to Jets by a single point in their first clash of the 2023-24 campaign.

Wolves were quick to sink their teeth into the game as Oscar Lace and Ross Wilson dropped baskets, while Cameron Scott drew the foul to step up to the free-throw line.

A punishing opening four minutes saw Wolves rack up a 14-0 lead, forcing a time-out and change of tact from the Jets side.

It provided the shift in momentum that Jets needed and, over the following few minutes, they took flight as Tom Dalton-Brown and Paul Kilic rained three-pointers, while Jake Glover ran the lanes.

Wolves’ 2-3 defence suffered against the onslaught and they soon found themselves trailing by three points with one minute to go in the first quarter.

A shot in the dying seconds from Wilson gave Wolves some solace but when the first quarter ended their early lead had disappeared, Jets pulling ahead 16-17.

The break gave time for a switch in strategy and Wolves changed up from zone defence to a pressure man-to-man, aiming to lockdown Jets’ outside shooting.

Early dividends were paid as the pressure D forced turnovers and provided steals that allowed Michael Pardoe, Ben Takkan and Kyle Mills to push Wolves back in front, 22-17.

Jets broke through in the third minute as Michael Baker found an opening inside plus Dalton-Brown and Glover again delivered the goods, putting Jets back ahead by one.

It proved short-lived as Viktor Capkanovski swished a deep three-pointer and was promptly joined by Wilson from outside the arc.

The shots shifted Wolves up a gear and the final few minutes saw them break through Jets’ defence and build a 10-point lead, 38-28 at half-time.

The third quarter effectively ended the game as relentless defensive pressure from Wolves held Jets to only seven points, while Wilson, Lace and Capkanovski delivered a devastating 22-point unanswered run for Wolves.

The momentum stayed firmly with Wolves throughout the fourth quarter as they continued to work the man-to-man defence and fired on all cylinders on offence.

Jets continued to search for options, Paul Kilic and Revi Del Rosario picking off some points, but when the final buzzer came Wolves had a decisive 75-44 victory, with guard Lace picking up his second man of the match in as many weeks.

Wolves’ victory now sees them sit on top of the league table to set up an epic third clash against Jets in the last match of the regular season on March 21 – a game that will likely decide who enters the championship play-offs as top seed.

The other games on Thursday evening saw Hoops take on Ravens, while there was a battle of the veterans as the two longest running clubs in the league – Cavaliers and Turkeys – faced off.

Ravens ran the floor against Hoops, pushing fast breaks and solid defence to notch a comfortable 68-44 victory, while Chris Wolfendale was on fine form for Turkeys as he racked up 20 points in their convincing 51-39 victory over Cavaliers.

l This Thursday sees the start of the final round in the regular season, with Cavs taking on Hoops at 7pm while Ravens face Wolves and Jets play Turkeys at 8.30.

All games are played in the NSC Main Hall and free seating is available courtside for all spectators.

l Isle of Man Basketball Association gives final notice for applications for the positions of coach for the island under-18s, men’s and women’s teams.

Applications must be submitted in writing on or before Friday, February 23 to the association secretary Martin Dunne at [email protected]

Further details are available on the association website