Wolves roast Turkeys on action-packed evening in Senior League
Isle of Man Basketball Association Senior League action
There was action aplenty in Isle of Man Basketball Association’s Senior League at the NSC on Thursday, with Wolves taking on Turkeys in the opening match of the night.
Turkeys were keen to strike back after their loss to Wolves in January’s cup matches but it was Wolves who were in control from early on.
Ben Campbell opened the scoring with a nice mid-range effort, pulling up on the drive to swish the shot in a move he repeated several times during the night.
That first basket started a run for Wolves, Harry Brindle and Ross Wilson picking up points which soon pushed them into a solid nine-point lead.
Sensing the momentum shift, Turkeys coach Paul Ellison called a quick timeout and adjusted to compensate. A more active defence on the return saw Turkeys slow the Wolves advance but attempts to feed the ball into Ste Christian in the post proved fruitless as Jack Murray dominated on defence.
Some success came in the form of quick movement and solid screens that freed up Chris Wolfendale who dutifully swished his shots, but Wolves were still ahead as the first ended, 12-7.
The second quarter was slow to start, both teams working hard on the defensive end of the court to deny baskets but neither team managed to convert those efforts in the opening minutes.
That was until Wolfendale ended the points drought with a drive from the outside that saw him pick up the basket and a foul for three-point free-throw play.
Wolves maintained composure, bringing the ball up with good pace and moving well on offence to open opportunities.
This paid off with a good spread of scoring, Ollie Smith, Kyle Mills, Murray and Michael Pardoe all featuring.
There was a blow for Wolves late in the second when an awkward challenge from Murray as he chased on defence saw him roll an ankle that ended his game. A late run in the dying minutes by Wolfendale and Krum Gogov narrowed the score but at half-time Wolves still had the edge, 21-18.
The second half painted a similar picture to the first, a composed Wolves keeping control of the game and posing threats from all angles, this time Corey Pinder joining the party alongside Mills, Campbell, Wilson and Brindle.
Turkeys continued to struggle on the inside as Cameron Scott and Mills shut down their big men with a solid defensive wall.
The pace and precision of Wolfendale, with the added shooting of David Boyle, kept Turkeys ticking over but an increasingly confident Wolves gradually pulled away.
Pinder marked the end of the game with a trademark swish from outside the arc that sealed a solid win for Wolves, 48-36.
l The second game of the evening was an energetic matchup between PwC Hoops and Cavaliers.
Hoops took an early lead, with strong movement round the outside opening gaps for Daniella Kravela and Stephen Mulhern.
Cavs struck back with a trio of baskets for big man Dave Minay, but their lead was short-lived as Kravela again hit the mark, alongside Danielle Murphy, to give Hoops a four-point advantage.
The latter held the lead for most of the first half, but Cavaliers defence slowly adapted to the quick-moving style and the scoring soon dried up.
A run from Andrew Cregeen and a string of outside shots from James Capelan gave Cavaliers the advantage going into half-time, and they held the line for the remainder of the game.
Hoops were snapping at their heels though, Kravela and Murphy again featuring. When all was said and done, Cavaliers took the win 65-51.
l The final game of the evening saw a youthful Ravens take on the experienced Forget Me Not Jets in a game that the latter side controlled from the outset.
Veterans Tom Dalton-Brown and Wayne Mears racked up points and drew plenty of fouls as they cut through the defence.
The game wasn’t without highlights for Ravens though and rookie Jake Kinrade demonstrated his skills to swish shot after shot from the corner. The result was never in doubt though and Jets notched up another victory, 76-33.
l This week sees the continuation of the league as three more games are held in the build up to the 2021-22 season play-offs.
First on the night will be a match-up between PwC Hoops and Wolves with tip-off planned for 7pm, then at 8.30pm there will be a double header as Ravens face Turkeys and Cavaliers play Eagles.
All games are held in the NSC Main sports hall and there is free seating provided for spectators.
Thursday night will also see junior basketball at the NSC as training and games are held for players in school year seven and above.
The junior league runs from 6-10pm each Thursday and costs £2 per session with an initial player registration of £10. New players are always welcome to join.
l Isle of Man Basketball Association wishes to express its support for the league’s Ukrainian players and their family and their friends at this difficult time.
We all hope for a quick end to the conflict and that Ukraine swiftly returns to the peace and prosperity it once knew. Slava Ukraini!
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