Wolves and Jets took to the floor with perfectly matching records (13-1, +38 points diff) in a top-of-the-table clash last week. 

Thursday’s action marked the end of the regular 2023/24 basketball season. 

Jets took first blood with quick baskets from Peter Boussougou and Paul Kilic. 

Wolves drew level in short order, as Viktor Capkanovski drove to the hoop while Michael Pardoe and Ross Wilson hit from the mid-range. 

Defence made the difference for Wolves, with a solid full court press that disrupted Jets flow and led to a flurry of steals and intercepts that were duly converted. By the end of the first period Wolves were in full control leading by 13-points, 26-13. 

Wolves' Viktor Capkanovski drives through the Jets defence in a table-topping clash that saw Wolves win the League Shield 77-65 Photo: OLiver Hamilton (Oliver Hamilton)

The second quarter was a more balanced affair, Jets finding some routes through the press and picking up points with nice drives and pull-ups. 

Wolves pressure on the defensive end started to run into trouble as fouls were drawn, but they held composure to keep a solid performance on the offensive end of the court. 

Quick breaks caught Jets in transition and kept Wolves ahead, Capkanovski providing a highlight as he thread the pass through the middle of Jets’ defence into the hands of Pardoe for a quick lay-up that helped Wolves extend the lead, 49-33 at half-time. 

Jets found new energy in the third quarter, exploiting a tiring Wolves whose defensive efforts started to falter. Quick runs from Wayne Mears and Revi Del Rosario saw Jets break the Wolves press and eat into the lead. 

Shots stubbornly refused to drop for Wolves, who struggled through an early slump in the quarter before again locking down on defence to hold the lead, 61-51 at the end of the third. 

Momentum stayed with Jets into the final quarter, Mears and Kilic providing the goods and bringing Jets within four points, 63-67 by the mid-point. 

A quick timeout and switch-up invigorated Wolves, who were more controlled on offence and again found the pressure points on defence. 

Another string of steals, and foul free-throws from Ben Takkan and Capkanovski, extended the lead and saw Jets battling the clock as well as Wolves. 

A final steal from Capkanovski gave possession to Wolves and ended any hope of a late comeback from Jets. 

At the final buzzer Wolves took the win, 77-65, picking up the league leader’s shield as well as first seed heading into the championship play-offs. 

The other games of the evening saw a hard-fought match-up between Turkeys and Cavaliers, while Ravens took a solid win over Hoops. 

David Boyle gave a man of the match performance for Turkeys, as they traded the lead with Cavaliers throughout the first three quarters. With only a single point in it at the start of the fourth, it was Boyle’s mid-range and outside shooting that allowed Turkeys to pull away, 59-52 at the buzzer. 

Meanwhile a plethora of fast breaks saw Ravens fly as Logan Glover and Miltos Provatakis ran the lanes. 

Turkeys basketball
Chris Wolfendale shoots a free throw for Turkeys in their nail-biting 59-52 win over Cavaliers Photo: Jack Brearley (Jack Brearley)

Hoops’ defence held firm for most of the first half, keeping the teams within four points through the efforts of Gemma Kirkham and Danielle Murphy. 

Ravens’ relentless pace broke through as the game progressed and by the final buzzer they had a convincing 85-37 win in the bag. Returning Raven, Cormac Ewan, picked up man of the match for constant effort on both ends of the floor. 

Turkeys v Cavaliers basketball
Dave Boyle pushes the break for Turkeys as Cavaliers defence chases. Boyle's shooting was key to Turkeys pulling away in the final quarter, with Turkeys and Cavaliers neck-and-neck until then Photo: Jack Brearley (Jack Brearley)

This Thursday sees the start of the 2023/24 Championship finals with the first round of the do-or-die play-offs. 

At 7pm, Cavaliers will take on Hoops then at 8.30 Ravens play Turkeys. Both games are played in the NSC main hall with seating available courtside for spectators.