The Manchester Giants succumbed to a 5th successive defeat, falling in the first round of the BBL Trophy 102-96 to the Worcester Wolves.

Both teams were in a fiery offensive mood right from the first minute, with a barrage of 3 pointers from seemingly every player on the court led to the sides going in level at the break with the scores 50-50. That desire for points didn’t fade at all going into the second half, as the teams traded the lead on multiple occasions, with the Giants even teasing a long awaited victory after going up by 5, before some great shooting in the final minute saw the Wolves snatch the victory.

The game became somewhat of a 3-point contest at times, with Worcester shooting from beyond the arc an unbelievable 33 times and scoring 16, which was a huge factor in their narrow win. The Giants attempted plenty of their own, but only managed 9/24 from downtown.

It’s been a difficult run of games for the Giants, especially after losing a big points scorer in Lyle Hexom, meaning that the rest of our small squad has had to try and increase their output to make up for it.

Speaking of increased output, Jordan Whelan had yet another stellar game after his return from injury as he led the game in scoring with 25 points off an impressive 61% shooting, as his desire to drive to the basket kept the Giants competitive throughout. The rest of the usual suspects also chipped in with valuable contributions, as double-double machine Breaon Brady (16pts, 13 rebs) once again did what he does best and Sam Cassell Jr added to his catalogue of highlight reel shots, finishing with 13 points. Donovan Johnson went on a tear in the second half, scoring all 16 of his points in the final 20 minutes including back-to-back three pointers that looked to have Worcester reeling late in the 4th.

As for the Wolves, Brandon Anderson was their standout performer (24-4-8) as well as 58% shooting, and captain Maarten Bouwknecht showed why he’s one of the most underrated scorers in the league with 23 points. Jordan Williams also had a breakout performance (17-6-7) on an improbable 80% shooting.

”If we play defence that’s where it’s got to start. We’ve not played defence since Lyle Hexom left, and that’s where it starts on the defensive end.” Said Head Coach Danny Byrne

It’s yet another quick turnaround for the Giants coming up, as they return to league action on Friday against the Surrey Scorchers.

 

Words – Jordan Morris

Photo – Harry Collins