A DEPLETED Warwickshire Bears came up just short in their first away game of the British Wheelchair Basketball League Premier Division season, losing 61-56 to newly-promoted Northern Ireland Knights.
With a very limited squad who were able to travel to last season’s Division One champions, it was going to take a major effort from the six players who did make the trip to come away with a positive result.
The Knights started the brighter of the two teams and quickly built a great lead in the first quarter, with Jason Kennedy and the speedy Matt Rollston finding the Bears basket early and making their shots count.
The Bears, although getting into great position, were unable to make any shots drop through the Knights basket, which allowed the hosts to go into a healthy lead of 16-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The break seemed to wake the Bears up, as they finally began to make their shots count, but were unable to stop the Knights from also going basket for basket.
And in a very level quarter, the Knights went into the half-time break with a 32-24 advantage.
The Bears made a better effort of the third quarter and with Dan Gill and Daz Peasley keeping the scores ticking over, the visitors were able to pull level and then move into a narrow 45-41 lead going into the final quarter.
In a tight final quarter, with the Bears trying their hardest to keep the slight lead they had built, the visitors ran out of steam and the experience of Kennedy was enough to see Knights run out 61-56 winners.
Bears coach Tom Masterson said: “I would like to congratulate the Knights on the win and a great game.
“I thought we had the game in the last quarter, but we just ran out of steam.
“I can’t fault the team as they gave everything and it was just a shame we didn’t have a full squad with us, but I look forward to the home game.”
The Bears are next in action on Sunday, 13th October when they take on London Titans at the University of Birmingham.