WARWICKSHIRE Bears celebrated their first-ever win against neighbours Birmingham Blackcats after an impressive performance sealed a 67-37 success in BWB Division One South.
In all their previous years of playing, the Henley-based Bears had never beaten their neighbours and with a host of experienced players in the Blackcats team, this was going to be another tough test but the Bears relished the challenge.
From the tip-off, Bears put pressure on the Blackcats playing a tough defence, trying to restrict the vistors’ main player Rob Smith to limited shots at the Bears basket.
With both Jacob Robinson and Ben Haigh playing an impressive attacking game, the Bears were able to build an early lead in the game and had a 23-12 advantage after the first quarter.
The Blackcats came out in the second quarter with a stronger defence, but were matched by the Bears who limited their rivals to only one basket for the quarter whilst continuing top extend their lead to 34-14 at half-time.
The Bears really turned the screw in the third quarter, to move 57-21 ahead.
In the last quarter, both teams used their benches to give all their players a run out, with the Blackcats making full use of their experienced squad to pull back some of the score and win the last quarter 16-10 but the final score ended 67-37 to the Bears
After the game, coach Tom Masterson said he was “really proud” of his Henley-based team, with a dominant third quarter opening up a sizeable lead.
“The game was tighter than the score reflects, and to win against such a good experienced team like Blackcats is a testament to how well the team is playing now,” he said.
“I have to give a special mention to Adrian Taber, who was playing against his old teammates and he put in a fantastic performance.”
The Bears Seconds maintained their winning streak with a 56-21 victory at home to Hampshire Harriers to remain top of theDivision Three South & West table.
With a strong team available, the Bears were always in control of the game throughout, and were able to give valuable court time to the whole team.
Victory keeps the Bears in pole position, with promotion and qualifying for this year’s play-offs in their sights.
Coach Masterson said: “That was another step closer to the play-offs for the team. It was good to see all the team get on the score sheet and get some valuable court time.”
The Bears are next in action when their women’s team play their final game in this season’s National Women’s League in Nottingham on 25th February.
The Bears are still looking for a sponsor for the team and also always looking to recruit new members, especially female and junior players. For more details, contact the Bears at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07946 518354.