AN EMOTIONAL Warwickshire Bears side did Paul Jackson proud as they secured a 54-36 victory at Exeter Otters in British Wheelchair Basketball League Division One South on Sunday.
Paul, one of the Bears’ longest-serving and most cherished players, recently died from a sudden illness and before the game started both teams came together for a minute’s applause to celebrate the life and career of a much-loved individual.
Bears coach Tom Masterson said: “The game was a tough one in that we have only just learnt of the loss of ‘PJ’.
“All of the players were very sombre. I think their fantastic performance was in honour of him and shows what a truly loved member of the team he was.”
Bears began the game with a defensive determination which would prove to be enormously successful from the outset. Their control of the game started to pay off immediately as they limited the Otters to only three baskets.
Whilst not taking full advantage of their offensive opportunities, the Bears were nonetheless able to secure a 13-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Bears once more came out determined to drive home their advantage in the second quarter and their strong defence limited Otters to little scoring opportunities.
As Ben Haigh and Jacob Robinson at last found their offensive flow, Bears pulled even further in front to go into half time 35-10 to the good.
A comfortable lead going into the third quarter gave coach Masterson the opportunity to make full use of the Bears bench.
This gave the Otters much-needed impetus to make a charge to try and reduce their deficit but Bears continued to hold on to the lead to go into the last quarter 47-29 up.
The last period was an even affair as the teams went basket for basket, with the visitors prevailing by 18 points.
Bears 1 and 2 travel to Littlehampton on the south coast to face Tornados 1 and 2 on Sunday, February 25.