WARWICKSHIRE Bears head coach Tom Masterson hailed his side’s efforts after securing a thrilling 53-50 victory over visitors Exeter Otters in British Wheelchair Basketball League Division One South.
Hot on the heels of the achievements of Dan Gill, Ellan Fraser and the Bears women’s team, who all won honours at last Friday’s Stratford District Sports Awards, Sunday’s win capped a fine weekend for the club.
As the ball came into play at the beginning of the game, the Otters showed why they had previously established themselves in the Premier League, cutting through the Bears’ defence and racking up a sizeable lead in the first quarter which they ended with a 19-8 advantage.
The Bears rallied strongly in the second quarter but were unable to find a way to stop Jordan Bright who preserved the Otters’ lead whilst holding Bears at bay at the defensive end, leaving the hosts trailing 29-18 at the halfway stage.
The third period went well for the Bears who reduced their deficit to 39-34 before a dramatic final quarter unfolded in which the visitors still led until the final moments when the Bears finally moved ahead through baskets from Dan Gill and Ben Haigh.
Masterson said: “That was a close call. I’d like to thank Otters for such a great game that was fought all the way until the final buzzer. With Derek Hall and Ian Beach having to start the game, I think they were brilliant and helped us grind out a win.”
BEARS 3rds were sunk 61-29 by visitors Jaguars 2nds who completed a Division Three South & West double.
With Bears coach Jacob Robinson giving Junior Para Athlete award-winner Ellan Fraser her debut for the senior team, it was a fantastic effort by the Bears who were able to keep the Jaguars in check until half time, which Bears reached trailing just 29-23.
After the break Jaguars were able to pull away, prompting Robinson to use the option of playing the rest of the Bears’ bench.
Robinson said: “This was a tough game that we knew was coming, but as always Bears 3rds pulled together to deliver a fantastic performance from start to finish.
“I am pleased to have had the chance to put Ellan in for her first senior match and am impressed with the manner in which our developing players handled themselves against such fierce opponents.”
Bears sides are in action on Sunday when they welcome Sheffield Steelers 3rds and 4ths and Blackhawks to Warwickshire College Sport Centre in Henley. Action starts at 11am and entry is free.