WARWICKSHIRE Bears’ baptism of fire in the British Wheelchair Basketball League Premier League continued on Sunday as they were beaten 71-33 at Oldham Owls.
Bears’ first fixture of the year sent them to Greater Manchester to face the leaders ahead of the latter’s participation in the prestigious EuroCup.
Having already come up against the Owls this season, the Bears were more prepared and brought a more prepared defence to the court.
The first quarter brought a promising start and the Bears maintained a strong defensive screen and limited the opportunities for the Owls at their basket.
In a significant improvement from their last match, the Bears maintained a high level of defensive pressure and successfully kept the scores close, trailing 11-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Bears struggle to fight their way through the Owls’ defence, limiting their access to their basket and keeping their scoring opportunities low.
The Bears continued to apply pressure in their own defensive half, however, in an attempt to maintain a moderate score difference. Despite the hard work of the Bears, the well-drilled Owls team demonstrated their offensive talent and EuroCup worthy plays to pull away into a significant 34-9 lead.
Refreshed from the half-time break, the Bears took to the court with offensive passion in an attempt to close the significant lead garnered by their opposition.
This was no easy task, as both teams brought vigorous defensive lines against the other, limiting each to 14 points in the third quarter. As Owls continued to run out plays in preparation for EuroCup, the Bears adapted their game to meet each oncoming offence and the third quarter ended 48-23.
In the final quarter, Bears mustered the last of their energy to match the pace of the Owls side until the final buzzer. As the Owls continued to demonstrate their league-leading prowess, the Bears drew on their experience to put together a solid defensive line.
As the final seconds ran down, Bears’ Dan Gill scored a three-pointer to end an exciting game.
Bears head coach Tom Masterson said: “I’m proud of the team who are demonstrating in every game they are learning and adapting.
“They are utilising their experience and using it to make them into a better team and a coach cannot ask for more than that. It was a fantastic defence against a great offensive team.”
Bears Women travel to Nottingham in the second round of the BWB Women’s League over the first weekend of February.