Force fade after bright start to go down again

Rafail Tsouraki
Rafail Tsouraki
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A disastrous second-half showing saw a spirited Leeds Force slump to an 18th consecutive defeat against play-off-chasing Worcester Wolves, writes Seb Gigner.

An energetic opening five minutes saw Leeds shock the Wolves with a flurry of early baskets – duelling toe-to-toe with the BBL Cup finalists in a frantic opening quarter.

British-American star Adrian Kuyinu’s three-pointer and a forceful finish from the bullish seven-foot Gazmend Sinani earned Leeds a rare advantage.

Trayvon Palmer’s soaring slam over a stretching George Brownell emphatically punctured Leeds’ momentum, as the ravenous Wolves powered fought back and prised open seven-point lead.

Undeterred, Force answered straight back courtesy of a pair of spectacular triples from Jamelle Davis as Leeds scythed a faltering Worcester’s lead down to a single point at quarter’s end.

The Wolves mercilessly put Force to the sword in a one-sided second segment – leaning on menacing American trio Palmer, Brandon Parrish and George Beamon as Worcester flexed their muscles.

Showing a tenacity and offensive flair that’s been largely absent across the season, Leeds refused to give in and stayed afloat, hauling themselves back into contention as the electrifying Kuyinu and the towering Sinani punched holes into Worcester’s porous defence – cutting the gap back to single digits as the half-time buzzer sounded.

But the Wolves turned the screw and inevitably crushed Leeds’ resolve in the third period. A rampant Worcester tallied 24 consecutive points and soared into an insurmountable lead.

The introduction of ailing Greek forward Rafail Tsourakis offered brief hope of a revival – the 27-year-old knocking down a series of shots to inject some much-needed energy into the lifeless Leeds.

Despite a spirited fourth-quarter showing, Force’s awful third period effort left too much for Leeds to do as Worcester romped home.