Leeds Force suffered a heart-breaking defeat this week – 92-91 in overtime to the Worcester Wolves.
After such a positive couple of weeks leading up to this game, we were feeling optimistic.
We had faced the Wolves twice already this season and lost both times.
However, the progress we’ve made since then is huge and we knew that it would be a totally different game.
The opening period saw the Wolves pull ahead despite us forcing them into some tough shots.
Force knocked down a few of their own though and stayed within touching distance as the quarter ended 16-21 to the visitors.
Force fought back in the second quarter with some exciting play including Marek Klassen’s super sweet delivery over the outstretched arm of the defender to Clayfell Harris for the alley oop dunk in transition!
The crowd were now pumped and we continued to make plays which took us into the half-time break level at 39.
The game was all to play for and we felt confident.
But we had been on the receiving end of a Worcester Wolves outburst before and knew that we had to stay disciplined in the second half if we wanted to win.
The third quarter was exactly what we expected and Wolves made a run and went up by seven points after about six minutes of play.
We remained composed, made a run of our own and brought the game back to level pegging by the closing seconds.
As the quarter drew to a close, Force’s captain Armand Anebo intercepted a pass, threw it to me, and I launched a half-court shot and drained it as time expired! We went into the fourth quarter ahead by three points (64-61).
Picking up where we left off, the stops kept coming and the shots continued to fall as we extended our lead to seven points.
We could taste victory, but Worcester were not going to accept defeat and made some big plays down the stretch.
One of which was a jump-shot by new signing Jordan Aaron to tie the game with 16 seconds left. Overtime was on the cards once again at the Carnegie Sports Arena.
Four quarters couldn’t split the teams so five more minutes of tense action was needed.
Wolves drew first blood in the extra period and were determined not to go home with a loss.
And with less than a minute left in the game the visitors were up by five until Klassen was fouled while shooting a three-pointer – and making it.
After converting the extra free-throw, it was just a one-point lead for the Worcester Wolves.
Sadly, that was as close as we would get for the rest of the game after some tough calls went against us. The game finished 92-91.
In our pursuit of a play-off spot, this win would have been massive which makes it all the more painful. But there is still the chance for us to achieve our goal and, this weekend, we proved that we can certainly play play-off basketball.
We have equally important games still to play so we must not be disheartened, only encouraged.
This Sunday, March 13, we take on the London Lions in what is sure to be yet another fantastic showcase on our home court.
We hope to see you all out in force on game day, acting as our trusty and noisey sixth man out there.