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Worcester aim for first BBL final

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Worcester aim for first BBL final

Worcester are in their sixth season in the BBL and they find themselves just eighty minutes away from a first final appearance.

Worcester are in their sixth season in the BBL and they find themselves just eighty minutes away from a first final appearance.

Their excellent 91-62 away win at Mersey Tigers set up a two-legged BBL Cup semi-final clash against Plymouth Raiders, and represents the furthest that the Wolves have gone in the competition.

Coach Paul James said on the night: “It was a scrappy first half with lots of turnovers, but in the end it was a great win. This is the first time that the Wolves have got to the Cup semi-finals and I’m delighted for the players.”

They have, however, previously reached the semi-finals of another BBL tournament – the BBL Trophy – which they reached in 2008.

On that occasion, the Wolves were beaten 81-75 by Guildford in a one-off affair held at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, against the then BBL champions.

MVP on that day was Anthony Paez, who scored 26 points, and was ably assisted by the likes of James Life and Shaun Durant.

A tight first quarter, that included a power dunk from Life and a super alley-oop from Paez, ended with the Wolves 19-18 up, although it wasn’t all rosey – with an injury to Ivan Brosko forcing him out of the game.

At half time, the Wolves went in 45-38 to the good, and they had stretched that lead up to 11 at 56-45 half way through the third quarter, before the Heat mounted a comeback.

Ajou Deng, brother of NBA star Luol, was the star for Guildford, and he, alongside Tony Dorsey helped them turn around the deficit.

That set up a BBL Trophy final clash with Newcastle Eagles, which the Heat went on to win 86-79, with now-Glasgow star EJ Harrison picking up the MVP award.

So the Wolves can look back at that semi-final experience as just that, as they prepare to face Plymouth over two legs, and aim to reach the NIA in Birmingham in January.

After a difficult first season in the BBL, which saw them win just four games, the Wolves have continued to developed, and they finished the 2009/10 season with a .500 record of 18 wins and 18 losses, which saw them narrowly miss out on the play-offs

Last year, they once again finished 9th, with 15 wins from 33 games.

So for 2011/12, appearing in a final may act as just reward for the work that the Wolves have done since their arrival in the BBL.

But Plymouth might just have something to say about that.

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