The Wolves Div 1 Men were in action for the second time this weekend facing the Spartans on Sunday afternoon. The Wolves again had a depleted side with work commitments or holidays coming into play again. For this game the Wolves had only 5 division 1 players available, however Darran Baxter and Gavin Baxter both accepted the invitation to play up from the division 2 side for their first taste of division 1 basketball this season. The Spartans are a fast paced, often high scoring outfit, so the Wolves had their backs against the wall as they looked to continue their winning streak which started before the Christmas holidays.
As the game started the Wolves looked the sharper of the two teams, scoring a number of baskets in transition and in the interior. Marc Dickson, Andy Sturrock and Owen Cook opened up the scoring early with nice moves to the basket. On one score Andy Smyth made a nice baseline drive, with a lovely pass to Marc Dickson for the lay up. The Spartans however found some form mid way through the quarter and started to fight back behind the quickness and sharp shooting of their guard Darren Spense. Owen Cook did a fantastic job defending Darren, however the savvy guard was able to get to the basket, score and draw fouls off the Wolves. The score after the first quarter was 17-15 to the Wolves.
In the second quarter the Wolves tightened up their help defense and went on the run, continously pulling down defensive rebounds and getting steals, which allowed them to fast break time and again. By pushing the ball and being aggressive the Wolves got to the basket and found themselves repeatedly getting fouled. In this quarter alone Marc Dickson, Andy Smyth, Owen Cook, and Grant Dickson found themselves on the foul line. They converted all 11 foul shot attempts in this quarter which allowed them to open the game up. Both Gavin Baxter and Darran Baxter saw court time towards the end of the half and both played really well. The Wolves outscored the Spartans 25-10 in this quarter, meaning they were going into half time with a 42-25 half time lead.
The third quarter saw the Wolves lose the lead a bit as the Spartans became desperate and began to drive inside more often and looked to shoot the ball more often, rather than be careful. However the Wolves steadied their performance and pulled together a trade mark recovery. Each team scored 20 points in the quarter, meaning the Wolves held onto their 17 point lead going into the fourth and final quarter.
In the fourth quarter Darren Spence and Jamie Rillay began shooting 3 point shots almost every possession, and to their credit they made a few of them. However the Wolves continued to spread the scores around the team and continued to play great team defense. The Wolves ran a lovely play that culminated with a lovely back door pass from Andy Smyth to Grant Dickson for a wide open lay up. The Wolves ran out winners with a 75-61 final score.
Andy Smyth top scored with 19 points, Marc Dickson chipped in 17, Owen Cook had 16, Grant Dickson had 12, while Andy Sturrock had 7 and Gavin Baxter finished his first div 1 game of the season with 4. The win however would not have been possible without the fantastic defense played by Owen Cook and Andy Sturrock of Darren Spence, and by Grant Dickson who did an amazing job containing Jamie Rilley.
The Wolves are now in 2nd place in the league and face the league leading Lions this coming Sunday. It is heating up in the Lothian League, can the Wolves maintain their winning ways? Keep logging on to find out.