The West Lothian Wolves Senior Men have won their first piece of silverware in 5 seasons, beating the Edinburgh Kings in the Lothian Cup Final on Saturday 31st March. This was a very interesting game as the Wolves had never previously beaten the Kings in the Lothian League, despite coming close at the end of last season, losing by a point, and losing by 3 points at the start of this season. The Wolves were pushing for the Lothian Leagues top spot, until the Kings beat them in a league game at the beginning of March. In this game the Wolves were utterly defeated, losing by 19 points.
The Wolves Senior men have made a name for themselvs around the league as being a tough, defensive minded team, relying on a great team ethos that has helped them turn around games all season long and has allowed them to have a good league record of 9 wins and 6 losses. When the league began to slip from their grip the Wolves looked to the Lothian Cup in order to make a real success of the season, however the Wolves had to take on the Edinburgh Lions in the Semi-Finals, who are currently top of the Lothian League. To make things more interesting the Lions had beaten the Wolves by 5 points earlier in the season and beat the Wolves by 4 points the week prior to the semi-final game. The West Lothian team put in a great performance in the semi-final and beat the Lions by 25 points. The Wolves came into the Final with a point to prove and they did just that.
The Wolves came out in the first quarter a took control of the game. The Kings looked shocked as the Wolves used a combination of stifling defense and confident offense. The Wolves appeared to score at ease using a variety of their plays and good ball movement to keep the Kings guessing. The Wolves rebounded the ball really well, which allowed them to control the Kings offensive chances and keep more possession of the ball. At the end of the first quarter the Wolves were in the lead with a score of 19-5.
The Wolves dominant play continued into the second quarter, with more good ball movement and a constant attack on the basket which made the Kings foul more often and put the Wolves on the free throw line for some free points. The Wolves balanced attack saw a number of players score baskets, which again meant the Kings were kept guessing when on defense. The Wolves went into the half time break with a commanding 16 point lead, with the score being 33-17.
The Kings are an experienced team and the Wolves player/coach Andy Smyth spoke at length with his men at half time about the possibility of a Kings comeback in the second half of the game. His worries were unfounded as the Wolves continued their dominant play in the third quarter and continued to stop the Kings scoring. The Kings came out of the half time break looking a bit hungrier and they began the half in a very physical manner. The Wolves were continually bumped and hit as the made their way to the basket, however the Wolves' Owen Cook, Marc Dickson and Andy Smyth absorbed the contact inside and continued to score well and hussle on defense. The Wolves guards Grant Dickson and Bobby Cosgrove controlled the game, making great passes for other players to score, and on occassion Grant Dickson looked for his own scoring opportunities too. Andy Sturrock put in a great shift, playing really good defence and pulling down rebound after rebound. Frazer Morrison got on the floor in the third quarter and displayed his great open court defense, helping the Wolves steal the ball a number of times and disrupting the Kings offensive flow. As the third quarter came to a close the Wolves were firmly in control with a score of 45-27.
The fourth quarter followed the script for this game with the Wolves looking comfortable and in control. The Kings could not get back into the game and the Wolves kept up their great defense and started to slow down their offense to limit the number of Kings possesions. In the End the Wolves ran out winners 59-37. A completely convincing win. The Wolves team looked thrilled as they lifted the trophy with their friends and family around them. Marc Dickson, team captain stated, 'I am so happy for all the guys in the team, this shows we are doing the right things and that we are continuing to improve.' Player/Coach Andy Smyth reitered this statment and added, 'To beat the Kings in this manner is overwhelming, and to also do it in a cup final is very rewarding. I am so proud of our team and what we have achieved. The run to the cup has shown that we are one of the top teams in our league as we had to beat the first and second placed teams in the league to get this cup......this feels good.'
Top scorers for the Wolves in this game were Owen Cook with 17 points, 12 rebounds and three steals, Marc Dickson with 16 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Andy Smyth with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals. Andy Sturrock collected 11 rebounds and Grant Dickson chipped in with 8 points and some brilliant passing that led to some great baskets.
Well done men, Lets go Wolves