The Big Dogs 2020/21 – 2

February 14
A depleted Wolves team found reigning Division One champions Solent Kestrels too strong as they went down 119-58 on Sunday.
With leading scorer Jordan Santiago and forward James Cummings both out of action due to ankle injuries and several of Thomas Baker’s younger players also missing it proved to be a long afternoon for the home side.
Kane Daley again led Wolves, finishing with 19 points and six rebounds. The rest of the scoring was evenly spread with AJ Roberts with eight points, despite struggling at the foul line, six rebounds and four assists  Ray Akpofure, Ahmed Ketiri and Toby Gastaldi-Davies finished with seven points apiece, adding six, five and four rebounds apiece.

Coach Baker was in reflective mood after the game: “playing against Solent is always a great test, they have set the standard across the last couple of seasons emphasised by their 50-0 record in NBL matches. It’s truly an excellent achievement” he said.
“We made a commitment at the start of the season to give opportunities to our academy guys to compete in D1 to establish a British player pathway. I was proud to see them compete against one of the best teams in the country. I have seen a positive shift in our intent over recent weeks and this is what we are emphasising with our group.”

American pair Travis Charles (23 points and six rebounds) and Ian Smith (18 points, six rebounds and six assists) again led Kestrels while Elliott Dadds had 19 points and five boards. Having helped keep Wolves predecessors, Leopards, in the top flight last season, Orlan Jackman marked his return to Oaklands with ten points, five rebounds and as many assists.
Roberts opened the scoring and a Daley trey gave Wolves an early 5-1 lead but as the visitors lived at the foul line they went on a 19-2 run to take a lead. A Gastaldi-Davies triple stopped the run and Daley beat the buzzer with a long-range trey to cut the deficit to 26-15 at the first break.
Obi Egbunike converted an and-one to open the second period before Roberts’ jumper made the score 28-21 before Kestrels reeled off a 17 unanswered points – including back-to-back triples from Dadds – to effectively end the game as a contest. Ketiri ended the run and Nick Powdrell drained a triple to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the hosts but Solent went into the locker room with a 54-28 lead.
Only Daley’s three-point play troubled the scorer for home side in the first seven minutes of the second half as Kestrels poured in 27 points, including two more Dadds triples and although Roberts hit the final basket of the third period, Solent went into the final break with a massive 94-39 lead.
Scores from Roberts and Daley chipped a point off that lead in the first three minutes of the final period before Luke Gosney brought the century mark up for Kestrels. and despite Daley scoring eight points in the quarter, Kestrels comfortably recorded their 50th straight victory in BE competitions.


Wolves’ men couldn’t build on a good start as they went down 98-77 at home against Reading Rockets, on Sunday afternoon.

Thomas Baker’s side rushed into a early 14-4 lead and were 60-58 ahead with three minutes of the third period remaining before the visitors outscored them 40-17 in the final third of the game.

The home side out-rebounded the Rockets 56-45 but a poor shooting night saw them convert only 34 of their 84 field goal attempts and were cold from downtown as they hit only 5-31 of their three-pointers.

AJ Roberts led the home side with a 22 point, 15 rebound double-double, adding two assists and a couple of blocks. Academy player Kane Daley continued his good season with 15 points while Jordan Santiago returned from injury to finish with 12 points and nine assists despite a difficult shooting display.

Rockets were led by 19 points and seven rebounds from Leome Francis while Jaz Bains hit four three pointers on his was to 14 points.  American guard O’Showen Williams was held to a season-low 13 points on 4-from-17 shooting, adding seven points and as many rebounds.

Ahmed Ketiri and Roberts gave Wolves a 4-0 lead before Francis and Sam Grant replied but back-to-back triples from Seth Wiley saw Oaklands blow into their biggest lead of the game at ten points. Scores from Obi Egbunike and Ketiri saw the hosts lead 22-14 heading into the final two minutes of the period before Rockets finished strongly to cut Wolves’ advantage to 22-20 at the first break.

Daley hit a triple early in the second period, but Rockets chipped away and took their first lead of the game through Reiss Pinnock with 6:16 on the clock  Roberts’ triple kept the hosts in touch, and four straight Daley points meant Wolves went into the locker room trailing 51-45.

Francis opened the second half scoring but the next three minutes saw Wolves play some of their best basketball of the season, rattling off 11 straight points and forcing two shot clock violations. Roberts drained a triple and hit a lay-up in the run and Santiago added two baskets as the hosts took a 56-53 lead.

Scores from Roberts and Santiago kept Wolves ahead by two before Rockets launched the game winning run with seven of their 14 points coming at the foul line before Bains hit a triple to put Rockets in charge at 72-64 going into the fourth period.

Francis and Ben Dixon took the lead out to 12 early in the fourth period before Ray Akpofure – who had a season high in both points (11) and rebounds (10) – briefly made it a ten-point game before Rockets closed out the win.

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