Shock and awe as Warwickshire Bears claim a silver medal at play-offs

Warwickshire Bears celebrate lifting silverware at the British Wheelchair Basketball national play-offs. Picture submitted

Warwickshire Bears celebrate lifting silverware at the British Wheelchair Basketball national play-offs. Picture submitted

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Warwickshire Bears came away from the BWB National play-off weekend in Worcester with a second-placed finish after two thrilling games.

They opened up against Vikings in the Division Two semi-final and took a slender 16-14 lead into the second quarter.

Bears had opened up a 32-25 advantage at half-time, with Ben Haigh well on his way to an impressive haul of 24 points.

Vikings hit back to win the third quarter 13-12 but nevertheless it was the Bears who entered the final ten minutes of the game with a six-point advantage.

Vikings continued their fightback in the fourth quarter, levelling the game at 55-55 with just 32 seconds left to play.

Both teams showed fantastic composure as the clock ticked down, but a buzzer-beater from Warwickshire Bears saw them secure their place in the final courtesy of a 59-57 victory.

Dan Gill, with 18 points and Derek Hall (12pts) also reached double figures.

The final against Swindon Shock was another nailbiter, with Bears this time staging the recovery.

Swindon had led 20-11 after the first quarter but Bears rallied to trail by just two points at half-time.

Shock extended their lead to 47-42 at the close of the third quarter but, in an incredibly tense final quarter, Warwickshire fought back to 53-53 with just under four minutes left on clock.

The teams continued to trade baskets, but Swindon showed the greater composure, edging their way to a 60-57 lead and then surviving an anxious moment when a three-point effort from Bears hit the ring and failed to drop in the final seconds of the game.

Gill top-scored for Bears with 24 points, with Haigh chipping in with 19 and despite the result going against his side, Bears coach Tim Masterson said his team’s efforts could not be faulted.

“Wow what a weekend,” said Masterson.

“We have been involved in two amazing games with both being won and lost in the last seconds of the game.

“I’d like to congratulate Swindon on their victory.

“Although naturally disappointed not to win the final I’m still immensely proud of our team and their achievements this year - all our teams have been amazing this season.”