By Ryan Gillham
Durham Wildcats made a positive reaction after Friday night’s loss away to Sheffield Sharks in an exciting encounter against the Leicester Riders, but were on the end of a narrow defeat at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre.
The game started brightly with both sides getting early points on the board but it was Leicester who took the advantage, gaining an eight point lead in the opening stages.
The Riders lead was to be short lived as Wildcats captain Bucci and fellow guard Paul Elderkin punished Leicester a three pointer and a monstrous dunk creating a 6-0 run taking the score line to 11-10.
The lead kept changing hands throughout the first but Riders’ Drew Sullivan made a three point play gave them the lead to end the quarter 17-20.
The tables soon turned again to start the second when Keith Page entered the game scoring four points early on to take the lead 21-20.
An eventful quarter saw both teams go strong on defence but a Sam Johnson dunk was the start of a push by the Wildcats.
Keith Page scored six points in quick succession causing the Riders coach to call a timeout with the score at 31-26.
The time out gave the Riders a boost with Captain Drew Sullivan leading the way for Leicester and making the game a tie at the end of the second, 38-38.
The Riders came out of the blocks in the third taking the early lead with some impressive defence but the Wildcats were out to match their opponents with Keith Page at the forefront of the action again tying the game at 53-53 before Leicester closed out the quarter with a four point lead at 56-60.
Leicester started the fourth where they left off in the third by creating a 10-point gap, the biggest lead of the game. Coach Elderkin decided to call a time out with 6.25 on the clock to try kick his team into gear and it seemed to pay off as they brought the score line back to within 3 points with the score at 67-70.
The Riders opened the gap up once again by eight points after calling a time out of their own but a Paul Elderkin three gave the Wildcats some hope, but it was too late as the final buzzer went ending the game 74-79.
Coach Elderkin was really pleased with his team’s performance after Friday’s game but they needed a win.
“A great performance by the lads,” he said. “We are trying to work on our inside game more and take less shots from outside which I think worked for us today and I believe we will win more games this way.
“The W is the most important thing though in this league and we look straight to next week’s game against Mersey Tigers.”
M.V.P – Keith Page (Durham Wildcats) 24 points and four assists. He made a big impact on the game despite the loss.
Next game is Sunday 28th October vs Mersey Tigers.