WARWICKSHIRE Wheelchair Basketball Club’s second string narrowly missed out on the Division 2 title, after losing out in the final of the National Championship play-offs.
Bears 2 had already earned promotion to Division 1 for next season, after finishing second in Division 2 South, but had the chance to win the Division 2 title after beating Lancashire Bulldogs in the semi-final.
The Bulldogs topped the North conference, and provided the opposition for one of the best games of the play-offs, with Bears triumphing by the narrowest of margins 63-62.
An end-to-end first half led to both teams scoring points at regular intervals, with Daz Peasley, Mohammed Ayub and Harry Draper all in typically clinical form for Warwickshire.
Bears led 34-30 by half-time, but the intensity of the second half did not die down, with both sides going all out to try and seal a place in the final.
Fortunately for head coach Tom Masterson, it was his Warwickshire side that earned a tilt for the title, after pulling away from the Bulldogs in the final minute to win 63-62.
Masterson was left a relieved man, and highlighted the impact of female players Aimee Lane and young prospect Ellan Fraser who starred throughout.
In a final contested by the two runners-up in the North and South conferences during the regular season, it was North Wales Knights who prevailed in the final 65-52 to win the Division 2 title.
Similar to the semi-final, a fast-paced affair between the two sides resulted in a high-scoring opening, although neither side were able to gain a clear foothold.
The Knights contained Bears’ main threat Peasley by ensuring two players marked him at all times whenever Warwickshire went on the attack, with the experience in the North Wales ranks the only differing factor as Knights took a 27-23 lead into the break.
Bears were unable to deal with the pressing game that the Knights adopted after the interval, with chances being harder to come by, whilst the Welsh side were able to remain clinical and build a commanding lead to be crowned champions.
Speaking after the game, Masterson congratulated the Knights and applauded the efforts of his side.
“We played our hearts out today and I’m so proud of our team who gave everything.
“All three players who were called up were amazing this weekend and highlights how we are always looking to push our players to play at higher levels.”