WARWICKSHIRE Bears head coach Tom Masterson paid tribute to former player/coach Adrian Taber following the 69-44 defeat to The Owls in the British Wheelchair Basketball NL Premier Division.
Taber, a much-loved member of the Warwickshire Bears, sadly passed away over the festive period, with last weekend’s match proving the first opportunity to commemorate the player.
It was also a unique occasion given the new setting of Bears’ home venue at Tile Cross Academy in Birmingham, following the sudden end to their tenancy at Henley Sports and Community Club at the back end of last year.
Bears made a positive start despite emotions being high and matched the efforts of the league leaders, so much so that they ended the first quarter 18-12 ahead.
A tougher second period followed, however, with Bears scoring just two points as The Owls found their rhythm.
Jack Perry and Richard Pullen were notably impressive, scoring at regular intervals to send the leaders in at the break with a 32-20 lead.
While improvements were made in quarter three, the hosts were unable to narrow the 12-point gap by the close of the period, trailing 50-38.
Instead of a last-ditch fightback, The Owls put Warwickshire to the sword to win the game by a 25-point margin.
Speaking after the game, Masterson said: “I would like to congratulate Dan Johnson [head coach] and the Owls on their victory and also for joining us in a minute’s silence before the game to remember Adrian Taber.
“Today was going to be a tough day for the team and I’m really proud of how well they played given the circumstances.
“Adrian was a very much-loved and appreciated member of our club and his loss has really hit us all, we are still trying to come to terms with it. I think he would have also been proud of the effort the team gave today.”
Elsewhere, Bears’ third team were in action in Division Three Central/South East but fell to a 40-34 overtime defeat to Plymouth Raiders II.
In the battle of the two unbeaten clubs in the division, Raiders looked set to take victory before Jagdeep Tiwana netted a three-pointer with seconds remaining to force over-time – during which Plymouth went on to emerge victorious.
Bears’ first team head to Sheffield Steelers on Sunday (3pm), while the third team have to wait until Saturday February 29 for their next taste of action away to Swansea Storm.