Durham Wildcats 89 London Lions 84

DURHAM Wildcats boosted their play-off hopes with a narrow victory over the London Lions yesterday evening.

Dave Elderkin’s side ran out 89-84 winners in a game which saw Durham lead for most of the match and return to top form.

Durham came out victorious last time the Wildcats faced the Lions before Christmas, in a game which was forced into overtime.

The Wildcats, looking to wrap up a series win against the Lions, opened the scoring at Newton Aycliffe with a two-point basket from BBL rookie Brad Guinane.

But the visitors hit back, centre Adrien Sturt sinking a two-pointer.

And both teams traded baskets with ease in a highscoring first quarter which ended with the hosts leading by two points.

Durham came out in the second quarter looking to dictate on their home patch and Elderkin’s roster began to restrict the scoring of the Lions, establishing a dominant lead.

American point guard Mike Baldarelli sparked into life for the hosts as the Wildcats went on a ninepoint run, with Keith Page breaking into double figures when Durham started to play the brand of basketball which has seen them improve and impress this campaign.

However, Vince Macaulay’s visitors came back strong with a late surge of point scoring in the second, Durham leading 50- 44 at the half time buzzer.

London came out in the third looking to continue their momentum.

And the Lions continued to compete with Durham in all departments as the game began to turn into a dogfight with both teams looking to break through the solid defences.

With some smart play from Baldarelli the hosts went further in front, Elderkin’s men establishing an 11-point lead going into the final quarter.

The Lions came out in the fourth firing on all cylinders and reduced the deficit to three points with three minutes left.

But the Wildcats managed to hold out on their narrow lead and seal their eight win of the BBL campaign and keep their hopes of play-off place, come the end of the season alive.

Page topped the scoring list with a sensational 29 points for his side to prove his worth again.

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