Second win of the season for Wildcats

PAGE ONE: Wildcats’ Keith Page drives forward last night in victory

PAGE ONE: Wildcats’ Keith Page drives forward last night in victory

First published in Basketball: Durham Wildcats

Durham Wildcats grabbed their second BBL win of the season, beating Mersey Tigers at the Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre.

Durham ran out 91-71 convincing winners in a match which seen Dave Elderkin's side look comfortable throughout and find the basket on regular occasions.

Durham had struggled in previous weeks to find early baskets but this was not evident last evening with the Wildcats posting their highest point's tally of the season.

Brad Guinane opened the scoring for the hosts to kick start proceedings, closely followed by another basket from BBL rookie Andrew Keister.

Elderkin said in midweek that he and his team would be concentrating on themselves and not worrying about the opposition.

It proved the case with Durham playing some high intense offensive basketball and establishing a five-point lead early on.

The Tigers - winless this season - began to get more involved in the game, sinking baskets of their own and reminding Elderkin's side that this game would be no easy ride.

Mersey won all three BBL games with the Wildcats last year, but with both squads having plenty of new faces previous encounters went out the window - Durham leading by six at the end of the first quarter.

And Keister continued to show of his raw talents in the second quarter as the Wildcats continued to entertain and move into a commanding lead.

Keith Page began to build on his great scoring game from last week, sinking baskets with ease early in the second to give the Wildcats a lead of 15 with just over five minutes to go to the half interval.

The Tigers seemed shell shocked from the onslaught Durham implemented with Elderkin's side finding early points easy to come by - the hosts winning convincingly 46-27 at the half.

And Durham came out in the third quarter continuing their free flowing offensive play but with more resilience in defence not allowing Mersey to get any momentum.

The Tigers began to chip away at the deficit created - Rudy Etilopy posting points on the board.

But the Wildcats were in no mood for any slip ups and managed to tie the third quarter in the dying seconds - Mike Balderelli scoring from the three-point line to give Elderkin's side a 19-point lead going into the last quarter.

And Durham managed to see out the final push from the Tigers.

This gives the Wildcats a huge boost and ends their run of four straight BBL defeats in the league, Page and Keister topping the scorers for the home side, both with 18 points.

Elderkin will be pleased with his side's much-improved shooting performance and will be hoping it continues into next week's fixture against the Manchester Giants at home.

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