Big relief as Wildcats secure third win

First published in Basketball: Durham Wildcats

The Durham Wildcats entertained the Newton Aycliffe faithful in a match that saw coach Dave Elderkin's side finally grab a breathtaking third BBL win of the season.

The hosts ran out convincing 96-85 winners in a match that saw the rookie franchise firing on all cylinders - even without their influential skipper Mario Flaherty.

He was out with injury - opening the door for young gun Liam O'Mahoney to fill the big shoes of the Durham leader.

And a delighted Elderkin said: "It was a great win and I'm really pleased with Liam and Notis Chalkidis who filled in for Mario and played fantastic basketball."

Former Team Northumbria star O'Mahoney made the step up to the BBL this season and finally got his chance to shine in the absence of the Wildcats skipper.

The young forward helped a much-improved Durham rise to the challenge in the face of a Guildford side that had posted huge wins in the previous two fixtures between the two teams.

With Mike Capocci in sensational form the Wildcats clinched the first quarter in emphatic style and led by seven at the half.

And an improved field goal percentage of 56% delighted Elderkin after a week spent working on perceived weaknesses.

"We played very, very well," he added. "It's great to see hard work finally paying off for us and I'm just so pleased with the players' work ethic and performance levels.

"Guildford had a phase in the later stages of the match where they pushed us hard but our defence was excellent and we managed to weather the storm and take the game. "

Durham turned up the heat on Guildford and put aside the heartache of previous defeats to claim a fully deserved win against the athletic visitors.

The Surrey side had no answer to some sparkling offense and quickly found themselves in the middle of a Wildcats onslaught that fuelled an electric atmosphere in front of another fantastic crowd.

Capocci and experienced campaigner Ralph Bucci topped the scorers for the hosts with 28 and 22 points respectively.

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