Wildcats finish on a low note after double defeat

First published in Basketball: Durham Wildcats

DURHAM were left heartbroken after a double defeat capped off a difficult campaign for the BBL rookies.

But head coach Dave Elderkin remained upbeat as his side gave their all in two clashes which could easily have gone the way of the Wildcats.

“I’m not frustrated at all that we suffered the two defeats,” he said following back-to-back losses against Milton Keynes Lions and Glasgow Rocks.

“It was a marvellous game on Saturday and it was so good to see the players perform to their best and give their all.”

Durham were showing the signs of a long and arduous campaign well before Saturday’s tip-off – Elderkin left with only eight players at his disposal and without son Paul.

But the veteran playcaller was pleased with the team that took the court in both games and added: “It was a tough ask for the players but we kept playing and our basketball was good throughout.”

Durham got off to a flier in their first fixture of the weekend as they took the first quarter convincingly to lead the Lions 32-25.

Elderkin’s side were looking to build on last weekend’s emphatic win against Guildford Heat which sparked new life into a young and vibrant Wildcats squad.

But as fatigue crept into the Durham camp the more experienced Milton Keynes roster capitalised to claim a nailbiting 96-91 win.

Durham duo Mike Cappocci and Ralph Bucci scored 25 points apiece but the Newton Aycliffe faithful were left disappointed in the face of yet another defeat.

This left a tired Wildcats roster to pick up the pieces ahead of yesterday’s trip to Glasgow and the homecourt Rocks thrashed their rivals 87-66.

The visitors started well and once again looked at home at the highest level of British basketball.

But with fatigue a big factor the ruthless Rocks smashed through Durham’s defence to take real momentum into their play-off campaign.

And this wrapped up a tough but invaluable campaign for the Wildcats whose grit and determination gave veteran BBL campaigners much to ponder all season.

“We have had a difficult season but look at the Rocks now – when they first came to the BBL they only won three games and that’s what we’ve done,” added Elderkin.

“Worcester and many other teams struggled in their first campaign and the players now know we are on the up and will improve.”

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