Liam Sheridan hailed his short-handed West Brom Basketball side, despite seeing his charges dumped out of the Rosebowl competition after a 117-113 loss to Northwood Valiants.
The George Salters Academy based team faced an uphill battle from the off, with the visitors benefiting from a 68 point handicap lead in the fixture – as per the competitions rules.
Each team in the competition is given a points handicap decided by their league position at the end of the previous season.
But with a number of players missing, just seven were able to suit up in green and white.
Despite their depleted numbers, West Brom put in a resolute first-half display, slowly chipping away at the third division teams’ lead.
This was followed by further dominance in the penultimate period, and with just minutes remaining in the game it looked as if the hosts could pull off a stunning win, drawing their opponents to within two points.
But it all proved to be in vain for Sheridan’s men, who couldn’t quite catch up with the Stoke based side – falling short a number of times at the free throw line, eventually missing out by just four points as the buzzer sounded.
Despite the loss, the boss was still delighted with his players, particularly given their shortened numbers.
“Obviously it’s always tough to lose with it being a close game in a knockout competition, but everyone’s effort was at 100 per cent.” Sheridan said.
“With just seven guys we did as much as we could physically, I just think a mixture of fatigue and poor free throw shooting got the better of us.
“The charity stripe definitely wasn’t on our side today, we only shot just over 50 per cent over the game.
“In the final minutes we only managed to knock down four of our nine chances. If we make those shots it’s a whole different result – so it hurts a little bit to go down like that, but I can’t fault the guys’ effort over the whole forty minutes.
“Now that we’ve only got league fixtures to look forward to, on an even playing field to start, we have a lot of positives to take from this game.
“We implemented a new brand of defense in the game which I was really impressed with.
“I just think defensively we just need to stick with our points of emphasis and offensively we have guys that can score the basketball so we should be fine going forward.”
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