A double-header weekend proved fruitful for West Brom Basketball Club’s senior team, as they defeated West Midlands Police and MLC to see them continue to climb the table.
Liam Sheridan’s side opened their weekend pursuits with a crunch clash with the Police, who included a number of former West Brom players in their ranks.
Both Dan Opoku and Chase Smith were integral members during the Black Country outfit’s promotion campaign last season, but neither could halt the onslaught from their former side in what was a dominating performance for the hosts.
Deciding to utilise their speed to their advantage, West Brom quickly opened up a lead in the first quarter, and would not surrender their advantage throughout all four periods thanks to strong outside shooting and a high pressure full-court defence.
By half-time the result was almost a formality, and led by a team-high 23 points from Luke Hatfield – West Brom secured the points with a 87-62 win at the final buzzer.
However, the job was only half done following that result, with the George Salter Academy based team making the short trip to MLC just two days later.
Buoyed by the return of Michal Banczer, who missed the victory over the Police due to illness, West Brom once again built a sizeable lead in the first two periods to help them cruise to success.
MLC simply couldn’t handle the pressing defence and fast-paced offense implemented by their local rivals, resulting in numerous run-outs through the early stanzas.
In a first half of little resistance for Sheridan’s side, West Brom were finding plenty of joy all over the court – topped off by an Adam Dawson four-point play to help them into a double figure lead at the half.
Lke in their earlier game of the weekend, the visitors didn’t let up going into the final minutes, assuring that their double-header weekend ended with complete success.
Hatfield once again led the scoring effort with 29 points, with Banczer pouring in 28 of his own – although player/coach Sheridan was quick to hail the efforts of all his players over the testing weekend.
“It was obviously great to get both wins this weekend, especially given that we were ranked fifth, sixth and seventh respectively, so it gives us a bit of distance from both sides in the league table now.” Sheridan said.
“We have a great bunch of guys who have really bought into our new schemes and philosophy – we could come up with the best defensive strategy in the world, but if every player doesn’t buy-in it’s irrelevant.
“I feel like we gave another really strong performance [against the Police], we seem to be performing really well in the first quarters of our games of late.”
“We jumped out to a 25-8 lead by the end of the opening period primarily based on our defence which everyone is buying into.
“Our effort and intensity levels are really good right now so hopefully we can keep that going.
“I think given that some of the players [for the Police] were ex-West Brom guys, the players that had left had a point to prove. But the players that stayed also had that too, so it was almost like a battle of one-upsmanship on-court.
“I tried not to get caught up in that personally, but I do feel that it’s good to get a win given the circumstances playing against some of our ex-teammates.”
“Looking at our offense, at times we’re a little static and the ball gets stuck when we don’t move continuously.
“But we had a good spread of team scoring, with four guys dropping 15 or more showing the depth of our squad.
“Our improvements on defence are a mixture of things. I think our loss to Birmingham Mets last month was a wake-up call for the entire team.
“We’ve had an up and down season so far, but we have improved so much from our first game of the season to now, we really are a different team.
“We have really hit our stride recently, we have great chemistry and I’m really looking forward to continuing to move forward together.”
West Brom cap off the calendar year with two more games, first as they host fellow promoted side Lordswood on December 15th, before travelling to Trojans three days later.