West Brom Basketball Club saw their hopes of a top two finish dented, after they fell to defeat at reigning Premier Division champions Birmingham Mets. Check out the current WMBL league standings here.
Coming off a two week break ahead of the encounter, Tim Rudge’s side started the game strongly – opening up a three point lead on the hosts despite strong outside shooting from Mets guard Daniel Belgrave.
The hosts sharpened up their defence in the second quarter, limiting West Brom’s opportunities, whilst capitalising with their rebounding to provide a big blow to the Black Country side’s hopes of securing a win.
Managing just four baskets through open play in the period, Birmingham built a sizeable 53-39 point advantage as the buzzer sounded for half time.
Things improved in the third quarter for Rudge’s charges, although they did little to chip into the host’s 14 point advantage, instead seeing it increase to 16 as the final period approached.
Despite having a mountain to climb, West Brom put on a spirited comeback in the fourth quarter as they looked to mount a shock upset.
Bringing the scoreline to within single digits, the visitors did themselves proud but could not overcome Birmingham, eventually falling to a 100-94 defeat, despite outscoring their opponents 32-24 in the final stanza.
First year guard/forward Mudie Kapfumvuti was disappointed with the defeat, but admitted that plenty of positives can be taken from the performance:
“We had a good start. Obviously, we got challenged – they came at us with a strategy, and I think they play a game where they chat a lot and they’re in your face.
“I think we could have done a bit better by just re-strategising and getting back to it.
“We kind of put our heads down in the second quarter and third. If we played the way we did in the first and fourth quarter we’d have won that game. We just need to keep that positive vibe and take every moment, even after a bad play, to keep going.
“We had the fire at the beginning, we had the fire at the end and we picked up after that third quarter where we were 20 points down to bring it back to four points and eventually losing by six.
“Credit as well to everyone for trusting everyone to take the shot, to take the drive, to make the pass.
Despite the defeat, Kapfumvuti is confident that West Brom can push on in the final stretch of the season to hand themselves a strong play-off seed.
“I think we now know what we’re capable of. The season is almost done, but I feel like we can actually win the rest of our games if we seriously decide that we’re going to do it.
“Everyone’s got the same goal, not to try and rack up points or look good, and just go back to fundamentals and win the game like we did when we had a winning streak going on.
“I think Lordswood, Mets and Broadway Casino are the teams that really challenge us, and the teams that show whether we can push and we have.
“But I think we definitely can finish the season strong, we just need to continue pushing and continue going at it.
“The one thing I will say is, it’s not fair for some people to give up on the game when everyone else hasn’t given up.
“If your teammates are still on the court, we need to be supportive, be encouraging to try and help everyone’s morale and confidence so we can get the win.”
West Brom will next take to the floor this Sunday, as they host Broadway Casino at West Brom Leisure Centre – a win would see them complete a league triple over the recently promoted side. Check out the remaining schedule here.
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