West Brom Basketball Club got their season off with the best possible start, winning both of their opening premier division clashes against Churchbridge and Birmingham Blazers.
The Black Country side travelled to Chasetown to take on a physical Churchbridge side in their opening game of the season, and had new signing Fredo Richardson to thank as he came up with the goods to seal a 90-89 win.
Richardson linked up with the side over the summer, and had to wait for his opportunity – with coach Tim Rudge bringing him into the fray in the second half to brilliant effect.
After a hard fought first half, after which the hosts led by just two points, Richardson put on an offensive display to behold, netting West Brom’s final eight points of the third quarter, before pouring in a further ten points in the final period, including the game-winner with just four seconds remaining.
That result secured West Brom’s winning start to the campaign ahead of their home opener with Birmingham Blazers.
The visitors were coming off an opening day defeat to Worcester Bears, and could do little to halt their losing start, with West Brom putting in a punishing performance to make for a brilliant opening week for Rudge’s charges.
Spurred by a 28-12 opening quarter, West Brom never looked back throughout their dominant performance, in which they saw five players notch double-figure scoring.
Richardson led the scoring with a strong 25-point performance, shortly followed by Sam Rudge with 21. Skupas Deimantas added 18 points of his own too as West Brom secured a 115-56 win.
Club director Liam Sheridan was delighted with the side’s strong start to the season, hailing the team’s new found strength in depth.
“I think we’ve had a great start to the season.” he said.
“The guys that have come in have really given us a lot more depth than we’ve had in the past. One through 12, we’ve got guys that can all come in and contribute in games.”
“The five to end a game on any given day could be different depending on who’s clicking and what units are working well.
“The first game against Churchbridge was a tough one, obviously it was a very close game throughout but we showed a lot of determination and teamwork as well.
“Lots of different players had very bright sparks at different points through that game and with the new guys that have come in that changes our point of attack as opposed to having a couple of guys that can contribute.
“Being battle tested that early in the season and coming out on top was important for us. Down the stretch of the season we might be vying for position, so to get that one point victory in a very tough game against a very tough opponent is a great confidence boost for everybody.
“The second game was a lot more comfortable in terms of the scoreline, Sam [Rudge’s] hot shooting inspired the rest of the team, who continued to shoot well – I think we hit 15 threes in that game which is a testament to the depth that we have in the team now.
“I think the challenges in that game were keeping our standards high and not diverting away from all the things we’ve been practicing. I think we did a great job of staying disciplined, so to win two very contrasting games is a great start to the season.
“Hopefully that can continue as the season goes on and we can carry on our good form.”