West Brom Basketball Club came back down to earth with a bump, as they lost their season opening clash with Churchbridge ‘A’ 82-66.
The Black Country side travelled with plenty of confidence, having gone through a perfect pre-season schedule – beating Worcester University Alumn, Mat Catlow Selects and Broadway Casino. However, in their opening Premier League clash they failed to replicate that form.
The game started slowly for the visitors, who failed to get into any sort of rhythm early on, allowing Churchbridge to build a healthy lead.
With the hosts taking advantage of some sloppy defense and using their size effectively, West Brom saw a double digit deficit face them at the end of the first quarter.
Player/coach Liam Sheridan was quick to try and motivate his squad going into the second period, installing a full court press in an attempt to panic Churchbridge into turnovers.
The move was a wise one, and it limited the chances the host’s had on offense – although West Brom failed to truly impact the scoreboard by any reasonable amount as the half-time buzzer sounded.
It was the second half in which West Brom showed their quality, with the press once again proving difficult for Churchbridge to handle leading to easy looks for Sheridan’s side.
With a green and white run in the offing, the host’s did well to stand strong defensively – leaving the recently promoted visitors with a mountain to climb in the final period.
West Brom threatened briefly to challenge for the lead behind a team-high 19 point performance from Luke Hatfield. However, despite a three point stretch from the second-year guard, they failed to get within single digits – and Churchbridge held on to secure their first win of the campaign.
Sheridan didn’t dwell on the defeat, and instead looked at the positives from his side’s second-half performance:
“We had a very slow start in the first half, I think the team were just acclimatising to the new level.
“Second half though we really upped our effort and it translated onto the scoreboard, not enough to get a victory but we did chip away at their lead.
“That was the more heartening side of things for me, if we play like that each week I think we can do well.”
West Brom can now look ahead to their first home game of the season, and will hope to see their unbeaten home stand from last season continue against Trojans – a team they beat in last year’s cup competition.
“Trojans will be tough, they’re a good team, a scrappy team and they work hard.
“But I think we’re only going to be moving forward from this game we’ve just had and we’ll look to try and get that first win.”
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