A massive fourth period comeback wasn't quite enough as Wolves' men went down 101-93 at high-flying Thames Valley Cavaliers, on Saturday.
Thomas Baker's team outscored the big-spending hosts across three of the quarters but a poor second quarter proved costly as the 36-15 period proved fatal, but the Wolves' coach was pleased with his side's second half display:
"We started well, showing our intent to play our style and we looked good getting some early success" he said. "Unfortunately we backed off and struggled in the second quarter and TVC punished us with their firepower. It was pleasing that we pushed and carried on until the end and this is something to build upon for our next game."
Jordan Santiago again led the way for Wolves with 33 points - including three massive triples - 13 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists. But unlike last week's loss against Hemel, he received plenty of support from his team-mates with Kane Daley adding 18 points, Ahmed Ketiri finishing with 15 points and six boards and Ollie Wright posting 15 points in just 15 minutes.
A Wolves team missing probable starters Jerrell Layne and Dom Scott-Robinson along with Toby Gastaldi-Davies stayed in touch throughout the first period as Ketiri hit back-to-back lay-ups to open their scoring before Wright's basket put the visitors 12-11 up with six minutes gone.
A pair of Ray Akpofure baskets kept Wolves in touch but despite Santiago's free-throw, Oaklands trailed 21-15 at the first break. The second period proved to be little short of a disaster as Cavs outscored the young visitors 36-15, and despite Santiago tying things at 23 with a dunk early in the period the home team led 57-32 going into the locker room.
Five Daley points from Oaklands Academy player Daley opened the visitors' second half scoring with a shot inside and a trey, and Ketiri hit a triple before Santiago's floater made it a 15 point game. But that proved to be as close as it got in the third period and despite a Santiago triple the home side pulled away again to lead 80-56 at the final break.
Scores from Wright and Ketiri narrowed the gap at the start of the fourth, only for Hawley to convert three at the foul line following a Veiz Cani foul, and it was a 29-point game going into the final seven minutes.
It was Daley that launched the late run with a trey before Santiago hit five straight points and some excellent defence saw Wright score from both inside and outside the three-point line as Wolves' defence saw them repeatedly score in transition. It was Wright's steal and score that forced a timeout from Cavs' coach Robert Banks with 55 seconds on the clock and the lead down to 11. Adan scored on the resumption to effectively end the comeback but there was time for Daley to add to his tally at the foul line and Wright to hit a trey as Wolves kept playing until the final buzzer.
Blaine Freckleton led the hosts with 18, while Hakeem Syla was kept relatively quiet by his standards as he finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Photos by Lello Ametrano.