Worcester Wolves celebrate winning the BBL Cup for the first time
Worcester Wolves won the BBL Cup, beating Bristol Flyers 67-59 in a low-scoring final at Arena Birmingham.
Wolves centre Amir Williams was named most valuable player for his 23 points and 13 rebounds, and was a problem that Bristol never managed to solve.
Worcester never trailed but had to hold their nerve when the Flyers came back to trail 58-55 late on.
Gentrey Thomas led Flyers’ tally on 13 points and Raphell Thomas-Edwards added 12 as they lost their first-ever final.
The match took place in front of a BBL Cup final record crowd of 9,244, with more than 5,300 having watched the earlier WBBL final, won by Sevenoaks Suns.
Worcester started better, taking the first quarter 16-12 with Williams, at 6ft 11in one of the true centres in the BBL, dominating inside offensively and defensively to hit eight points and Bristol missing 11 shots in those opening 10 minutes.
In the second quarter, Bristol were more careful with the ball and rebounded strongly, keeping Williams to just a single basket – the final one of the half – but they still trailed 34-25 at the interval.
Williams scored Worcester’s first seven points after the break, but the Flyers improved when he took a breather and Marcus Delpeche, who had not scored in the first half, went to work inside with three scores.
Bristol made their move in the final quarter, reducing their arrears to 54-50, only for Worcester’s Jordan Williams to prove he, like his namesake, could also play close to the basket with two scores.
A three by Thomas-Edwards and a two from Fred Thomas put Bristol a single score away from levelling the game with just over four minutes remaining.
But scores from Kofi Josephs and Cortez Edwards meant Wolves led 62-55 with 2:25 on the clock and Bristol then failed to score for almost a minute and a half, by which time their chance of a turnaround was gone.
Worcester always looked more comfortable with centre Amir Williams on the court but the man of the match deflected praise from himself after the game.
“My MVP award today was also a team MVP,” said Williams. “Because they [his team-mates] were able to find me in the right spots offensively and defensively I just did what I do – try to clean up everything on the glass. They made the game easier for me.”
Bristol captain Daniel Edozie was adamant his side’s slow start was not caused by big game nerves.
He said: “I think we were just trying to get a feel for the game – it was a different environment and a little bit of a different atmosphere – the first quarter we were just getting up and down and possibly forcing a few things.”
Bristol are already through to the semi-finals of the Trophy after their quarter-final opponents, London City Royals, withdrew from the league.