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NWBA D2: Wrexham Raiders 53 Brewers Lite 73

1st May, 2024 | News | 0 comments

Brewers Lite needed a result here to guarantee their playoff spot whil a win for the home side would give them a chance to reach the post-season.

In their first season and with so much at stake, the Lite got off to a nervy opening, rushing their shots, not running their sets and just playing a bit scrappy.

A first quarter time-out was needed to reset, with Head Coach Ben Scott reiterating to his charges exactly how far they have come this season. If they could settle and play with controlled intensity they could come away with a memorable victory.

The message clearly got through because they finished the quarter strong to come from behind to edge it by two points, 15-13.

Once the fire was lit there was no putting it out. Marcin Fiedorowicz (19pts) was crashing the boards at both ends but it was John Opiala who turned the fire into an inferno. Time and again he raced away on the fast break to score and Raiders couldn’t adjust.

It was that display that led him to a massive 32 point game and the MVP award as he gave the Brewers Lite an offensive dynamism.

Lite took the quarter and led 36-29 at the half.

The third saw Raiders try to stem the flow and they did manage to bring the scoring rate down, but the cost was that their own offensive intensity fell too. It was the lowest scoring quarter of the game as the Lite pushed and probed but Raiders stood firm.

Hayden Kavanagh was a stand out, his seven points earned through tough inside work and his effort contributed to a number of successful offences for the Lite, rewarding his persistence and graft at the five over the second half of the season.

In important games, margins count and valuable points contributions were also made by brothers Andrew and Andrei De Guzman, Jan Santos, Theo Harrison and Adam Lloyd, while the senior De Guzman – Aris – brought vision and composure to the defence. There was even a rare score from veteran Alec Doyle, following a sharp assist from Andy Cain.

In the final quarter fatigue got the better of the Raiders and, despite a two minute spell where they looked like going on a dangerous run, they simply couldn’t reel the Lite back in as they finished with a 20-point lead to seal a playoff place in their first ever season.

“That is a great win for this team,” said Scott afterwards. “Raiders are not an easy team to play and they fought hard. We made life difficult enough for ourselves in the first few minutes with the way we played, but that shows just how far this group have come.

“Earlier in the season we might not have recovered from that and would have lost that game. But now we know our system, we know each other much better and the younger and newers lads are really stepping up and taking responsibility.

“Seeing Theo, Andrei and Andrew in that game playing with more maturity and control, working hard on defence and stamping their own authority on the game was brilliant.

“Hayden, who plays an often thankless role inside, fighting for everything and not only getting his rewards but creating opportunities for others. and Marcin doing the same from the four. John and Jan, who have both been out for a while coming back in and providing that drive and Andy, who made some key plays tonight and was desperately unlucky not to score.

“Then we have the veteran players – Al Chall, who is a lock on defence and a versatile player on both sides of the ball, Aris, who’s experience at the point is invaluable, Adam Lloyd who brings that vital on-court leadership and Doyle, who is just one of those guys no-one wants to go up against.

“The Brewers Lite project has surpassed all our expectations this season and, as a result, we have sealed a playoff place with two games to go. It is a fantastic effort and I’m so proud of everyone who has played for the Lite this season and has got us to this point.”

Brewers Lite are proudly supported by LMC Lighting & Electrical ServicesAdmiral Taverns and Quarry & Castle Project Management Consultancy.