Worle struggle to a narrow victory

PUBLISHED: 09:49 20 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:01 24 May 2010

AFTER the excellent play against the league leaders last week, Worle struggled to get a grip on this game. Admittedly Dennis Smilevich was unavailable and Worle lost the corresponding away game, but Empees turned up with a bare five and Worle should have

AFTER the excellent play against the league leaders last week, Worle struggled to get a grip on this game.Admittedly Dennis Smilevich was unavailable and Worle lost the corresponding away game, but Empees turned up with a bare five and Worle should have been able to run them into the ground. Instead, Worle were grateful for a narrow win.Spencer Gilbert scored early on for Worle, but the next few minutes looked ominous. Shooting chances were missed and several times shots were taken which were little short of hopeless. The defence was reasonably steady, but Worle, nevertheless, found themselves slipping behind at 2-7 and wondering where the next points might come from.Coach Brian Skidmore called a time-out which seemed to have a slight impact and on the resumption, Russ Hayward slotted home a three-pointer. After a couple of minutes, Hayward did it again and Worle had the tip of their nose in front.After that, it was basket for basket. Richard Green hit a jump shot and Roman Hrypinyak sank two free throws and then scored inside. But each time, Empees responded until with two seconds remaining, Green threw up a shot that made three points and gave Worle a narrow 17-15 lead after the first quarter.Green extended the lead with another jump shot early in the second period, but points were thin on the ground after that. And for the most part, they were the work of Steve Walford who, from near the right hand sideline, began with a three-pointer and followed with three more from the keyside.But, by then, seven minutes had passed with nothing else happening. The passing was often tidy but Worle generally lacked penetration and, when they did get in, they lost the ball or turned it over.The defence, however, had done the business and prevented Empees taking advantage of a lackadaisical Worle offence. At last in the final minute, Marc Hartley scored from a rebound, but Empees replied to restrict Worle to a six point lead, 30-24, at half-time.That six point lead steadily began to reduce in the third quarter. Gilbert made a jumpshot, but Worle had nothing else to show for the first couple of minutes. So the lead came down to two before it was restored by a brief burst. Hartley scored from inside the key and Hayward drove through.Then Mike O'Sullivan made the most of a rebound. But Worle could not pull away as Empees kept in touch. When Hrypinyak drove through to score inside, the lead was back to six again at 42-36.Worle looked as though they might have cracked it in the fourth quarter. The lead was stretched after Gilbert hit another jumpshot and Luke Davis made two from the line. Then more points came from Gilbert, Walford and Hrypinyak and Worle were ten up at 51-41.By now, there were only three minutes to go but at this point, Worle stopped scoring for a while. Empees pulled six back as Worle began to look desperate.But although the shots were not made, the ball dropped more kindly and Worle were able to regain several possessions. Green made sure the clock was used and Gilbert's closing score gave a relieved Worle a 53-47 victory.Walford top-scored with 11 points. Gilbert and Hayward both made 10 and Green and Hrypinyak scored seven each.

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