Exeter Otters v Bears
First Division South
Essex Outlaws: 36
Bears 1: 54
The Bears undertook this week’s fixtures with a heavy heart and a sense of loss following the news of the untimely death of one of their oldest and most cherished players, Paul Jackson, from a sudden illness. Before the game started, both teams came together for one minute of applause to celebrate the life and career of a much-loved individual in the sport of wheelchair basketball.
The Bears achieved a narrow home victory against Otters, by only three points, the last time both teams played each other. With this in mind, Bears 1 began the game with a defensive determination that would prove to be enormously successful from the outset. Bears control of the game started to pay off immediately as they limited the Otters to only three baskets. Whilst not taking full advantage of their offensive opportunities, the Bears were none the less able to take a lead at the end of the first quarter Otters 6 – 13 Bears.
The Bears once more came out determined to drive home their advantage in the second quarter, and their strong defence limited Otters to little scoring opportunities. As Ben Haigh and Jacob Robinson, at last, found their offensive flow, Bears 1 pulled even further in front to go into the halftime break Otters 10 – 35 Bears.
A comfortable lead going into the third quarter gave coach Masterson the opportunity to make full use of the Bears bench. This gave the Otters much-needed impetus to make a charge to try and claw back some of the lead that the Bears has built up in previous quarters. However, Bears 1 continued to hold onto the lead, to go into the last quarter: Otters 29 – 47 Bears.
The last quarter was an even affair with both teams scoring basket for basket to play out until the final buzzer with the scores: Otters 36 – 54 Bears.
After the game coach Masterson said “Today’s game was a tough one in that we have only just learnt of the loss of PJ. All of the players were very sombre starting today’s game. I think their fantastic performance was in honor of him, and shows what a truly loved member of the team he was.”