HUDDERSFIELD HEAT finally got their first win of the new season in Division III of the English Basketball League when they defeated fellow-promoted side Warrington Wolves 80-76 at Rishworth School.
The Heat went into the game on the back of two league defeats and were without forward Chris Bigley, who was serving a one-match suspension.
It was the Wolves who took the early initiative, building up a 12-5 lead after just four minutes, but successive scores from John Huggett and the first of many from Joe Irving helped Heat end the first quarter 26-25 in front.
The second half was equally tight, with neither team able to pull away, despite Irving and guard Aaron Allison starting to score with some fluidity as Huddersfield reached the turn three points ahead 44-41.
There was a bigger fluctuation in scores in the third quarter, with Huddersfield hitting a 10-0 streak, only to be hauled back by Warrington, who took the honours 15-2 to open up a 66-61 lead with just one quarter remaining.
But in the final stanza, Heat’s top-scoring trio of Irving, Allison and Swaine combined for 15 points down the stretch (including two huge free throws from Irving) to edge out the Wolves in an entertaining encounter in front of a pleased home crowd.
Delighted player-coach Eduardo Perez said after the game: “I felt we responded well to the recent setbacks, and we put together the kind of performance I know we are capable of.
“Now it’s time to find some consistency and start to put some results together and start working our way up the league.”
Next up for Heat is a double header weekend, when they travel to Manchester Magic in the League on Saturday (Amaechi Centre, 6pm) before hosting Leeds Carnegie II in the second round of the National Shield on Sunday afternoon (Rishworth, 5.30pm).
Huddersfield Heat 80: Huggett (8), Gray (2), Irving (27), Allison (21), Woodward (6), Andrew (2), Kraus (0), Swaine (14), Kozlowski (0), Perez (0), Walker (0), Treen (0).
Warrington Wolves 76: Arden (8), Griffiths (8), Slater (7), Steer (2), Baba (17), Bell (13), Paul (2), Leonard (0), Herriman (11), Green (0), Kelly (8).