Warwickshire Bears’ first team opened their 2017-18 First Division South season with what could be their game of the season, beating the team that pipped them for second spot in the previous campaign, London Titans 2, 56-54.
Rob Whale made his debut after signing for the Bears over the summer and from the tip-off both teams went basket for basket in a tense hard-fought battle, with Titans edging the first quarter 16-15.
Titans pulled out an eight- point lead half-way through the second quarter courtesy of fine shooting from Andy Dear but the Bears called a time out and regrouped, closing the deficit back to a point at the close of the quarter.
The second half mirrored the first with the teams going basket for basket, with Titans eking out a two-point lead going into a nail-biting final quarter.
Titans kept their lead until, with 58 seconds left on the clock, Dan Gill coolly converted two free shots to pull his side level.
Titans had one last chance to win the game but narrowly missed and with the clock ticking down Jacob Robinson hit the last shot to win the game for the Bears.
After the game, Bears coach Tom Masterson was gushing with praise for his side.
“What a game to start the season off,” said Masterson.
“We knew it would be close. So proud of all the team but have to give a special mention to my guards Lee Powell, Derek Hall and especially Rob Whale who were awesome.
“To beat a team as good as Titans is a massive achievement for the club but it’s still only the first game and we have a long, hard season ahead of us.”
Earlier in the day, Bears 2 lost 54-25 to Titans’ third team.
Bears 3 were also in action, going down 56-35 to Wolverhampton WSC in the Third Division Central.