Wolves Season Ends With Playoff Loss To Capitals in OT


Hope Mills, NC – The Wolves suffered a disappointing and season-ending loss to the NC Capitals in the second round of the 2023 ECBL Playoffs, coming in as the #1 seed and the regular season champions of the Northern Conference.

The Wolves, who have relied this season on strong outside shooting and creating turnovers and fast break opportunities with defensive perimeter play, were inconsistent in the first quarter from deep and struggled to gain traction as the Capitals moved the ball inside and were able to get quality looks from both the interior and midrange. At the end of the first quarter, the Wolves trailed 26-24.

The second quarter saw more of the same, as the Wolves kept the game close but still couldn’t find their outside shooting touch as consistently as they normally had throughout the season. Big shots from Mike Hughes and Calique Jones helped cut the lead to a manageable distance, but the Wolves still trailed at the half, 54-48.

The third quarter saw a resurgence of the perimeter defense and high octane offense that has been the Wolves calling card this year – the Wolves finally managed to take the lead after multiple defensive stops and then capitalizing with points. However, sloppy turnovers by the team allowed the Capitals to recover, and the game was tied at the end of the 3rd quarter 78-78.

The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth battle for the lead, but in the final minute, the Wolves season seemed to near the end as the Capitals built a 3 score lead. The Wolves created defensive turnovers and scores in under a minute to cut the lead to one, then fouled to put the Capitals on the free throw line, where they sank both shots. With 3.4 seconds on the clock, Wolves guard Mike Hughes drove to the top of the key, faked, then drained a three to send the game into overtime, and extended the Wolves season into another period.

The overtime period, wasn’t kind to the Wolves as their shooting – both from deep and from the free throw line – went cold. The team went several minutes without scoring and the Capitals were able to consistently get enough buckets to extend a lead the Wolves couldn’t overcome, and as the buzzer sounded, the Capitals took the win 120-111 and moved on the Northern Conference championship game.

The Wolves finished 9-4 on the season, winning the Northern Conference regular season and having made their third playoff appearance in four seasons.

Next up for the Wolves are summer tournaments and workouts, and the roster generally shifts based on the events, player availability and coaching decisions.

Wolves Defeat Petersburg, Win Regular Season Title

The Winston-Salem Wolves defeated the Petersburg Cavaliers in a showdown for both the Northern Conference regular season title and a #1 conference playoff seeding into the 2023 ECBL playoffs.

Heading into the game, the Petersburg Cavaliers were riding a five-game win streak and held an advantage with a 9-2 record versus the Wolves 8-3 record. Both teams had already clinched a bye in the first round of the playoffs, but if the Wolves could win the head-to-head matchup, both teams would finish with identical records and the Wolves would hold the tiebreaker, thus clinching the regular season title.

Winston-Salem jumped to an early 12 point lead behind the hot shooting of Mike Chambers, Mike Hughes, Niquan Cousins and Calique Jones; however, defensive pressure and turnovers allowed Petersburg to mount a comeback and tie the game at the end of the first quarter 26-26.

Petersburg was able to continue their momentum into the second quarter – as both teams battled for the lead, Petersburg held the advantage at the half 54-49.

The third quarter saw the teams trade the lead multiple times, with Winston moving back in front just before the end of the third, 83-81, on a Mike Chambers driving layup in traffic.

The fourth quarter was a high-octane push between both teams to gain the advantage, but near the four minute mark, Winston-Salem forced multiple turnovers and capitalized with either three pointers or driving layups on the break. As the two-minute mark approached, Winston held a sizable advantage, but two quick threes in the final minute – as well as some sloppy plays by the Wolves which led to turnovers – cut the lead and gave Petersburg a chance to close the gap.

The Wolves we able to secure two critical defensive rebounds in the last 30 seconds to then hold the ball and secure the win.

This win gives the Wolves their second Northern Conference regular season title – the previous coming in their 2019 inaugural season – and gives the Wolves the #1 seed for the Northern Conference playoffs, which start June 10 in Fayetteville, NC. The Wolves have also now made the playoffs in three of their four active seasons.

Wolves Clinch Division With Win, Set Up Showdown For Title

The Winston-Salem Wolves clinched the ECBL Northeast Division with a win over rival Rowan County, 117-112, and simultaneously setting up a showdown with the Petersburg Cavaliers for the Northern Conference regular season title on June 4.

The Wolves entered the game with three significant players missing from the day’s roster: Jahlil Rawley, Mike Hughes and Chuck Gamble. The three guards, in combination with Mike Chambers, have been one of the most potent backcourts in the ECBL this season, so the Wolves would need to make adjustments to play with a different lineup than the one that has garnered so much success this season.

The modified roster struggled early, as hot shooting from Rowan County quickly built a sizable 15 point lead in the first quarter and the Wolves failed to score to keep pace. Head coach Antonio Robinson was forced to call an early timeout in an attempt to reorganize the defense and adjust, and the Wolves responded with a late run to close the gap, trailing by 6 at the end of the first quarter.

The Wolves were able to find their footing in the second quarter and surged back to take a brief lead, however Rowan County’s scoring touch kept the game tight and the score was tied at the half, then again at the end of the 3rd quarter.

The final quarter was a back-and-forth battle as the team traded the lead multiple times, but in the final two minutes the Wolves were able to get key defensive stops and score on back to back trips, with a deep shot from Joshea Singleton that gave the Wolves the lead for good. The Wolves closed out the game with a win, and that win sets up a final home game with not only playoff implications but the regular season title on the line for the Northern Conference.

The Petersburg Cavaliers played in the second day of of a back-to-back against the Hickory Hoyas, in a game rescheduled from earlier in the season, and the Cavs got the road win, which means they currently hold the best record in the North at 9-2. The Wolves are one game back at 8-3, but if the Wolves defeat the Cavs at home on June 4, they would hold the head-to-head advantage and both teams would finish with equal records. This means that the winner of that final game will be the regular season Northern Conference champion, with the winner also being the number one conference seed in the playoffs.

The Wolves have now made the playoffs in 3 of 4 seasons (the 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and is looking to be one of the top contenders for the ECBL title this season: Petersburg, Winston-Salem, Carolina Thunder (SC), PrimeTime Players and the Bishopville Devils are all having outstanding seasons. In the ECBL Mid-Atlantic, the Western Mass Zombies and the Hartford Shockers are battling for the regular season title.

Wolves Drop Home Game to Hickory

Winston-Salem Wolves vs Hickory Hoyas on May 7, 2023

The Winston-Salem Wolves dropped a home game against the visiting Hickory Hoyas, who came into the game in a must-win situation in their hunt for the playoffs.

The Wolves, who clinched a playoff spot with their win last week over the Carolina Chosen Lions, were looking to maintain their tie for first place in the Northern Conference, as the top two seeds have a first-round bye in the postseason.

Coming into the game, the Wolves were missing starting guard Mike Hughes and forward Trey Carrier, but were still looking to hold home court serve in the playoffs. The Hoyas held a 1 point lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Wolves were able to get back to back defensive stops in the second which led to fast break points, and led at the half 53-44.

The Wolves continued to hold their lead throughout the third quarter, with scoring coming from guards Jahlil Rawley, Chuck Gamble and forward Niquan Cousins.

However, in the fourth, it appeared the Wolves hit the wall and sloppy turnovers allowed Hickory to take advantage and come from behind to get the win, 106-98.

The Wolves next face another division rival, the Rowan County Bulls, at home on May 21. With only two games left in the regular season, the Wolves are looking to close out strong prior to the postseason.

Wolves Win Fourth Straight, Clinch Playoff Spot

The Winston-Salem Wolves become one of two teams from the ECBL Northern Conference to clinch 2023 playoff spots after a 142-110 home win over the Carolina Chosen Lions.

The Wolves established an early lead in the first quarter and were able to maintain a 10 point advantage for most of the first half, leading 59-51 at the break.

The Chosen Lions came out quickly in the second half, getting a couple of quick buckets before the Wolves were able to re-establish their margin.

Wolves guard Mike Chambers suffered a cut over his left eye midway through the third quarter, and was forced to leave the game. This caused a few moments of adjustment for the Wolves, but they quickly settled in and the team seemed sparked by the injury to their teammate, pulling ahead 103-77 heading into the fourth.

The final score of 142-110 belies how effectively the Chosen Lions were able to keep the game close in the first half. The win puts the Wolves into the postseason for the third time in four seasons of the franchise existence, along with the defending ECBL champion Petersburg Cavaliers.

The Blackout Game – April 30, 2023

GAMEDAY is Sunday, April 30! 4 PM at The Bond Center in Winston-Salem – the Wolves return home after a four game road stretch to face the Carolina Chosen Lions in The Blackout Game. Wear black to the game to show your support of the team returning home!

Wolves To Be Featured In New Sports Reality Show for Major Networks

The Winston-Salem Wolves have reached an agreement to be featured in the inaugural season of The Grind: Life In The Other Leagues, being filmed targeting services such as Tubi TV, and while it’s still early in the process, the show may even appear on services such as Amazon Prime, Freevee, Plex, Apple TV, Peacock and several more.

Shooting for The Grind starts this week. Fans in attendance at the home game on April 30 will get a chance to be in the show.

Filming will take place over the remaining four home games, practices, team and management meetings and may include the offseason.
The show will also feature the city of Winston-Salem, city leaders, famous sports figures from the area and community basketball events.
Stay tuned for more news about The Grind and how fans can be even more involved!

Wolves Defeat Hampton Roads, Win Third Straight

The Wolves continued their winning streak on the road on Saturday, April 22nd, with a win over the Hampton Roads Warriors 129-127. The Wolves held leads at the end of the first and second quarters, taking a seven-point lead into halftime. However, the third quarter saw a rejuvenated Warriors squad erase the deficit to take a one point lead heading into the fourth.

The Wolves were able to battle back in the fourth, closing out the game and sealing the win.

This win improves the Wolves record to 6-2 on the season, and the Wolves now are tied with Petersburg in the Northern Conference playoff hunt. Petersburg defeated the Virginia Dream to improves to 6-2 as well, so as the Wolves return home to face the Carolina Chosen Lions on April 30, the team will have to be careful not to be looking to far ahead in the schedule.

Winston-Salem and Petersburg are scheduled to face each other in the last game of the season; the Wolves, having just finished a four game road stretch, will close out the regular season with four straight home games.