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.