HEAD coach Paul James says he is “very proud” of what his Worcester Wolves side achieved in a turbulent British Basketball League campaign.

Wolves ended the regular season on a run of 11 wins in 12 games and came agonisingly close to making the final of the play-offs, losing 199-197 on aggregate to Newcastle Eagles.

But James admitted it had not come without “pain” and times when he was left “speechless” as Wolves struggled to ignite their season.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished this year,” said James, whose side finished in fifth position and reached the semi-finals of the BBL Trophy.

“But it has certainly been a season of two halves.

“We had players coming in from different teams who were the stars on those teams and we had to put them all together.

“They had to sacrifice a bit of their game for the betterment of the team and that didn’t happen until after Christmas.”

Wolves were knocked out of the opening round of the BBL Cup and won just five of their opening 16 league games.

However, James insisted doubts never crept into the camp despite slipping outside the top eight in mid-January.

“At that stage, I was left speechless because of the talent we had on the team and I knew something had to change sooner rather than later,” he said.

“We asked a few of the players to adapt their game slightly, simplified things a bit and all of that just helped us come together a bit more.

“Once we had a couple of wins in a row it became enjoyable.

“It was painful leading up to that point, but doubts never crept in, certainly not from myself and the coaching staff.

“There may have been doubts from other areas, but we believed in ourselves as a team and it was only going to be a matter of time we came together really well.”

After back-to-back away wins at Newcastle and London Lions in January, James says Wolves produced an “unbelievable turnaround”.

In their final 17 games, Worcester won 15 of them, with their only defeats coming against Sheffield Sharks.

They then overcame Sheffield in the first round of the play-offs before being edged out in a thrilling semi-final.

Newcastle looked on course for a comfortable passage to the O2 Arena after winning the first leg 105-86.

But Wolves clawed their way back at the University of Worcester Arena, forced their way into overtime before Eagles claimed a dramatic victory.

“When we played Newcastle in the first leg, they shot the lights out and we probably committed one or two fouls we should not have done down the stretch,” James said.

“But we had a plan when we brought them home.

“We didn’t believe they could shoot as well as they did again.

“I thought the guys fought very hard to give themselves an opportunity to win the game only for Newcastle to really show their experience in the last one or two minutes of regulation time.

“It was a bittersweet way to end the season.”