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Leicester Warriors


Teesside Lions Men

Saturday 17th February


3:00pm tip-off

By Jordan Clarke

Teesside Lions overcame a late and significant deficit to claw victory away from Leicester in yet another display of character and resilience.

The hosts got off to a hot start, taking a 13-4 lead within the first four minutes of the encounter, but Teesside fought back to keep the game manageable in the early stages.

Both sides went back and forth, trading baskets. Ritvars Lacitis and Delaney Powell combining for 11 of the 20pts the hosts scored. Teesside trailed by 1pt at the end of the first quarter with Faaris Mughal and Manny Kabengele repairing early damage and Jamie Glenn warming into the game mid-way through with 6pts including an And 1 dunk.

Leicester started dominating the glass in the second quarter, with solid rebounding on both ends of the court. Powell in particular was a consistent nuisance for Leicester and led the way as they out-rebounded Teesside 16-6. Coach Bojev particularly unhappy with the five offensive rebounds his side gave up.

Luke Mitchell Teesside v Leicester

Teesside were in and around the game, even when Leicester pulled away a Jamie Glen block or Luke Mitchell assist would un-pick the lock and provide a route back.

Emmanuel Kabengele built on his six-point first quarter with a productive haul of 12pts out of the Lions 17. second quarter. The forward scored 12 out of the Lions 17. Teesside struggled from the perimeter in the first five minutes but then Kabengele and debutant Noah Saa hit a pair of 3’s to yet again close the gap.

At the end of the half Lions were not at their best but were still only 3pts down, 39-36.

There was a sense that Teesside were not at their best. Team defence and rebounding were two priorities for improvement, but also decision making and turnovers on offence.

The start of the third was much improved offensively as the Lions produced good ball movement and finishes from Mughal & Glen. Unfortunately Teesside then hit a baron spell of no open play baskets which lasted more than eight minutes.

At the other end Leicester were beginning to dominate as Lacitis hit 8pts to extend their lead to 15pts with just 15 seconds remaining in the period. Teesside though broke the spell and yet again showed determination and ability to recover as Luke Mitchell hit a 3 followed by another 3 at the buzzer from Mughal.

Teesside were down by 9pts, 62-53 but an important late recovery could allow them to build momentum in the final quarter.

Starting well was critical and Teesside managed this via Billy Cousins who attacked baseline for a strong finish, followed by a 3 from Mitchell and Aaron Maxwell, but this would be short-lived and the next Leicester run looked too deep to recover.

In the second minute Jaguar Jackson and Malachi Nelson stepped up for the hosts with Nelson hitting 8pts consecutively.

The Warriors scoring run would stretch their lead to 12pts with only three minutes left in the game, creating a mountain to climb for Teesside with time running out

Teesside had to find a near miracle and through an inspirational set of sequences, they did just that.

Four Lions players produced heroic plays as Aaron Maxwell dunked on the break with just over a minute left to reduce the deficit to just 5pts, Noah Saa hit a huge 3 with 50 seconds remaining to reduce the deficit to just 2pts.

Excitement was building as Teesside dominated proceedings. Leicester were starting to lose their composure but were still in the lead and always a threat.

Mitchell missed a 3 for Lions which put the ball in the hands of Leicester and with 7 seconds remaining had the chance to put the game out of reach with American Jackson rising to the basket for a lay-up. This was duly and emphatically rejected by Glen for his fourth block of the game; with Mitchell collecting and attacking for the lay-up to tie the game 81-81 and force overtime.

Jamie Glen v Teesside v Leicester

With Leicester now bruised and crushed by the recent events, the momentum and control was firmly in favour of Teesside and they used the time well to close out the game. Mitchell and Kabengele delivered a 9-0 run for Lions. Nelson and Pearson hit late shots for Leicester but the game was sealed in favour of Teesside as Saa converted two free throws to send Teesside into fourth place in NBL2.

Top Scorers

Leicester: Nelson 23, Lacitis 16, Powell 13, Pearson 10, Williams-Clifford 10

Teesside: Kabengele 28, Mitchell 21, Mughal 13, Maxwell 10

Game MVP: Emmanuelle Kabengele

Luke Mitchell so often the provider, turned scorer and at critical stages to ensure the Lions victory. Mitchell also chipped in with 6 rebounds, 5 assists & 25 efficiency rating for an inspirational performance, topped only just by a 28pt, 10 rebound, 3 assists & 31 efficiency from Manny Kabengele to claim the MVP award.

Teesside are now on a five-game winning streak with two games in hand and play league leaders Bristol Hurricanes this Saturday 3.30pm at Eston Arena for what will be one of the games of the season.

Tickets are available at with the club encouraging everyone to bring their Teesside Lions scarves (available pre game at just £5) to create a Sea of Scarves.

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