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LIONS DELIVER ANOTHER DEFEAT OVER MOHAWKS
Teesside Lions MenV
Tees Valley Mohawks
Sunday 5th March|
Teesside Lions saved their best performance until the last of the three meetings against local rivals TV Mohawks. The Lions were still without Billy Cousins, crowd favourite Manny Kabengele and a late omission was captain Theo Turner who was ill.
The depth and talent of Lions however was a level above. From the start the home side took the lead in front of 870 fans, and never looked back.
Oliver Hylands converted a nice jump shot in the paint which was met by a Ryan Harris back door cut for the nice finish. This though would be the closest Mohawks would come as Eddie Matthew and Aaren Smith gently increased the lead. Cameron Johnson was proving effective for the visitors and pulled down a big offensive rebound and put-back in the eighth minute to give a boost to the visitors.
Smith would finish with 10pts in the first quarter with 100% floor shooting helping Teesside to a 12pt lead at the end of the first period, 29-17.
Siman Stewart was a stand-out performer in the second quarter helping the cause at both ends of the court to develop a 9-0 run after Jack Marsden inspired a 7-2 run for Mohawks.
With five minutes remaining in the first half Luke Mitchell, more than often the provider; delivered a clinical 3-pointer which seemed to knock the confidence of Mohawks even further. A breakaway dunk from Aaren Smith extended the lead to 24pts and exclamated dominance to the thrill of the Lions fans.
Mohawks would hope they could repeat their third quarter start of the previous meeting and despite a lay up from Johnson and shortly after a 3-pointer from Juvante Hayes, the comeback was not on the cards. Prior to this, the high scoring Amercian Hayes was restricted to just 5pts in the first half.
In contrast, Teesside were heating up as Mitchell, Smith and Thomas Wylie opened a shower of 3’s to take the lead to 38pts.
In the final quarter another dunk, this time from Matt Hughes as he slammed home with authority following a steal. With six minutes remaining Eddie Matthew hit a 3-pointer and Coach Oliver Hylands ran the bench to provide some valuable experience to the younger players such as 16 year old Charlie McKenna, and Riley Anderson.
The period deflated the Lions buzz slightly and allowed Mohawks a 14-0 finish to appear a more respectable 23pt scoreline as the game ended 72-95.
This however was not affecting the home team or crowd in their enjoyment of victory.
Teesside have been blessed with a talent show on numerous occasions this season. Even with key players missing, the depth of the squad has shone through. Multiple players have been in consideration for the game MVP and this game was no exception.
Luke Mitchell yet again was instrumental finishing one rebound shy of a triple-double. His 12 assists provided 24+ points to the team contribution. Eddie Matthew had 21pts with 6 assists and 56% field goal shooting. The award, however, would go to one of Matt Hughes and Aaren Smith. Hughes would just miss out but led efficiency with 32 rating, had a superb 15 rebounds, 6 assists & 2 blocked shots and on any other day each one of these players would have picked up the award.
Game MVP Aaren Smith was phenomenal with an athletic energy that was a constant menace to the Mohawks. Smith finished the game with a game high 22pts, 10 rebounds & 2 blocked shots. He was also 100% shooting from 3-points and free throws.
Lions: Smith 22, Matthew 21, Hughes 20, Mitchell 11, Hylands 8, Stewart 8
Mohawks: Johnson 18, Hayes 13, Harris 10, Marsden 10, Butler J 8
The win is the third victory of three games over the Mohawks this season and will give the Lions even more confidence as they finish the remaining four league games and prepare for the Playoffs.
Next week is the final league home game of the season against bottom side Sheffield Elite II, with Teesside set to lift the League Championship Trophy at the end of the game. The club are hoping that all fans will join them to celebrate with the team.
Tickets available via TeessideLions.com
The impressive number of Lions fans however will be excited to learn that the playoff games should be home draws at Eston Arena with three major games to look forward to; should Teesside progress to the semi final. Then the prospect of another Final in Manchester. The club will be organising busses to travel to the event should they be fortunate enough to make the Final.
2 April | 1st Round @ Eston Arena
9 April | 1/4 Final @ Eston Arena (if Lions progress)
15/16 April | Semi Final TBC (if Lions progress)
Sat 22 April | Final @ Manchester