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LIONS MAUL MOHAWKS IN EPIC LOCAL DERBY VICTORY
Teesside Lions MenV
Tees Valley Mohawks
Sunday 12th February|
Teesside Lions did not disappoint with a thrilling win over TV Mohawks in front of 1004 fans packing Eston Arena to break their own league record for the third time this season.
The local derby between the two Tees based rivals was the must see game of the season and the pressure was on for Teesside to deliver in front of 960 of their own fans with Mohawks bringing just over 40 to the big event.
The result takes the Lions 2pts clear of the Mohawks in Division Three with one game in hand and still unbeaten as they pursue back to back League & Playoff Championships.
The game began in favour of the home side as 7 foot captain Theo Turner won the tip and Emmanuel Kabengele procceded to find Siman Stewart for a nice 2pt finish close to the basket.
Mohawks were quick to respond with a 3-pointer from Juvante Hayes. A period of strong defence and untidy play from both sides would prevent further scores for a four minute period, but Theo Turner would break the spell for Lions with a monster dunk on Mohawks captain Acho Anyigbo that has since gone viral on social media.
It was evident how much the game meant to both teams and this was reflected with the low scoring start. Kabengele would collect a steal in the sixth minute and convert a nice jump shot to give Teesside a 6-3 lead and seemingly control.
That control would diminish as the quarter ran down, and scoring levels picked up from both sides. Dan Kelsey and Anyigbo worked well in the paint for Mohawks and picked away at the Teesside lead until Jai Naylor picked up an offensive rebound in the dying seconds to finish the put back and give the visitors a 12-13 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, another Mohawks turnover gave Matt Hughes the chance to regain the lead for Lions and he duly converted. This instigated an 8-0 run with good play from Hughes and the bionic vision of Luke Mitchell.
Mohawks again showed their grit as Jack Jopson hit a 3-pointer followed by Cameron Johnson converting a floating shot off the dribble to keep them in the game.
A sloppy turnover from Teesside then gave Mohawks an opportunity to take the lead again as Kelsey picked up the loose ball and finished the fast break. Teesside again turned over the ball gifting Jopson another 2pts and forcing Coach Oliver Hylands to call a time-out.
The game continued to be choppy with neither side able to get into full stride. The lead changed several times as it approached half time. A 3-pointer from Eddie Matthew was reward for his effort at both ends of the court and the home fans who cheered their team into half time as narrow leaders, 27-25.
It was Game On and the second half promised to be just as exciting. Back and forth the game went with Hughes and Matthew scoring for Teesside and Hayes picking the lock for Mohawks.
Another sticky spell for the Lions in the last three minutes of the third kept the home fans biting their nails and Mohawks went on a 7-3 run to gain momentum. Another 3 from Matthew kept Lions afloat but it was a good period for the visitors as they won the quarter 15-22. The score 42-47 in favour of Mohawks.
The Lions now were fully engaged. They bared their claws and showed their teeth as they delivered a 23-10 scoring period that was in no small part down to the defensive presence of Aaren Smith. Another key moment was a 3-pointer from Luke Mitchell which took the wind from the visitors sails.
Eddie Matthew continued to impress on offence with another two 3’s at crucial stages whilst he also converted an And 1 play late in the game to push the game beyond Mohawks reach.
Another key feature in the Lions victory was the incredible atmosphere for the Teesside fans who lifted the team throughout the game.
Hayes was the standout for Mohawks and finished with 21pts but the game MVP was a three way call between Eddie Matthew, Luke Mitchell and Aaren Smith.
Smith effectively won the game with his last quarter performance and showed the fans what they can look forward to. Mitchell was yet again court general personified and delivered 7pts, an incredible 10 assists and 6 rebounds for an all-round performance.
The MVP award however went to Eddie Matthew who continued his rich vein of form with 26pts, 5 rebounds & 4 assists. He hit five 3’s in the game with three at critical stages.
Teesside Lions 65-57 TV Mohawks
Lions: Matthew 26, Hughes 19, Mitchell 7
Mohawks: Hayes 21, Anyigbo 8, Jopson 8
Teesside now travel on the road for a couple of games but will return to Eston Arena on 5th March for another encounter with the Mohawks. Tickets for this epic and final meeting between the sides are available at TeessideLions.com
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