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LIONS TAKE WIND OUT OF EAGLES WINGS
Teesside Lions MenV
Sunday 5th November|
Teesside Lions continued their good form with their fourth consecutive win over Doncaster Eagles in National League Division Two at the weekend.
The result takes the club to fifth place in the league table with two games in hand, due to the team’s progression in the National Cup.
The National Cup is next on the agenda with Teesside travelling to last season’s Division One Champions Hemel Hempstead for Round Four. The Lions will enter the game as the clear under-dogs, but will be eager to test themselves among the best in the country and the recent run of results will provide a timely confidence boost ahead of the weekend trip.
Confidence was a feature against Doncaster with American Tom Horvat giving Lions a 4-0 lead through a nice jump shot and two free throws prior to a break-away dunk from Billy Cousins.
Doncaster were rattled, but found a response through former Lions player-coach Oliver Hylands who used his strength in the key to finish. This however would be the visitors only points for nearly five minutes as Teesside imposed themselves defensively and spread the floor well on offence as Tyrese Nfon and Theo Turner both adding to the hosts points haul which was now at 10-2.
The Eagles had Josh Metcalf to thank as the talented guard hit two 3’s late in the quarter to bring the game to within 1pt 11-10, only for a combination of four Lions players regaining full control with an 8-0 run to end the quarter 19-10.
Doncaster shook themselves down and returned to the game a different side as Wiggins opened the second quarter with a shot that instigated a 15-6 run. Teesside kept their heads above water with a fast break finish and 3-pointer from Arran Baxter but it was a barren spell with questions over shot selection.
Coach Bojev called a Time-Out for Teesside and this had the desired affect as they produced a 10-0 run to finish the half back in control 35-25.
The third quarter was a challenge for Teesside as they struggled to score in the first seven minutes, and watched Doncaster yet again chip away at their lead. Hylands and Metcalf were combining once more to good effect and brough the game to within 1pt just beyond the mid-way point of the period.
The spell was broken by Billy Cousins with a floating jump shot but Metcalf then hit a 3 to tie the game 37-37.
A 3 from Horvat provided some breathing space at the end of the third quarter but Lions would have to be mindful of dry patches, especially through poor shot selection heading into the final quarter.
That they would do, as better ball movement and decision-making enabled a much more controlled performance. Tom Horvat hit two 3’s at the mid-point to take the wind out of the Eagles wings.
Aaron Maxwell ignited a spark with strength on defence and poise on offence as he calmly hit two 3’s to stretch the lead to 15pts. Turner and Horvat would make it a 19pt victory, 76-57.
Overall it was a good psychological challenge for Teesside as they endured multiple hurdles within the game, not only from the opposition, but also from themselves. Even in tougher times, the team stayed together and worked on solutions, showing good emotional resilience.
Teesside enjoyed some very good performances with Billy Cousins starting in explosive fashion, Theo Turner providing a solid double-double with 16pts & 13 rebounds. Arran Baxter hit 13pts in a critical stage of the game, and the assist machine Luke Mitchell dishing out another incredible spoil of 14 assists, along with 8 rebounds.
The cherry on top for this game was Tom Horvat who hit a game high 24pts with 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and an impressive 30 efficiency rating.
MVP: Tom Horvat
Teesside: Horvat 24, Turner 16, Baxter 13, Cousins 9
Doncaster: Metcalf 16, Hylands 12, Walsh 9
Teesside are away to Hemel in the National Cup this Sunday and return to Eston Arena on Sunday 3rdDecember against Worcester Wolves. Tickets available via TeessideLions.com