Sheffield v Teesside | Preview
Teesside travel to Sheffield this Saturday for what is likely to be their penultimate league fixture. Sunderland away on Saturday 25th March will be the final fixture the week after with the club encouraging fans to attend City Space Arena in Sunderland.
Teesside were due to play a second game away to Sunderland but the hosts are struggling to stage this event prior to the fixtures deadline meaning Teesside should be awarded the win.
Lions are currently unbeaten and are eager to maintain this record heading into the playoffs which will commence on Sunday 2nd April at Eston Arena.
The first hurdle however is Sheffield Elite under the leadership of British basketball legend Pete Scantlebury. Teesside have played and beaten Sheffield three times already this season but the win is not a forgone conclusion and Sheffield College is an intimidating venue for opposing teams with a small court and passionate support.
Sheffield are a young, talented and hungry group of players. They are an elite academy programme which will propel players onto scholarship opportunities in the USA and Europe.
One impressive performer this season has been 6’9 centre Ignas Kliucevicius who top scored with 18pts in January. The mobile big has a good mid-range shot which draws out defenders and also possesses ability to get to the basket. Most impressive is his ability to finish second chance opportunities, meaning its vital to box him out and limit his involvement in the game.
Jacob Paredes and Jack Holder are two other strong performers. Both are athletic guards with the ability to finish well in transition and half court. Both can shoot and can be a threat at any point during the game.
Star guard Declan Kom and veteran shooter Aidan Appleyard will also require attention if Teesside are to return with their 100% record in tact.
For Teesside, the team have looked at their best in the last couple of games with some sensing the team are still to peak. The addition of Aaren Smith has given a welcome boost ahead of the playoffs and he has integrated into the team seamlessly. Smith was the previous MVP against Mohawks in a game Teesside dominated from start to finish.
Smith was in contention with Luke Mitchell, Eddie Matthew & Matt Hughes for MVP and all four players hit double figure scoring with Mitchell one rebound shy of a triple double.
Teesside are blessed with high calibre players and have a selfless approach to the game where the team comes before the player. This mentality has made them very strong to compete with.
Tip in Sheffield is 3pm.