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TEESSIDE SPLIT ARROWS TO PROGRESS IN CUP
Teesside Lions MenV
Sunday 8th October|
National Cup Round 2
Teesside Lions 67-60 Derbyshire Arrows
Teesside are through to the third round of the National Cup after dismissing Derbyshire in a patchy game to set up an away trip to University of East Anglia in two weeks time.
There were oohs and ahhs from the crowd at Eston Arena as the first three minutes and eleven seconds had steals, blocked shots, turnovers and everything other than a basket.
Theo Turner would end the drought with a nice finish in transition from a Tom Horvat pass, bringing to a conclusion four missed shots. Derbyshire were in dire straights and would miss 13 shots as Lions built a 13-0 lead. With three minutes remaining in the first quarter Joseph Baugh hit his second free throw attempt to break the spell for Arrows.
While Lions were still in command of the game, the remaining three minutes were sloppy with a mixture of unforced errors and rushed shots allowing the visitors a route back into the game. At the end of the quarter Titas Berzinis spared the blushes for Arrows with a 3-pointer and jump shot to close the gap to 11pts, 20-9.
The second quarter saw a resurgent Derbyshire close the gap further and at the midpoint of the period Cherno Camara converted a fast break lay-up to bring the game to within 3 points.
Lions regrouped and Turner and Luke Mitchell, in particular got hold of the game by the scruff of the neck to put things back on track. Mitchell & Horvat were reading the game well and picking up numerous steals. Defensively Teesside were showing both effort and ability, but they were still rushing shots on too many occasions which saw the game yo-yo back and forth. Teesside were a point better for this quarter, 25-35 but the Arrows were growing in confidence.
In the third quarter, Teesside looked to be back to their best and some excellent defence and passing from Mitchell carved out scoring opportunities with Horvat, Arran Baxter and Tyrese Nfon the beneficiaries.
Teesside again showed their ability with a series of four 3-pointers with Horvat, Nfon, Mitchell and Baxter all hitting the target to stretch the lead to 22pts, a cushion that would be maintained until the last five minutes of the game.
There were some highlights in the fourth period with Josh Thomson hitting a corner 3-pointer, Billy Cousins producing an acrobatic drive and scoop finish, and Mitchell continuing to torment the opposition with his fantastic passing ability.
Baugh and Berzinis combined in the remaining five minutes to bring the game within 5pts and bringing the fans to the edge of their seats as the game drew to a close. A missed 3-pointer from Horvat with 24 seconds remaining was rescued by Horvat himself who passed to Mitchell who drove to the basket for a tough and well controlled finish off the glass to secure a 7pt victory and a pass to the next round.
Teesside: Horvat 17, Turner 12, Mitchell 10
Derbyshire: Bernini's 21, Watts 11
Game MVP: Tom Horvat
Luke Mitchell and Tom Horvat were in rich form as the pair continue to develop chemistry. Both players were almost identically matched with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals each. Both players also hit crucial shots at critical moments and provided an entertaining show for the fans. In the end Horvat just pipped Mitchell for the MVP with 17pts for a team high.
Teesside now prepare for the visit of Bristol United this Sunday. Tickets are available at TeessideLions.com as Lions Coaches Serge Bojev and James Thomson were less than impressed with the overall performance against Derbyshire.
Thomson said “We gave up a 13-0 lead when in a powerful position to finish the team off. We also twice gave up a 20pt lead. We must learn to give up a good shot for a better shot and recognise the difference between transition opportunities and what should be a controlled half court offence.
“On a positive note we were challenged multiple times during the game and showed great character and resilience to counter this and see the game out. We also showed patches of our true potential, which is nice as we are still developing the chemistry and understanding of the plays."