TEESSIDE V LIVERPOOL | RD 1 PREVIEW
The first round of the playoffs will feature eight games with Teesside Lions hosting Liverpool, who finished as the third placed team in the North West League. Liverpool will be bringing 70+ fans to support their team at Eston Arena. Teesside will have more than 900 on early estimates and all will be assured of a great event and lively atmosphere.
Liverpool lost five games during the regular season as they finished behind first placed Myerscough Academy II and second placed Manchester Swarm. They lost both games two the two top teams and had it not been for a 70-63 loss away to fourth placed Tameside, they would have finished second place and their playoff route would have been altogether different.
The club was founded in 1967 and has a rich history of basketball on Merseyside and the city has produced some stellar names including Delme Herriman. Liverpool are currently coached by Jay Bradshaw who is proud of his team’s achievements this season. They have finished third in the league and reached the playoffs for the second season running. This season they were also the highest scoring team in their league.
Much of those points have come from shooting guard Arnas Kildisas and forward Phil Deveney.
Kildisas has enjoyed a good basketball education growing up with Bradford followed by two years at elite academy Myerscough. He has averaged 18 points per game at Liverpool this season including 28pts against Manchester Giants II and 27pts away to Preston.
Deveney is a 6’5 forward and has played College basketball in the USA. He is a mobile forward with good scoring and rebounding ability. He also has a strong defensive presence and averaged 27 points, 8 reb & 4 steals per game for Archbishop College in the ABL three years ago. He was also named MVP and defensive player of the year for ABL North. Deveney has twice hit 30+ points this season.
Welsh International Dan Walsh is a strong point guard who looks to create first, but also possesses the ability to create for himself. Joe Parkinson is another player who can hit the numbers. He is an accurate 3-point shooter and was one of the league’s top scorers in the previous season.
Daniel Allison is a strong high energy defender who will look to keep Lions at bay.
Teesside enter the game as early favourites and on paper have the edge. The Lions have no major injury concerns. Eddie Matthew has been in fine form, especially in the second half of the season and recent addition Aaren Smith has been a sublime addition. Luke Mitchell has dominated assists in the entire UK basketball structure this season and is averaging 10+ per game. Matt Hughes is another top scorer and together bring an arsenal of firepower.
Teesside have power and size with Oliver Hylands, along with Siman Stewart and 7 foot Theo Turner who have both returned to full training this week.
The squad is one of the most talented in the league but as always the team will have to deliver on its reputation and Liverpool and their travelling fans will be looking to upset the Teesside applecart.
Tickets for Lions playoff home games are available via TeessideLions.com
Fans are encouraged to book their tickets early with around 800 already gone. Fans are also advised to arrive early. Tip is 2.30pm but doors are open from 1.30pm.