National League Basketball sponsored by TADEA; Sustainable Energy Solutions & Heaven Scent; Yankee Candles Middlesbrough
TADEA Middlesbrough Lions 88-57 Newcastle Eagles II
TADEA Middlesbrough Lions produced their biggest win of the season in a show time display at Eston Sports Academy. The good turn out from home fans were treated to some great passes, sweet shots and a few acrobatic dunks to top of a great afternoon in the Tyne Tees derby.
The game started brightly for Lions as four players marked the score sheet, Tom Robinson and Robert Wright playing particularly well. In the sixth minute some good ball movement from Thomson and Wells led to a treat of a dunk as Robinson slammed home with two hands to take the score to 13-4. Chris Rennison-Rae was ploughing a lone burrow for the Eagles as the visitors continued to struggle. Rennison-Rae made a strong bucket in the seventh minute but there were too many misses from the Eagles and Lions’ Wright and Wells were dominating the rebounds.
With three minutes remaining Rob Parsons, nursing a broken nose and young Craig Todd entered the game, both players producing the goods to maintain Lions surge.
The finish to the first period could have been better for Lions had they not missed 4 free throws and a 3-pointer from Vince Bodeaca just before the buzzer instilled some relief for Newcastle, though they were still down 20-9.
In the second quarter Lions American star DaWaun Wells opened with a big 3-pointer and Robinson followed with two strong drives. Newcastle on the counter were now beginning to settle as Dunlop drove to the basket and managed to float in a shot over the stretch of Wright. Sanderson and Rennison-Rae also chipped in with shots to settle the nerves of the visitors. At the mid way point the score was still in favour of the hosts 29-16.
Middlesbrough were producing some great basketball with the Thomson’s; James and Ben feeding the ball to Ford and Robinson who combined for 18pts in this quarter. At the half time buzzer Lions were cruising 47-24 and the home crowd were loving the moment.
The diminutive Bodeaca would prove more than a handful in this game, his instructions being to unsettle the Lions and in the first minute he would fire in a 3-pointer. Middlesbrough responded in the best way with Robinson and Thompson producing a 9-2 run. A 3-pointer from Wells and a great Robinson pass to Humes for the nice finish extended the run to 14 and the lead to 31pts, 60-29. The last three minutes though were not good as the Eagles capitalised on some sloppy Lions play to finish with a 12-6 run of their own. Eagles star Crackett was top drawer in this period adding 8pts adding to Eagles best period, finishing 19-17.
The final quarter saw both sides fight, one for pride and the other to impress the home crowd and this resulted in an entertaining final ten minutes as the athletic Wells exploded to connect with a pass from Robinson and an aggressive dunk from the American. Ben Thompson and Rob Wright were playing extremely well during this period although for Lions some attempted highlight plays in the final stretch would backfire as Eagles countered for 9pts. Lions were not happy at the attempts to stop Wells from dunking by grabbing him and pulling him down but overall were very happy to round off an exciting display and a big 31pt win, 88-57.
Lions had a number of good players including Ben Thompson and James Thomson who controlled the game well and delivered some excellent passing. Rob Wright also produced the goods with 14pts and 16 rebounds and while DaWaun Wells was quiet on the scoring front his 12 rebounds and 2 blocked shots deserved a pat on the back. The MVP though was awarded to Tom Robinson who hit 30pts, 8 rebounds & 7 assists.
TADEA Lions: Robinson 30, Wright 14, Wells 13, Ford 10
Eagles: Crackett 14, Bodeaca 13
Lions now look ahead to another busy weekend at high flying Burnley on Saturday and then home for the final league game of the season against Bury Blue Devils. The club are encouraging everyone to attend the final game and round of what has been overall a season of ups and downs with the club hoping to finish on an up!
Tickets are only £4 adults and £3 children. Tip off is at 4pm although spectators are asked to be seated by 3.30pm in time for the player intros. The game takes place at the superb 1,200 capacity Eston Sports Academy. For more details call 01642 814221.