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GRASSROOTS SPORT: Lions roar out their challenge to leaders; TEESSIDE BASKETBALL.

Byline: By JAMES THOMSON

THE Teesside Basketball League resumed normal service this week after the TBL Tournament, providing a big scare for Division Two Tournament champions Norton Bulls as they visited TU Lions B.

It was a busy week for the Lions outfit as they played three games in one week.

Lions gave Norton a really good run for their money, becoming the closest team to beating them but in the end the unbeaten leaders of D2 remained just that with a final score of 62-70.

Lions actually led the first two quarters by 14-10 and 32-31.

Norton had their best quarter in the third and were leading by seven points in the ninth minute before Tappenden and Peddie pulled back two late baskets to reduce the visitors' lead to three, 45-48.

Norton went ahead in the fourth and Lions were having to play catch up.

In the end Norton won the game but it could have been a different story if Lions didn't force so many turn overs and missed free throws (19!)

On a positive note for Lions, Norman, Sayer and Patterson produced their best performances of the season at the defensive end.

Most Valuable Player was awarded to Sam Butterworth who chipped in with 14 points, but more importantly was a constant threat on defence.

Chris Tappenden was the game's biggest scoring threat as he top scored with 27.

Lions B then travelled to King's Academy to face third place Velocity, who have the best record after Bulls with only one loss.

Both teams were out of the blocks quickly with several quick baskets.

Five minutes into the game Velocity settled into their defence which the young Lions team found difficult to break down. At the half time break Velocity had established a lead of 16 points.

The third quarter saw the Lions fight back, driving to the basket and drawing fouls.

With Velocity on team fouls the Lions had 17 free shots in the third quarter alone allowing them to take the quarter by three points.

Velocity bounced back in the fourth with three quick baskets to make the game safe.

With five minutes to go, the game had slowed down and it was time for the younger Lions to play the game out and providing the play of the game as Dan Brown, 13, the smallest player on the court, drove to the basket with a lightning quick move from the top of the key though the heart of the Velocity defence to score.

Lion's Miles Sayer pipped top scoring Lewis Tovey (26) of Velocity to the MVP with his best performance of the season and 21 points. Tom Early was also in contention for the award, collecting 20 points for Velocity.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Tees United Lions travelled to Ormesby School and in the battle to be king of the jungle it was a dream start for Tigers and a nightmare for Lions.

Tigers opened the scoring with a three pointer and with only three minutes on the clock it was 13-0 for the home team.

Lions called a time out, and after a pep talk came back out with determination, scoring 19 points. compared to Tigers' eight.

Lions went into the lead in the second quarter and at the interval were up by 43-39.

After the break player/coach James Thomson had to attend hospital for a dislocated shoulder injury, and Tigers started to pull back.

The game ended 79-75 to Tigers.

MVP Lee McLaughlin was top scorer for Tigers with 45 and Lions' Alex Moore scored 30.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 19, 2008
Words:596
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