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Mohawks aiming to press home claims; Basketball.

Byline: MARTIN NEAL

TEES Valley Mohawks are two wins away from guaranteeing home court advantage in the VCARS.co.uk League Division One play-offs.

And if results go their way this weekend, they can secure runners-up spot in the final table.

Mohawks end their regular season with a double dose of home action at Teesside University's Olympia Building this weekend.

Tomorrow they take on National Trophy final conquerors Essex Leopards (5pm) before facing Westminster Warriors on Sunday (4pm).

"We know this weekend is going to be very tough," said coach Steve Butler, "but we have been playing well recently and we are in good form,.

"After a narrow loss to Essex in the Trophy final I know the guys will want to make amends and get a well earned victory.

"We''ve got to deal with Greg Hernadez and Simon Cummings better than we did in the final and play unselfish, offensive basketball which we have been doing of late."

Sunday's opponents are a lowly 12th in the table and have only won twice away all season but Butler warned: "Westminster are an athletic team with some very good guard players,.

"We need to be competitive on the boards at both ends of the court and try not to let Yannick Bulambwe and Lekan Popoola get into a good offensive rhythm.

"But if we can play as good as I know we can, I''m confident we can get that valuable win to give us home court advantage for the play-offs."

Mohawks II take on Barking Abbey Leopards in the Division Four play-off semi-finals at Olympia tomorrow (2.30pm).

The two teams won their respective divisions and reached the last four with ease.

Coach Tony Hanson said: "We know Barking Abbey held a 15-3 record and going into the play-offs but you're not sure about what standard their league was or how good the players are, so its exciting to see new opponents at the Olympia.

"I hope we can play well like we have done all season and reach our first final.

"Getting promoted was a huge achievement for the club but to get to a play off final as well would be the icing on the cake."

It's been a great year for the club as a whole and, fresh from winning the National League North-east Conference, the Under-18s are also in action on Sunday.

The young guns, coached by Stuart Meek, took the title with a North Eastern Conference with a 17-3 record.

Now they entertain Manchester Magic in the play-offs at the Olympia Building on Sunday.

"I am proud of the team for what they have achieved this season," said Meek.

"It has been a pleasure to help them develop as individuals and watch them grow into a close knit team."

CAPTION(S):

WE MEET AGAIN: DJ Glavan (right) of Tees Valley Mohawks in the National Trophy final with Carl Josey of Essex Leopards, who visit the Olympia Building this weekend

Picture by KAREN BROWN
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 4, 2013
Words:497
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