Spare a thought for the valiant players of the Teesside Men’s Basketball team and their faithful supporters. On Wednesday evening they made the 130 mile round-trip from the North East to the Edge, only to be comprehensively dismissed by their Yorkshire counterparts. From the first few minutes of the Northern 2B league fixture the Gryphons were piling on the pressure, and they carried this momentum throughout the match, cementing Leeds’ place as serious contenders to take the title in a few months’ time.
From the opening minutes of the match, the men in green seized nearly every opportunity presented to them, quickly opening up a 14-6 lead. They looked to be keeping it simple early doors, sitting back and waiting for the relentless mistakes from Teesside, then pouncing for a series of quick scores, focussing on targeting the area close to the basket at first. It was obvious from this early stage that Leeds were making the most of their free throws as well, something that would come to characterise the remainder of the contest. This accuracy led to an 18-6 advantage for the home side by the time the horn sounded for the end of the first quarter.
Things took a turn for the acrobatic in the second quarter, with some impressive dives to create opportunities and ultimately net the ball. The first three-pointers of the game helped Leeds to extend their lead by then points to 28-6. The Teesside coach’s words during the ensuing time-out can’t have had too much of an effect on his players, as the Gryphons went on to a 42-11 advantage and the visitors continued to waste free throws and began to look tired, even before the halfway point of the game.
The play became more equal in the third quarter as the game became more physical, and Teesside managed to close the gap by taking advantage of an opposition who may have been at risk of complacency in places. As the referee became more and more involved long periods of the game passed without scoring. What had been a good quality game of basketball played in the right spirit began to look a little shoddier, but at least Leeds managed to keep their lead, going into the final break up by 57 points to 31.
There was a sense of the inevitable throughout the final ten minutes of play with a 26 point deficit for Teesside to overcome, and in all honesty it never looked likely. Leeds started to pile it on as the visitors made mistake after mistake. By the final few moments of the game one of their players was on the floor, laughing, apparently out of incredulity at the score, which ended 81-43. Three more well-earned points for Leeds continues their march up the table, ensuring that they will finish week at least joint-top of what looks, at least near the summit, like a fiercely competitive league.
Featured Image: The Gryphon