Lions Maul Titans
By Tom Jameson
Tuesday 17 Jan 2012 09:27:00
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Another dominant first period from tadea Middlesbrough Lions led to a tenth win of the season after a super 52-108 win over Oldham Titans.

Oldham Titans 52-108 tadea Middlesbrough Lions

Lions opened their account with Lee Norton firing in a 3-pointer. Zach Allen was quick to respond with a well crafted lay up but from then on the hosts would struggle as Middlesbrough began to stamp a solid authority on the game. Norton was involved again seconds later when he was fouled on another 3-point attempt with the talented guard converting all three free throws.

By the fourth minute Konanec had taken Lions to 2-9 in front and along with Papis Samb had already registered a big block each. Samb’s block the provided a nice pass from the Italian who found the running Tom Robinson who duly converted.

By now the Titans were becoming frustrated and the only player to stand out was the athletic Robert Mubiru. Mubiru managed two baskets in the first quarter and such was the effect of Lions defence that he was the most productive Titan. In fact only one other player would hit an open play basket and that was Allen in the first minute. The Titans did mange to score 2pts via free throws to take their score to 8pts.

Lions meanwhile had the luxury of introducing new signing Luke Somerville and the big shooter marked his debut with a sweet 3-pointer from the top of the perimeter in the eighth minute. Whilst restricting Oldham to just 8pts; the Lions went on to hit 33pts themselves.

Whatever coach Hamilton said to his players during the break had the desired effect as the Titans hit a game high 19pts in this period. Lions though were still in control with a 26pt haul. Lee Norton and Dan Armory hit early 3’s and in what was a repeat of Norton’s first quarter heroics, a foul on Armory would see him also convert three free throws.

Papis Samb and Craig Mathema were showing some great play at both ends. In the seventh minute Mathema grabbed a big offensive rebound and finished the put back. Cameron Sweeney was doing his best for Titans, the recent addition to the squad hit 5pts in the ninth minute including a big 3. Robinson and Samb would round of the half for Lions with a basket apiece and the half time score would indicate a comfortable lead for Middlesbrough 27-59.

The third quarter witnessed a 3-point fight back from Titans as Luke Marston hit three in the quarter. While the perimeter defence was a concern for Lions coach James Thomson, yet again the presence of Konanec, Somerville & Mathema restricted the Titans to just one further open play basket. Anything that came inside was either sent back or missed.

The first 8pts for Lions were provided by Robinson finishing his run with a great ‘And 1’ play. In the seventh minute Lee Norton who had worked very hard first hit a 3-pointer and then followed up with a steal and one on one lay up.

Somerville was very effective in the game and showed a good work ethic and intelligence. Another nice shot from the powerful forward would take Lions to 41-85 as the third period finished. Middlesbrough would go back to their best in the final quarter as a strong defensive effort would restrict the Titans to just 10pts.

Samb and Norton were great to watch on offence as Samb penetrated the defence and if not scoring himself was finding the cutters, while Norton was providing a good contrast from the perimeter with another pair of 3’s. As the final buzzer sounded it was elation for Lions and their travelling support and relief for Oldham that the punishment was finally over. A massive 56pt win will go well towards the goal difference. Lions are 69pts behind Rossendale who hold joint second place with Lions.

There were some great performances from Lions as American; Mike Konanec collected 16pts, 15 rebounds & 5 blocks. Papis Samb hit 20pts, 9 assists, 4 rebounds & 4 steals. Tom Robinson was the games top scorer with 25pts and chipped in with 7 rebounds, 7 assists & 5 steals but even above these good performances Lee Norton was awarded the MVP rewarding a strong personal display, hitting 22pts, 3 steals & 2 assists.

A lot of his hard work, while not marked on a stat category, was at least highlighted by Coach Thomson following the game. “The addition of Luke was a big thing for us. We have further options and this has led to everyone raising their game. Players need to work harder to ensure they earn their minutes and that can only help the team.” said the Lions chief.

On the debut of Somerville, Coach Thomson was also pleased adding “The implementation of Luke into the team couldn’t have gone smoother. We have so many scoring options that the risk would have been to disrupt this with an additional high scorer and it takes a special character to do what is best for the team. Luke only took five shots and hit three of them so I cant as for much more than that. It all bodes well for the future.”

The hard work starts this Sunday however as fourth placed Hull Wasps travel to Eston hoping to upset the Lions applecart. Middlesbrough meanwhile will be aiming to make it five straight wins. Tickets for this not to be missed game are just £4 adults and £3 children with the game taking place at Eston Sports Academy at 4pm. Spectators are asked to be seated for 3.30pm.

For more details and game previews visit www.middlesbroughlions.com

(Photo - Steve Brown)



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