This season’s finals event was so big it had to be scheduled over a whole weekend and with 14 semi finals and finals to be played, organisers; Game Time had their work cut out to ensure a smooth operation. Thankfully, the event was a huge success not only providing players from across the area an opportunity to experience a day in the life of a professional basketball player in front of an excellent and voice-full crowd but also in terms of the standard of basketball on display.
There were heartache and tears from the losing sides and huge disappointment from those who had lost out at the semi final stage but in the end all will remember a great experience for the rest of their lives and for those lucky enough to still be at school or college next year they will have an additional incentive to work that little bit harder to ensure their team makes the Finals 2010.
This year head of Game Time and Middlesbrough Lions; James Thomson, who also organises the schools and college league was on hand to coordinate the event and present the trophies along with Mayor Brian Briggs who was very impressed with Game Time and the amount of young basketball enthusiasts taking part both in terms of playing and support in the crowd. “This has been a fantastic event and I am hoping that I can hep this organisation develop even further during my tenure as Mayor.”
Game Time would like to thank Tees Valley Leisure and all the staff at Eston Sports Academy as well as Ravenwood Roofing, event photographer; Wayne Beadle, all the referees and table staff and everyone else that produced so much to ensure a successful event.
The huge Game Time awards ceremony is next on the agenda and will take place at the plush Thistle Hotel in Middlesbrough on Saturday 30th May. The ceremony will begin at 7pm and guests are asked to arrive between 6 and 6.30pm. The stars of the basketball world will also be given the red carpet treatment as organisers; Game Time aim to provide a night to remember and top last years amazing ceremony which over 200 people attended. Tickets are priced at £4 and available by contacting Game Time on 01642 814221. There will be awards for Teesside Basketball League, Tees Schools & College League, Tees Junior CVL, Game Time and Middlesbrough Lions.
Game of the Day
U16 Final Manor Heat 32-34 Nunthorpe Lions
Nunthorpe have been self admittedly disappointing this season with a league finish of 11th having played only three games and 28pts behind their final opponents in Manor Heat who won the league. Lions began well with Marshall Patterson finding the target in the first play of the game. This was followed by TJ Gundi who wormed his way to the basket for the 4-0 lead. Dylan Fisher was fouled shortly after and went to the line for 2pts but Nunthorpe were quick to respond as Jamie Harris powered to the basket using his big frame to good effect. Lewis Fisher would not be kept quiet for long and in the fourth minute he made a shot from the top of the key but Lions were looking good and produced a 6-0 run in the eighth minute inspired by some good rebounding from Jack Leader, who was also keeping the tall Chris Cousins at bay.
With four minutes remaining in the first half Lions had double the score of Manor 11-22 and the Hartlepool side were struggling to find an answer. Further baskets from Michael Blakey and Marshall Patterson provided
more heart ache for the Hartlpool fans who had come in their numbers to cheer on their school. A late burst of 5pts from Lewis Fisher brought some hope as the half time buzzer sounded but the Heat were facing an up hill task to reverse the scoreline of 16-26.
In the second half both teams displayed true grit as their tenacious defence restricted points for two minutes. The spell was broken when Fisher drove past Matthew Haynes and continued to the basket for a lay up. On the next play, Fisher was fouled by Gundi and went to the line for another 2pts to bring the Hartlepool outfit to within 7pts. The noise levels from both sets of fans were now incredible as team chants and cheers of encouragement spurred on the young heroes. Leader made another shot in the twelfth minute and with just three minutes remaining Heat needed some inspiration. With two minutes left Lewis Fisher hit two big shots to close the gap to 3pts, 25-28 only for Nunthorpe to push ahead with another 6-0 run instigated by Blakey. Nunthorpe made a number of errors in the final minute, chasing the basket rather than holding the ball and protecting their comfortable lead. This led to Manor collecting missed shots and running down the other end where Dylan Fisher converted a shot and brother; Lewis dropped two big shots to provide a frantic, nail biting climax with the score still in favour of Nunthorpe but only just at 32-34. When Lions put the ball into court, the normally placid Marshall Patterson demanded the ball and held firm to control his side as the final seconds ticked away to leave Nunthorpe victorious.
The MVP was awarded to Marshall Patterson who showed great leadership and composure as well as superb rebounding to add to his 12pts. TJ Gundi made some nice shots, but at times was off balance while Jack Leader and Jamie Harris did a good job of rebounding and closing out Heats big man; Chris Cousins. A special mention must be made for the heroic efforts of Manor’s Lewis Fisher who hit a game high 21pts.
Manor: L Fisher 21, D Fisher 6, Cousins, Hodgson 2
Nunthorpe: Patterson 12, Gundi 10, Blakey, Leader 4, Briggs, Harris 2
In the U12 Final Manor Heat A met their B team and ran out comfortable winners 36-10. Points were well spread throughout the A team with Jonny Davies a nose in front on 6pts. Manor A started in explosive fashion hitting the first 12pts without reply instigated by Kirsty Setchell. The diminutive Jade Walton at only 11 years old was a constant thorn in the A teams side but even her wizardry was struggling to convert to points. Callum Montgomery and Adam Cassell did their best for the B team but it was not to be.
The sheer number of Manor players was very impressive and the efforts of Paul Atkinson and Pam Fisher in developing the youngsters should be commended. With some promising players coming through the ranks, the future bodes very well for basketball in Hartlepool.
The U14 Girls Final was an overwhelming victory for the Manor College Heat whose full squad of 13 players triumphed over the 5 players of Nunthorpe. Manor sprung into an early lead through Lauren Paylor and Kerbianne McKenna whose powerful play brushed aside her defender for what seemed a simple basket, made to look so by the intelligent move. Kate Robson then replied for Lions with an excellent move from one end of the court to the other, weaving between players and finishing with a nice close range shot. Unfortunately this spurred Manor into 16-0 run to finish the half 20-02 in front. Poppy Fisher looked impressive with 6pts.
With only five players, Nunthorpe were always going to struggle against the up tempo run and gun style of Manor but ironically the second half was a better one for what should have been the tired legs of Lions. Sam Holmes Mary Barnard and the excellent Kate Robson combined for 8pts and were only beaten in this half by 4pts. Sadly for Nunthorpe though the damage was done in the first half and with so many talented and physically strong players, Manor ran out comfortable winners by 22pts.
The MVP was awarded to Poppy Fisher who top scored on 8pts.
In the game most neutrals had been hoping for, the U14 Final was a repeat of the 2008 Year 8 Final between Nunthorpe Lions and Manor Heat, arguably two of the most talented teams in any year group. Last year Nunthorpe reigned supreme in the league, unbeaten throughout the season and then faltered in the final when Manor won with a superb display. This year Manor have dominated the league with an incredible 11 games unbeaten.
Lions were first to draw blood as Philip Findlay led Nunthorpe into a 6-0 lead. The tall and powerful Chris Cousins hit the first basket for Heat when he turned in the post for a power lay up. On the next play Cousins tried his luck again with a similar move but was fouled by James Parkin and went to the line for two points. Lions though reorganised and Findlay was again the man to stop as he floated through the key for a sweet teardrop and this was followed by a remarkable ‘And 1’ play by Dan Brown to extend their lead to 5pts, 11-04 at the mid way point of the first half.
In the eighth minute Manor began to settle themselves and produced a 6-0 run to bring themselves within 3pts, Dylan Fisher coming to life at just the right time. Their slim hope of taking the lead though was quickly dashed as Nunthorpe produced a stinging 10-0 run. James Parkin was playing the game of his life on defence and collecting rebounds for fun while Phil Findlay and Dan Brown continued to weave their magic on offence. A nice shot from James McCulloch rounded off a good Lions performance and at the end of the half it was 21-10 in favour of the Nunthorpe outfit.
The second half was a more even affair with both sides trading baskets. The team talk by Manor coach; Paul Atkinson seemed to have taken effect but they still had to claw back an 11pt deficit. Findlay was proving a true star and along with Brown combined for 10 early points. Manor also had two stars in Chris Cousins and Dylan Fisher who had already combined for 18 of the 20pts scored but the difference in the game was James Parkin who did all the necessary gritty work at both ends of the court and when Manor played tight defence on Findlay and Brown up stepped Parkin with 8 straight points.
With just four minutes remaining Nunthorpe were maintaining a comfortable lead, 29-26 and frustration was beginning to creep into the Heat as Poppy and Dylan Fisher exchanged words, their passion to win boiling over. With a minute to go, James Williamson converted a well run lay up to take Lions to 54 and Dylan Fisher made the final shot of the game to take Heat to 38, a well earned 16pt victory for the Nunthorpe team.
The MVP was awarded to Philip Findlay of Nunthorpe, who fought off tough competition from team mates James Parkin and Dan Brown. Findlay set his stall out early on, hitting the 10 of the 21pts in the first half and with tough defence and a number of steals ensued a difficult task for the Manor side. Findlay finished the game with 19pts. Parkin was a great presence on defence and in rebounding, adding 12pts and Brown was the games top scorer with 21pts. For Manor, Dylan Fisher hit 18pts and Chris Cousins provided 12.
With all the schools finals wrapped up, it was down to the College Final between Prior Pumas who had done so well to overcome Hartlepool 6th Form and Darlington Tech to face the unbeaten Queen Elizabeth. Prior came to Eston with a full bench of 12 players but it would be QE to begin well as Dan Halford and Richard Summerbell combined for a 6-2 run, Matthew Norman providing the response for Prior. In the third minute Pumas looked good as Chris Emmerson drove to the basket and Jack Sanders gave the Guisborough side the lead with a 3 pointer. This lead only seemed to wake QE up as Halford rained down a shower of 8pts followed up by Sam Morgan with another 5pts including a 3 pointer to take a 07-19 lead. Matthew Brown who struggled in the first four minutes found his first points of the game from the free throw line and pursued the game with determination from there on. Norman struggled to find the target on a couple of occasions at the line and at the end of the half the Pumas were trailing by 10pts, 21-31.
In the second half Summerbell relit the fire with a big 3 pointer and although Norman and Alex Wood provided a strong display on defence, they were often overwhelmed with what seemed a constant barrage from QE. Chris Ramsey made Pumas first basket of the second half in the third minute but when Ian Donoghue set off an 8-0 run QE were sitting on a healthy 23pt lead, 23-46. With just three minutes remaining, Matthew Brown received the ball from Sam Pitt after the energetic guard stole the ball. Brown stepped up to the 3 pointer and hit the target only for Sam Morgan to retaliate with a 3 of his own.
Matthew Norman continued to struggle at the line, but was a crucial aspect of the Prior defence as he blocked shots and pulled down rebounds. The game though was showing no signs of change as Queen Elizabeth continued to score and despite a good finish from Emmerson and Brown, QE strode to the finish line as winners by 21pts.
The MVP award went to Dan Halford who top scored with 20pts for Queen Elizabeth. Matthew Brown hit 17pts for Prior and did well to contain Richard Summerbell to just 7pts.