Another excellent turnout in the basketball world were treated to a red carpet entrance at the plush Thistle Hotel in Middlesbrough for the third annual Game Time awards presentation.
The evening was compeered by James Thomson, head of Game Time and Middlesbrough Lions and in attendance were a number of special guests from various backgrounds to present awards, including American professional; Ralph Bucci whose team in Greece have just won the League, Middlesbrough Lions Nigerian star; Acho Anyigbo, Brenda Thompson; councillor for sport in Middlesbrough, Hip Hop performer Principul, Chairman of TBL; Wade Tovey, FMTTM Editor; Rob Nichols and from Tees Valley Leisure; Deputy Managing Director; Ian Donley & Angie McGee.
The evening celebrated the achievements of basketball enthusiasts of all ages from around the area. Within the awards categories were Game Time, Tees Schools League, Tees College League, Tees Junior CVL, Teesside Basketball League and Middlesbrough Lions. All in all over 390 medals and trophies were presented.
In the Schools League the big winners were Manor College Heat but unfortunately they were unable to attend and their players missed out on the opportunity to receive their awards on such a big stage. Nunthorpe Lions U14 & U16 teams did well by winning the County Cup Finals while a number of individual players are beginning to emerge as very talented contenders for the Most Valuable Players awards. On this occasion, Lewis Fisher was named MVP for U16 but faced competition from Dale Harrop of Norton Knights who helped his team to second place.
Tom Atkinson of Macmillan Academy Magic picked up the Coach of Season award for U14 after guiding his team to third place in possibly the strongest division of the schools league. Magic have been transformed this season after just one win last year to genuine title contenders, having held first place for 3/4 of the season and making the semi final of the County Cup.
Game Time this year established a junior Central Venue League, attracting 19 teams and over 150 players playing at Middlesbrough College every month. The event was hailed a huge success and provided much needed competitive games for youngsters in the area. The big winners were Thirsk Thunder who won the U12 league and had two star players pick up awards with Chris Pallister collecting top scorer and Derek Van Der Westerhausen being voted Most Valuable Player. Thirsk Coach; Craig Wakefield was also recognised as he was voted the Coach of the Season for his U12 team, just ahead of Jaycie Hall for Richmond Vikings in U18.
Vikings U18 championship was partly due to the amazing scoring run from Mark Williams who finished with 119pts, the next closest player being Dan Brown on 59pts.
In the Teesside Basketball League, Richmond Vikings were recognised for their amazing turn in fortunes by collecting Coach of the Season for Jaycie Hall and Player of the Season in Lee Norton. Norton has been instrumental in Vikings success this season after joining in the Summer and helped the Yorkshire outfit to second place, a huge improvement on the previous season when they lost every game. Norton faced a stiff challenge from Sonics’ Michael Thompson who has been in splendid form throughout the year and Norton just edged the vote with a better points per game total. SCM Sonics picked up the Division One Team of the Season while Middlesbrough Lions collected the honour for Division Two.
In the TBL Cup, Middlesbrough Lions salvaged some pride by winning the Division One central venue league competition. Lions have been plagued by injuries all season and will be looking to add some depth for next year. Richmond Vikings earned the Division Two title after some excellent play by John Ford, who won’t finish top scorer in every game, but has proven what a crucial player he is.
For Middlesbrough Lions, both local and national league players were recognised after a great first season in National League saw huge improvements in the U16 outfit while the senior men made the Final 16 of the National Founders Cup and have now been officially accepted into National League Division 4. Damian Warriner was awarded the National League Player of the Season for senior men while Dan Brown and Patrick O’Connor received the MVP award for U16’s. James Burton picked up a special performance award for hitting an incredible twelve 3 pointers in one game and juniors Chris Bell, James Tappenden, Oliver Clark and many more were among the winners.
The Game Time organisation has a great volunteer base with 52 members providing help in some capacity. Some go above and beyond what is expected and receiving a superb Kenneth Cole watch for their assistance throughout the season were Wayne Beadle, photographer; Steph Edwards; table & stats, Sarah Thomson; table & stats, Claire Smith; table & stats, Sid Nicholls; coaching, Adrian Bewick; technical support, Principul; Match day entertainment and Jaycie Hall; Match day commentary.
A special thank you to Aarlene and the staff at the fantastic venue of Thistle Hotel in Middlesbrough. Also thanks to the event sponsors in Ravenwood Roofing, DCS Paving and Teesside Basketball League.