Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Proud Mohawks Just Edged Out

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Proud Mohawks Just Edged Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Basketball, Andrew Swanson

An enthralling encounter against Plymouth Raiders ended with Teesside Mohawks' first National Cup Final defeat for four years in Sheffield on Saturday.

A capacity crowd at the Institute of Sport were treated to a game fitting of the occasion as Plymouth just edged out Teesside 87-82.

Mohawks head coach Tony Hanson said: "I was proud of our performance. It was a fantastic game played end to end and at the highest level of basketball possible in this country.

"In games like that every possession counts and Plymouth responded to the challenge. I wish more people in the country got to see that. It should have been televised."

The game was fast and furious from the outset with both teams playing a high and pressing zone to start with.

Plymouth took first blood and developed a slender lead that they would maintain right to the death, despite ferocious efforts by the Mohawks to get back on top.

Raiders had been beaten by Teesside at this stage before and seemed determined from the outset not to suffer the same fate again.

Point Guard Gavin Love orchestrated the offence skilfully and Plymouth's American stars, Terrence Durham and Antoine Beesley caused constant problems under the basket.

For Teesside, a patchy first half display saw them run their entire bench with notable performances from James Nicholson and EJ Harrison helping them to stay in touch.

Plymouth's speed on the fast break caused the Mohawks no end of problems and their slick passing and outside shooting were of the highest level.

At the break Mohawks trailed 43-40 and were hopeful of developing a lead in the second half but a disastrous opening five minutes to the third quarter saw them down by as many as 13 at one point.

Love continued to penetrate and dictate for Plymouth as a battle down low began to emerge between Teesside's Carl Miller and Durham from the Raiders. Every time Teesside closed the deficit the Raiders hit back in an end to end battle of the highest order. …

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