Jack Preston’s rallying call for his team-mates to regain their focus appeared to do the trick as Team Northumbria’s basketball men secured much-needed victories in their NBL Division One games against Manchester Magic and Bradford Dragons.
Marc Steutel’s men managed to shake off the bizarre incident that occurred two weeks ago – in which four TN and two Manchester players were sent off after being caught in a first quarter melee -and it was an altogether more friendly affair this time around.
“They [Manchester Magic] are a team I respect and they are coached really well. I know there was a big incident two weeks ago but I’m just happy that we played basketball,” said Steutel
It was a three-pronged attack for TN with Blayne Freckleton, Lewis Champion and Malcolm Smith contributing 59 points between them whilst Siman Stewart and Jack Preston netted the most rebounds.
“I’m proud,” added Steutel. “I’m happy with the focus from some of my guys and it was really a team performance. It was the first time this year that we’ve had contributions from multiple players.
“It’s just a process of getting better day by day and that is important. Home or away, we believe we can beat anybody.
“The league is really good and competitive but we do believe, home or away, we can beat anybody We do have some improving to do but I liked a lot of aspects from a busy weekend.”
TN continued their winning ways at Bradford, putting the Dragons’ flame out, with a fiery performance and a final score of 87-59.
“I was really pleased with the level of focus we displayed for the full 40 minutes,” added Steutel. “We played against a dangerous offensive team and felt we did a positive job of limiting their strengths.
“We need to continue to build on this defensive performance over the coming weeks. Offensively, was pleased to see the whole team contribute.
“We are working on some areas in preparation for a tough game in Derby next Sunday.”
Power forward Malcolm Smith managed the double-double as top scorer (24) and with most rebounds (10) in the game.
TN, sitting at fifth in the league table, are now only four points behind leaders Loughborough Riders.
Report by Natalie Martin