Teesside Lions u12s earned a silver medal as runners up in the plate competition of the Champion of Champions Tournament at Leeds Beckett University over the weekend.
The two day event was attended by some of the best teams in the country including Manchester Magic, Oaklands Wolves, Brentwood Fire, Leeds and Manchester Giants.
Lions were pooled on day one in the toughest group and whilst they found it difficult to compete throughout the day, they by no means disgraced themselves and enjoyed a number of highlights.
Under passarelle rules, teams must share minutes among the players equally in the first half and this worked against Teesside as they had only two year 7s, five year 6’s, three year 5’s and a year 4. On the positive side of this, it provided valuable experience for the clubs younger players and all of them developed in confidence throughout the event.
The second day would see Lions placed into the Plate competition and reach the final against Leeds, but unfortunately falter at the final hurdle. Leeds were worthy victors and the young Lions enjoyed their silver medal achievement.
There were numerous highlight moments for the Lions including 8 year old Theo Williams scoring his first basket and Jack Westgarth-Graham impressing on his debut. The core of established players were excellent with Witness Ikah making strong plays at both ends of the court despite tiring. Ben Grimes was at times inspirational with great dribbling, passing and a host of audacious moves to the basket.
And finally Harrison McDonnell played his heart out to earn the Tournament Plate Most Improved Player award, which was richly deserved.
The celebrations however did come at a cost, with both Harvey Turner and Thomas Bilton picking up knee injuries on the first day, Bilton unable to participate on the second day. Grimes also picked up a knee injury early on but managed to play on.
With everyone enjoying the experience the club are already planning for the next u12 Tournament and planning to enter two teams.
If you would like to play basketball with the Lions visit www.TeessideLions.com or call 01642 262818 for more details.