MORPETH Mavericks began their 2012 programme in the TyneMet Basketball League the same way they finished 2011 – with a landslide victory over Whickham Warriors.
In their home match in December the Mavericks had eclipsed the Warriors 93-43 and, while the margin of victory in the return game wasn’t so great, their 80-51 road win was nevertheless impressive.
The result saw Morpeth move into second place in Division Two, with two games in hand over the leaders All Saints Sabres, and their points difference of +152 is the second highest in all four divisions.
The game in Whickham was one in which Morpeth had to win the bruising, physical battle under the boards to earn the right to play basketball and the big men Kev Smiles, Greg Mavin and Paul Clewes duly obliged.
They provided the platform for the Mavericks to pick off the Warriors through the outside shooting of Matt Davison (who scored three of the team’s five three-pointers), Andy Gibbison and Yildirim Bayazit.
But it was captain Andy Sanderson who deservedly took MVP honours after leading by example again.
Not always a prolific scorer these days in his new role as point guard, Sanderson set the tone right from the start and helped the Mavs into a 9-0 lead in the first quarter and thereafter the result never seemed in any doubt.
The Mavericks won every quarter and impressed with their patient offence, particularly in the second half with a 10-0 run in the third putting them out of reach of the home side.
Just as pleasing as the result for the Mavericks was the fact that Sam Thistlethwaite continued to make progress on his return from injury, weighing in with eight points.
Other scorers: Gibbison 19, Sanderson 17, Davison 15, Bayazit 10, Thompson 7, Mavin 2, Smiles and Clewes 1.