Crown within Mavs’ grasp

Morpeth Mavericks 72 Oxclose Cougars 61 TyneMet League Division Two

MORPETH’S senior basketball team are proving record-breakers as they close in on the Division Two title.

When the Mavericks defeated Oxclose Cougars at the Riverside Leisure Centre on Sunday not only was it their third win in eight days, but it extended their winning run to nine games – the longest unbeaten run in the team’s 15-year history.

And Sunday’s result took them to the top of the table for the first time this season, with just four games left to play and the championship well and truly in their sights.

The win over Oxclose saw the Mavericks blow hot and cold, for, while they played some brilliant, patient team basketball at times, particularly in the first half, they took their feet off the gas in the second half.

The fact that the Mavs lost focus after the break is reflected by the fact that, although they dominated the first half and led by as many as 24 soon after the break, they actually ‘lost’ the third and fourth quarters.

But, in truth, the Mavericks were, barring a catastrophic collapse, always going to be too strong for this game to throw up any kind of upset, particularly after their run of form which has seen them unbeaten in the league since they went down away to Birtley outfit Phoenix in their first game of the season.

And Sunday’s game was effectively won with a blistering second-quarter performance when the home side clicked to go on a 12-0 run to put daylight between themselves and the visitors, winning the quarter 24-11.

Yet again, Andy Gibbison was the Mavericks’ top scorer with 21, while the big man Kevin Smiles was handed the MVP award by the opposition for the second game in a row.

Scorers: Gibbison, 21; Smiles, 12; Bayazit, 12; Sanderson, 11; Davison, seven; Thistlethwaite, five; Mavin, two and Clewes, two.