MORPETH’S senior basketball team, the Mavericks, proved just champion as they wrapped up the Tynemet Division Two title in style.
Two wins in the space of 36 hours over the weekend – both by margins of over 30 points – ensured that the Mavericks would take the league crown as they extended their winning run to 12 games.
And with Morpeth’s other team, the Magic, having clinched the Division Three Knockout Cup earlier in the season, it means the club’s milestone 15th season in existence has been an unforgettable one.
The Mavericks clinched the league title on Friday night with a comprehensive 87-54 win away to Oxclose Cougars.
The Mavs went into the game knowing that they had to win one of their three remaining fixtures to pip All Saints Sabres to the league crown.
And it was fitting that they should wrap up the title on the court where Morpeth won their first ever league game 14 years ago (they hadn’t won a single game in their first season in the league).
So Friday’s win was especially significant for coach Paul New and captain Andy Sanderson, the only survivors of that first-ever win.
Although Oxclose briefly threatened to make a game of it early on, a 12-2 run towards the end of the first quarter saw Morpeth take control of this game, with their hustling defence providing the platform for some fast and fluent offensive play.
Spurred on by inspirational captain Sanderson, who never let his team-mates take their foot off the gas, the gap had stretched to 17 by half-time. That margin settled any nerves the Mavs may have had, given what was at stake, and the second half followed a similar pattern as Morpeth pulled away from the home side.
While it would be wrong to single out players after what was a complete team performance at both ends of the court, mention must be made of Andy Gibbison (voted MVP by the opposition) and Matt Davison who combined to score 53 of the Mavs’ 87 points and drained five three-pointers between them.
Two days later, the Mavericks juggernaut thundered on as they flattened Benfield Lions 91-59 – a result which means Morpeth have completed their home programme unbeaten on their own court.
The Lions were more like rabbits caught in the headlights in the first quarter as Morpeth quite incredibly scored 28 points in the first nine minutes while restricting their visitors to just one basket.
Leading by 31 at the break, a flurry of four three-pointers in the third saw the Mavs’ lead by as many as 44 before they eventually took their foot off the gas.
The Lions actually won the fourth quarter 20-12, but by that time it was all over bar the shouting as the Mavericks were content to savour another landmark achievement in an unforgettable season.
Once again the big men owned the paint at both ends of the court and their hustle provided the platform for Morpeth’s sharpshooters to pick off the opposition.
Yet again the irrepressible Andy Gibbison led all scorers in the game.
Scorers v Oxclose Cougars: Gibbison, 33, Davison 20, Bayazit, 11, Mavin and Sanderson, eight, Thistlethwaite, six, Clewes, two.
Scorers v Benfield Lions: Gibbison, 31, Sanderson, 18, Davison, 15, Bayazit, 11, Mavin, nine, Thompson, three, Smiles and Clewes, two.