Team Northumbria men’s basketball ensured that they ended 2017 on a high after a hard fought victory against Kent Crusaders.
It was an end to end spectacle with nothing between the two sides heading into the fourth quarter.
However, experienced heads prevailed with TN securing a 75-68 win.
And the victory meant that TN head of men’s basketball, Marc Steutel, could leave Sport Central with a smile on his face heading into 2018.
“It is pleasing to close out 2017 with a win,” said Steutel.
“We played really well in the first half in most aspects and it felt like a complete performance.
“We were sharing the ball, playing at our tempo and guarding really well.
“We reinforced our focus for the second half but Kent played really well and disrupted our rhythm a little.
“Credit to them for competing how they did which set up an exciting fourth quarter.
“Ultimately I was really pleased with our approach down the stretch and we made some key plays to take the win.
“Malcolm Smith proved again why he is the reigning MVP as he carried us offensively.
“I was particularly pleased with Blayne Fredkleton and Lewis Champion getting 15 rebounds between them.
“So that’s it for 2017 and we are looking forward to a well-earned break over Christmas before competing in the second half of the season.”
Steutel’s words were echoed by a pensive Jack Preston, who was proud of the maturity TN showed in the fourth quarter whilst also looking towards the future.
“We played a really good first half and showed what we’re capable of,” said Preston.
“I think our experience in the fourth quarter really helped us and we were definitely the more mature side and that showed in our decision making at the end of the game.
“Any time you can finish the year with a win is a positive and I think it’s something we needed as players.
“Moving into 2018, we feel like our fate is in our own hands and we believe there’s no reason we can’t be where we want to be.
“Ultimately we’ve got a lot of work to do to prepare for the second half of the season. These are definitely exciting times for us.”