Taunton Tigers Men bounced back following a 20 point loss to National Division 2 league leaders Derby on Saturday, with a 96 – 74 win against Mansfield the very next day. The weekend trip leaves Taunton 6th in the league, maintaining their 50% record since their promotion.
The Derby game proved to be a harsh lesson to the developing Tigers. Whilst Taunton fought all the way, the classy Trailblazers, spurred on by a huge home support, were too smart and experienced. Spencer (20 points), Alloway (24 points) and Shaw (19 points) dominated the guard spot and ran the game for Derby. Tigers star Joe Andrews, unable to make an impact recovering from illness. Paul Yabsley (17 points) and Richard Anderson (16 points) provided hope but the home side always looked comfortable feeding off mistakes. The big plus for Taunton however was the promising debut of Damian Puncevicz, signed in the January window. The 19-year-old Polish youngster provided 13 points mixed with intensity off the bench.
The overnight stay gave Taunton time to reflect and lick their wounds before preparing for Mansfield of Sunday. Tigers returned to their best form with a real team display, highlighting how close the side has become. Intensity and effort alone was enough to open up a 48 – 38 half time lead. Mansfield's tall and athletic team dominated around the basket but the hungry Tigers made every loose ball theirs in a physical battle.
The second half saw Taunton really turn on the style. Lawson carried the fight for Mansfield but by then Tigers were in full flow. Kevin Anderson (26 points) was on the end of a series of ‘pinball’ moves with Joe Saunders (13 points) leading the break and providing the circus passes and finishes.
Coach Heath was delighted with the performance and challenged his team to raise their ambitions against 4th placed Leicester Warriors at home this Saturday. Tickets can be bought at the door for the 18:00 tip-off at Wellsprings.