Taunton Tigers Men's team have sent a clear message to all National Division 2 teams that they are here for real, and here to stay with a 112 – 88 demolition of Leicester Warriors away from home.
Taunton faced a daunting long trip to the East Midlands team who had beaten 3 other Nat Div 2 teams this year in the Patrons Cup for their first Division 2 League fixture. Rather than worrying about the 5 experienced regulars unavailable due to injury the young Tigers clearly saw the game as an opportunity to show what they could do.
Joe Saunders and Alistair Bird both continued to stake their claim for more court time with shooting demonstrations that ripped the heart out of the Warriors. However even they were overshadowed by the performance of Junior Jordan Seeley who went on to score 25 points and receive the MVP for the game. Coach Ronnie Heath was not overly surprised though,
“Jordan has such strong fundamentals. All of his key athletic and basketball learning is at an unconscious level. As a consequence he can play with a clear head and adopt a fearless approach. We didn't know when he would arrive at senior level but trust me, we knew it was coming.”
Captain Graham Jones was quick to point out however,
“This was our best Team performance so far. You have just seen what happens when we are all reading from the same page.”
The performance further confirms Heath's confidence in locally developed players, with Somersets finest dominating a team filled with professional experience.
Taunton fully deserved their 29 – 20 point first quarter lead. With big players missing they knew that they would always struggle to stop the bigger Warriors inside but they managed to lure Leicester into an open and fast game. Even when the home team took the lead at 35 – 34 in the second quarter, the Tigers did not shift from game plan. The strong leadership of Jones and VC Joe Andrews gave Taunton continued belief and soon they stretched to a 55 – 43 half-time lead.
Heath will be concerned about the points given up at the defensive end but if it continues to ‘Rain 3's’ down the other end then Taunton can expect to stay top of the league in scoring. Richard Anderson will have finally shut up the doubters with a 32 points performance inside. He will regularly face players 6 inches taller this year but he has proved that his fitness and footwork speed will be enough to score freely at this level. He will look forward to of the return to fitness of his twin brother Kevin and Lee Riviello who it is hoped will be available for selection soon.