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Lions help lift BH basketball

Monday, 24th February, 2020

American player Spencer Williams displays an impressive jump during his lay-up. PICTURE: Myles Burt American player Spencer Williams displays an impressive jump during his lay-up. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

Central Districts Lions outclassed the Broken Hill Broncos with a massive 106 points to 25 victory in an exhibition clash at the R.K. Sanderson Basketball Stadium on Saturday night.

But all said and done, Broken Hill basketball was definitely the biggest winner on the night.

The one-off event drew a large crowd of local spectators for the U/12 Broncos mixed game and the highly-anticipated Broncos versus Lions match.

A close and entertaining match between the junior Broncos teams was well received, with the Yellow team just betting out the Blue team, 24 points to 19. For the big match of the night, Lions players were introduced first onto the court one by one, with the Broncos following suit.

Some hometown bias was on display as a smoke machine was used for bronco players to run through, adding a dramatic effect and providing locals with a good laugh. Players and spectators stood for the national anthem and a one minute silence was held for fallen Bronco player Bayden Quinn.

The match was soon underway with Lions player Spencer Williams winning the half court jump, however, Broncos player Liam King secured the ball and scored the first goal of the match.

The Broncos and Lions played hard and fast in the first quarter but the Lions managed to run away with the game, with the Broncos finding their feet again in the final quarter.

Broncos coach Jay Tremelling said regardless of the score, his boys definitely performed to his expectations.

“I thought they probably exceeded it in the end,” he told the BDT after the game.

“They started off with a bit of a flurry, which you always expect as the adrenaline’s pumping.

“They haven’t played at that level before, so they came out firing, and then we kind of died, second quarter was just woeful.

“But that’s because they don’t get to do it all the time, and that’s where the problem lies.

“By the last quarter, I thought, beside our skills not being as good as theirs, we were quite competitive, which is great.”

Tremelling said Broncos players were very happy with their game experience against an NBA1 team from Adelaide.

He said his players might push themselves harder after playing against such talented basketballers, but he’s certain the younger players watching benefitted the most from last night’s game.

“I dare say it’s these sort of kids that were watching the game, they’re gonna say ‘well, hey, we want to be able to do that’ and they’re going to start training harder, and they’re going to play harder in their games,” he said.

“These exhibition games are really, really good for a community like Broken Hill, especially the basketball community.”

That will happen, it’s happened plenty of times before,” Mr Tremelling said.

Lions coach Matt Atkins, whilst happy with the win, said it’s good to see his players perform well against a team they haven’t played before and supplying the Broncos with some great match experience. 

“I’m just glad we gave the town experience, and it gave us experience to come and play as a group, to get away from Adelaide and hang out together, so that’s good,” Atkins said.

Atkins said all his players pulled their weight and worked incredibly well as a unit.

“It’s the kind of team where everyone plays a part, so it’s hard to even tell (who the best players are),” Atkins said.

“The guys like each other, there’s no egos on the team, so it works out really well.

“The guys shot the ball well, as a coach they did as they were told, so it’s hard to pick one tonight.”

Broken Hill Basketball president Steve Lihou said the turnout for the game exceeded his expectations.

He initially expected a crowd of 200, but pulled in about 400 spectators.

“I couldn’t thank the public enough for supporting it,” Mr Lihou said.

Local spectators cheered on both the Broncos and Lions, with younger local players flocking around the Lions bench to listen in and high five players when they came off the court.

The electric atmosphere on the court didn’t die down after the game with youngsters flocking around the Lions, asking for photos and autographs.

Lihou said the encouragement given to the Broncos and the Lions from locals was a classic example of the Broken Hill spirit.

“I think basketball is the winner tonight,” Lihou said.

Lihou thanked his committee, volunteers and supportive sponsors.

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