TYNEMET Titans will fly the flag for north east college basketball next spring after claiming their latest regional crown.
The Wallsend-based club – coached by Team Northumbria and England Universities playcaller Marc Steutel – will take on the best of Britain for the third time in four years.
And the Titans are determined to improve upon this year’s fifth-placed finish at the national finals with confidence sky-high in the TyneMet camp.
“I am so proud of the guys,” said Steutel after the Titans defeated fierce rivals Gateshead to clinch the North East Regional Colleges Basketball crown.
“On the court they were terrific but they also demonstrated a mature, friendly attitude off it in helping organise and run the tournament.
“I was happy that we were the hosts so we could maximise all of the students’ enjoyment and minutes on the court.
“The feedback from the coaches of the other colleges was that they were happy with the overall running of the tournament and that’s hugely important to our programme.”
TyneMet welcomed Hartlepool College of FE, Hartlepool Sixth Form College, Newcastle College, Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College and Gateshead College to John Spence Community High School.
And the hosts were one of a quartet of teams that qualified for the Final Fours.
In the first semi-final Gateshead overcame a resilient Newcastle and TyneMet eased past Hartlepool Sixth Form College to set up a mouthwatering local derby.
The hosts surged out of the blocks with second-year stars Jordan Nichols, Ellory Browne, Jack Wilson, Theo Turner and Newcastle Eagle Lamar Morrison all getting on the scoresheet early.
TyneMet’s stifling defence caused Gateshead problems as the Titans’ lead grew steadily.
A monster dunk from Turner, after a superb Nichols assist, was the highlight of the first half.
The introduction of Shane Beadle and Darren Crane after the break increased the Titans’ intensity with both players starring individually.
And Steutel was delighted to see all 12 of TyneMet’s players gain valuable court time as the hosts claimed a stunning 111-34 victory.
“In the final our guys were really clinical and delivered a really professional performance,” added the former TM forward.
“We have six players who travel up from Middlesbrough every day to develop themselves as student and athletes and this final was their reward for all that hard work and dedication.
“I am not overlooking the Newcastle-based players either – who also work equally as hard – and they will enjoy this win as much as anyone in the squad.
“Now it’s time for us to prepare for our third showing at the National Finals and we hope we can push to be a top four side at the tournament.
“Our women’s team have finished second the last two years, so the boys are hoping to reclaim bragging rights this year.
“It’s time to really step up how hard we work.”