Isaac Mourier: Times they are a changing but Leeds Force stay strong

Leeds Force have definitely made strides forward in the last few weeks '“ we had a new lease of life against Bristol last week, and found that togetherness we've desperately been searching for as a team.

New YEP columnist Isaac Mourier in action against Bristol Flyers on Sunday. (Pictures: Brendan Chadwick Photography)

We’ve been working incredibly hard as a team to get things right, and when we walked into the arena with a bunch of our fans supporting us on Sunday, we were energised and that showed in our performance even though we couldn’t quite earn the victory, going down 91-83 at the Carnegie Sports Arena.

We showed toughness and resilience against Bristol, they’re a great team who have the advantage of having been together all season, whereas we’re still trying to find that cohesiveness as a unit.

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Just to emphasise the changing times, you’ll notice I’m now your columnist after Leeds parted ways with Samuel Toluwase before Christmas.

The only disappointing aspect is that we couldn’t win the game, we didn’t seize the opportunity presented to us but I’m still immensely proud of the grit and determination in our performance.

We thrive off that underdog mentality, we don’t necessarily have the arena or facilities to match the top teams in the league, so we have to show the right attitude and work hard if we want to win games – we don’t fear anyone and I’m proud of how hard we’ve fought over the festive period.

No matter who we’re playing, we arrive to every game with heart, hustle and a fierce will to win.

We have a humble background as a small team that’s still in its infancy, but it doesn’t matter who faces Leeds Force, we’ll still give everything we have.

Tavarion Nix drives to the basket against Bristol Flyers.

We don’t care whether you’re Glasgow Rocks – who we visit on Sunday – or Newcastle Eagles with a large following and a prestigious background, as soon as they step on our court, anything can happen, so we’re excited to keep pushing for wins and there’s no reason why that can’t happen sooner rather than later.

It’s important that we take advantage of the times when we have the momentum, since we know the opposition will always fight back – basketball is a game of runs and we have to judge that better going forward.

We need to learn how to close out games as a team – we’re quite inexperienced in that sense but we’ll build on what we learned from last week’s loss, and hopefully next time we’ll be ready to fight for the win in a close-game situation.

Our main goal is to go out there every night and let the league know we’re here to stay, and prove to people that Leeds Force are no joke.

Team unity at Leeds Force

We’ve had a lot of problems, issues that perhaps a number of other teams wouldn’t have come through, but we’ve got some real characters here and a great group of guys who are ready to fight tooth and nail – if you’re coming to play us soon, you better be ready.

It’s important to get those wins now – Bristol should’ve been a victory, but we have Glasgow on Sunday to try and rectify that as we look for that crucial first win on the road.

We’ve sorted our own house out now, so our next aim is to climb that league table – whether it’s the playoffs or not, we deserve more than bottom of the league so the only way is upwards.

Glasgow’s a long trip on Sunday, and the Rocks are a daunting team, but I don’t think there’s too many teams who can scrap like we can – there’s nothing to lose and the pressure will be on them in front of their home crowd so we’ll definitely be going for it.

Tavarion Nix drives to the basket against Bristol Flyers.

That’s it for this week’s column, keep on supporting us because we need our fans – we feed off your energy and together we’ll keep moving forwards.


Interview: Seb Gigner

Team unity at Leeds Force