Last weekend the under 16’s Newcastle Eagles travelled to Mansfield to play their sixth game of the new season. On paper this game was always going to be a challenge for the Eagles. Mansfield had been playing extremely well and putting up some serious scores against the likes of City of Birmingham and Northamptonshire. Nevertheless, the Eagles arrived with plenty of time before tip off and began their preparations with real intent.
The first quarter started with a real competitive spirit. The home side scored first but the Eagles hit back behind back-to-back baskets for Kande to keep up the pace. A poor three minute spell for the visitors then saw the hosts run out to a 14 point lead 18-4. The Eagles were really struggling to keep up with their hosts in transition as well as losing the rebounding battle on both ends. Despite a couple of consolation three pointers to finish the quarter, Mansfield took the first 28-12.
The second quarter was a closer affair. The away side managed to start with a 7-2 run to reduce the deficit to 11 points before the hosts kept the scoreboard ticking on their way to 50 points at the half. Again the pace and power of the Giants was proving a real problem for the away side; there were however some real positives on offence as the team was moving the ball well and really getting to the basket for some high percentage looks. The halftime score was 50-29 (22-17).
A sluggish start to the third quarter saw the game get away from the visitors. Mansfield went on a 15-2 run to start the period behind a number of tough finishes inside from Insley and Williams. The Eagles would continue to fight but despite their best efforts the Giants took the quarter 29-19.
The final quarter would see the Eagles really fighting hard. An 11-4 run from the team from Newcastle would eat into the Giants lead before the hosts managed to get a couple of baskets back. The away side were really moving the ball well and causing the Giants some real issues on defence. Despite losing the game, the visitors would take the final quarter 24-25! Demonstrating some real character in the most difficult of circumstances.
Another tough loss on the road for the under 16’s. It was pleasing to see some real improvements on offence as the team really bought into playing for each other and sharing the basketball. No doubt the return leg will be a closer affair.
The Under 16’s are next in action at home to Northamptonshire Titans, 2pm tip at Newcastle College (4th November 2017)
Scorers: Kande 20, Bond 16, Mamuini 15, Fetherston 11, Jones 5, Lewis 4, Jerrard 2