After a big road win last weekend, the Newcastle Eagles Under 16s were back in league action on Saturday, at home to Mansfield Giants. When the two sides faced off earlier in the season the Giants took a comfortable win, but the Eagles were positive they could give the visitors a real game having taken some big steps forward since the Christmas break.
The first quarter saw both teams come out of the blocks with real intent. The Eagles would get on the scoresheet first before Mansfield had a lay-up in transition to even the scores. Both sides would finish well over the ten minutes and after a very even first period the scores were 20-23 in favour of the Giants.
The second quarter saw the visitors take the game away from the Eagles. Mansfield came out of the timeout with real aggression and began to push the ball hard in transition, leading to a number of easy scores. The Giants also limited the Eagles scoring and despite several adjustments on both ends of the floor the home side couldn’t stop the visitors run. The score at halftime was 31-53 (11-30).
The third quarter saw a resurgent effort from the hosts. Despite a poor couple of minutes to start the quarter, the Eagles began to find some more regular success on offence which helped ease the pressure on defence. Mansfield would still manage to extend their lead going into the fourth, but a massive 15-4 run to close the quarter saw the Eagles take some real positives from what was turning into a poor defensive performance. A big highlight in the quarter was nine straight points from Jones who poured in two big threes to help the home sides effort on offence.
The fourth quarter would see the Eagles continue to struggle with Mansfield’s offence. The Giants would score another 29 points in the final period to run out winners 60-109.
After the game, Under 16s Head Coach Sam Roxborough said “we really struggled with the pace of the game today. It certainly wasn’t our best display on defence and despite some big improvements since Christmas, this game really shows us how much progress we need to make in key areas in order to compete at this level.”
The U16s are next in action away to Northamptonshire Titans on Sunday 4th Feb where both coaching staff and players will hope for a better performance.
Scorers: Kande 23, Jones 11, Fetherston 10, Proctor 7, Mamuini 6, Hunt 2, Routledge 2.