Having beaten Cheshire just two weeks ago, the Eagles were in a buoyant mood for their final away game of the year. Despite winning by over 20 points at home, the boys from Newcastle were fully aware that this fixture would be a tougher proposition than the previous game, especially as the Wire were missing some key players for their trip up North.
Cheshire would score first; before their lead was wiped out by scores for Proctor and Jones. Baskets were hard to come by over the first five minutes of the game and despite both sides getting a number of good looks the score was 8-4 going into the second half of the quarter. The Eagles were trying to apply more pressure in the full court and notwithstanding some early success, the Wire managed to break the press a number of times which led to some easy scores for the hosts. The Wire would finish the quarter on 15 points, but the Eagles managed to score 17 to take a slender lead into the second quarter.
Back to back scores for Sukys would see the Eagles increase their lead after the quarter break, before Cheshire went on a 14-5 run to get their noses back in front by just a point, 31-30. Mamuini would then take over the scoring for the visitors, with back to back And-1s to see the Eagles back in front by four. Cheshire would respond with a big three and another basket to regain the lead before Mamuini would score again – just before the buzzer sounded – to give the Eagles a one-point lead going into the break.
The third quarter saw the Eagles take off the full court pressure and focus on limiting Cheshire’s transition scores. This tactic seemed to pay off as the visitors only conceded 11 points in 10 minutes with the hosts being kept to just four points over six minutes. The visitors were also able to steadily increase their lead behind a number of scores for Mamuini and Kande who combined for 14 points in the quarter.
The fourth quarter would start with a burst of scoring for Bond, who hit three straight baskets to see the Eagles back in front by 10. Cheshire would manage to put a run together themselves, getting back to within six points with four minutes left, after a number of offensive rebounds saw them get some easy put-backs inside. Fortunately for the Eagles that was as close as Cheshire would get and despite some late scores for the Wire the visitors came out winners 60-66!
After the game, U16s Head Coach Sam Roxborough said “today’s performance was really professional. We knew that Cheshire would be a different proposition at home and I’m really pleased with how we played for large parts of the game. We did really well against the zone and I think today we showed how far we have come as a group this year.”
This weekend’s win should certainly give the young Eagles some confidence heading into their final game of the season against City of Birmingham (at home) next Saturday 17th March 2018, 12pm tip.
Scorers: Mamuini 20, Kande 13, Bond 9, Sukys 7, Jones 7, Proctor 4, Fetherston 3, Lewis 2