Saturday’s home fixture opened with both teams playing solid defence and forcing each other in to tough shots, meaning that with 5 minutes gone in the quarter it was 8 – 6 to the visiting Magic, the highlight basket coming from Clark who’s steal followed by a slick move to the basket was a nice way to start the day for his home debut. This set the tone for the day as for most of the game both teams played a very tight game throughout. The Magic taking the early advantage, 15 – 14, at the end of the first quarter. The Magic’s press providing a tough challenge for the young Eagles as they committed eight first quarter turnovers.
The second quarter saw Trafford tighten their press as the hosting Eagles only managed to score two points until there was 2:01 left on the clock in the quarter due to eight more turnovers in the second frame. After a timeout with just over two minutes left the Eagles appeared to have somewhat solved their issues with the press as they broke it easily for two wide-open three pointers and provided a trip to the line for Lewis pushing the Eagles on to points, to end the half. However, the damage had been done with the Eagles losing the quarter by nine and going in to the half down by ten points overall. The score at the break being 23-33 in Trafford’s favour.
Following the break, Newcastle came out with a high-energy display to start the second half. The early exchanges saw the hosts dial long distance for four triples fuelling a 12-4 run over the first four minutes of the quarter. However foul trouble saw Leperrier and Lewis have to sit down as they both picked up their fourth fouls. The change from the line-up that started the quarter leading to the Magic replying with a 9-0 run over the next two minutes before a frantic final minute of the half saw the game again balance out with Newcastle taking three trips to the line, however these only resulted in 3 points. The quarter ending with the hosts down by nine, 39 – 48.
The fourth quarter saw the Eagles twice pull themselves within touching distance of the Magic; early on drawing themselves within five points followed by Trafford’s May scoring 6 of the next 10 points all of which went to Trafford as sloppy play again haunted the Eagles with turnovers causing scores for Trafford on multiple occasions. The Eagles then piled some pressure back on Trafford again pulling within six before a fifth foul for Leperrier, followed by a technical foul by him on his way off left the Eagles with a big hill to climb in the closing minutes and as the lead got reduced again to four points it looked like the hosts may finally fight all the way back but it wasn’t to be as Trafford extended their lead again following Lewis’ fifth foul, the game ending 56-64 in their favour.
Eagles Academy Coach David Sayers said “We weren’t there mentally today which is something we have to look at preparation wise as a team. We’ve been trying to stress that little things over the course of a game become big things and we proved it today as little by little we threw the game way. We have to look at turnovers, missed free throws, guys moving to the wrong spots. We had the raw talent advantage today but struggled with the press. Gives us a lot to work on in the weeks coming up on our way to the Manchester Magic game.”
Top scorers for the Eagles were Sloan (14), Leperrier (11) and Jones (10). The Magic were led by May (24), Brown (16) and Olubode (9).
The young Eagles Academy under 16’s follow a weekend off next week by playing host to Manchester Magic on Saturday 24th November 2:00pm at Newcastle College.