Eagles top Wire in overtime thriller
The game began with Cheshire controlling the tempo in the Eagles first home game at the Eagles Community Arena as the visitors jumped out to a 4 – 12 lead with just five minutes played. The Eagles managed to stem their early issues and halt the lead where it was finishing the quarter down 7 points; 17 – 24, mostly thanks to the combined scoring of junior forwards Leperrier and Sheeran.
The second quarter started with the Eagles stepping up their defensive aggression but continued their offensive struggles; with just two minutes left in the quarter Cheshire continued to keep the margin where it was leading 37 – 29, however the Eagles managed to turn themselves around to tie the game up 38 – 38 going in to the half-time break thanks to an increased tempo from the home side.
Out of the halftime break the Eagles went on a tear to lead 60 – 50 with just a minute to play in the third behind 9 points from Jerrard, however as had happened in the second quarter the trailing side battled back again this time Cheshire fought back to end the quarter trailing 61 – 58.
The fourth quarter saw extreme drama as Cheshire began to pull away thanks to good play from their big men Parker and Pedder as the visitors held a 72 – 66 advantage with just four minutes to play it was clear both teams tightened up and began to go back and forth with the lead staying Cheshire’s favour until the final minute when leading scorer Leperrier knocked down a clutch three with less than thirty seconds to play leaving the Eagles down by just a single point. The Eagles then managed to get a stop and going down the other end had two or three decent looks at the basket before senior forward Hunt was fouled with just 2.9 seconds to go needing to make one of two free throws to tie things up. After missing the first Hunt then saw his second shot hit the top of the backboard before dropping through to tie the game. Cheshire then took a timeout but failed to get a decent shot off to end the game.
Going in to overtime the Eagles and Wire again went back and forth with 15 free throws attempted over the five minutes between both teams. With the game tied 81 – 81 going in to the final minute the Eagles got several huge stops while on the offensive end Leperrier scored a lay-up along with Clark making two of four free throws left the Eagles up by 2 with less than ten seconds to play. The drama then continued with 9.2 left to play and the Eagles almost losing the ball it again fell to senior forward Hunt to go to the line with a chance to ice the game, again he split the free throws leaving the Eagles up by three with little time left on the clock and Cheshire were unable to find themselves a good three-point look to tie the game.
Academy coach David Sayers said “We had a tough day today, though we made a lot of our problems ourselves, I was proud of our guys stepping up and hitting some huge free throws at the end. Delighted to win and it’s always special to win in these kinds of circumstances though I wouldn’t mind putting a little more distance between us and our opponents next time!”
Top scorers for the Eagles were Leperrier with 25 he was supported by Jerrard and Sheeran who had 19 & 11 respectively. The Wire were led by 20 from Parker and he was helped by Pedder’s 14 and Mckie’s 13.
The Eagles Academy 16’s next match-up sees them host Derby Trailblazers on February 9th at 4pm at the Eagles Community Arena.