Eagles fall to Kings in very tight contest
The Eagles visited friendly rivals Edinburgh Kings in what looks to the final fixture of the season for the youngsters. The game started with the Eagles running out to an early 12 – 4 lead behind great defensive play from a starting five that featured all four seniors on the roster. The gym was loud as the Eagles bench, visiting parents and fellow Academy under 18’s made the venue rock early in the game. The Kings however fought themselves back in to the game meaning the first quarter ended 16 – 17 in the Eagles favour, with senior guard Lewis contributing 10 of the 17 points.
The second quarter started with the Kings continuing their good play from the end of the second and beginning to take a small lead as they led 33-25 before the Eagles fought back to end the quarter down by 2. Both teams seemed glad for the half-time break after a frenetic first half as the score sat at 37-35 in favour of the Kings.
Out of the halftime break the Eagles went back again to the starting five and again locked in defensively leading to the Eagles taking a 44-43 lead. Both teams then traded baskets as the quarter ended 55-54 in the Eagles favour. Both teams playing very tough defence and working hard to break each other’s press.
The final quarter saw the hosts begin to take a slight 67-64 lead for the Kings with 5 minutes remaining, both teams then went back and forth trading tough defensive possessions, however with less than a minute remaining the Eagles narrowed the score back to 70-67 behind a huge three from Sheeran with just a minutes remaining. The Eagles then played good defence but could not find the bottom of the net for the rest of the contest and tried to rush a few times leading to silly turnovers meaning the Kings went on to win 72 – 67.
Eagles Academy Coach David Sayers said “This was a really tough loss in a game we probably should have won easily, some hard lessons to learn amongst the juniors in the program as they seemed to struggle a little under pressure today but clearly we have issues to work on going forward in terms of playing against a press. The hard work begins now towards next season and making sure the guys are ready for the challenges ahead.”
Top scorers for the Eagles were senior guard Lewis with 16, supported by England camp invitees Leperrier and Sheeran with 15 and 11 respectively. The Kings were led by a huge game by Baxter as he poured in 48 points he was supported by Vanneste with 12.