The clash of the top two teams in D4 North saw the Eagles looking to do the double over the visitors from Doncaster who lead the league….
The Eagles were missing Chris Linsley with injury but had Themba Yabantu drafted in for his second game of the season….
The game was played in front of a good crowd at the new Eagles Community Arena, and it was the home team who struck first with top scorer Rafael Camargo Blas drawing the basket and the foul… The Eagles then hit back to back to 3s and were 13-7 up at the 5th minute mark… The visiting Eagles in white then went on a good run of 0-9 lead by their top scorer Collwill taking the score along to 13-16… The home team called time out and came out of it with another 3 pointer from Tom Usher and they closed out the period 19-18 up….
The second quarter saw the home side in black dominate a little bit more with some better defence leading to good transition offence and with some better finishing they eased ahead 29-23 by the midpoint of the period… The latter part of the 2nd saw the Eagles outscore their visitors 9-6 thus going into the break at 38-29 up….
The 3rd quarter was a much tougher one for the home side as they came out flat and found their scoring touch had deserted them… The visitors took full advantage as they went big in their line up and their quality of finishing was excellent and they went on an 11-0 run to make the score 38-40… Again Coach Heath called time out and steadied the ship… The boys in black came out and Ishmael Ingram hit a very strange 3 pointer edging them 41-40 up… The visitors edged the final 2 minutes with a 4-5 run making it all square at 45-45… (7-16)
The game was finely balanced and it was set up for a rip roaring final 10 minutes, I don’t think anyone knew what to expect… The teams traded early baskets before the home town Eagles hit back to back triples through Theo Riley and Themba Yabantu making it 55-52… The teams then scored again making it 57-56 with 5 minutes to play… The home team then again went on a quick 7-0 run with Camargo Blas hitting 5 of them making it 64-56…. The boys in white then hit back with a mini 0-6 run making it 64-62 with only a minute left in the game… The Eagles then made one of two free throws making it 65-62… Doncaster called time out and advanced the ball looking for a big 3 to tie it and they duly obliged with a heavily contested shot from Metcalf making it 65-65 with only 3 seconds left… Eagles called time out and the play was set and it was executed to perfection with a back door allyoop thrown for Domantas Karpinskas to tip the ball in on the buzzer… The place erupted and the Eagles were home 67-65… (22-20)
Eagles U23 Head Coach Graham Heath said “It was an amazing game to be involved with and the guys dug deep at times when it was needed… We didn’t play badly at anytime in the game we just didn’t always finish as clinically as we would have liked… All the players contributed and this will now set us up for the tilt at the title we want to win so badly…. We have a weekend off this weekend before we entertain Stockport Falcons at home so plenty of time to digest and to prepare….”
Eagles Top Scorers- R. Camargo-Blas 13, Ishmael Ingram 11
Eagles’ v Stockport Falcons on Saturday 26th January 2019 at Eagles Community Arena…..