The Eagles were looking to maintain their good home form and stay top of the table against a very gritty Liverpool team pushing for a playoff spot… Eagles were without Domantas Karpinskas and Theo Riley with work but they did have Themba Yabantu in their ranks…
The Eagles in black took on the visitors in red from the North West and it was the home team who opened the scoring with top scorer Yabantu laying up the ball followed closely by a couple from the free throw line for Tom Usher making it 4-2… The Stars then began to shine as they went on a mini run of 0-7 making it 4-9… The Eagles called a quick time out to steady the ship and it worked as both teams traded hoops and with the home team hitting a quick 6 points in the final minute of the period it was 19-21….
The boys in black then made some more adjustments at the start of the second quarter and it paid great dividends as traded early baskets and then hit the Stars with a 10-0 run making it 31-23… The next couple of minutes saw the Eagles edge it 5-4 with a big perimeter shot from Rafael Camargo-Blas, however this proved to be his last contribution as on the next fast break he collided knee to knee with Bradshaw of Liverpool and he spent the rest of the game icing his knee…. At this point it was 36-27 but the disruption saw the visitors go on another 0-7 run making it 36-34…The boys in black then hit two big baskets making it 41-34….. (22-13)
The early part of the 3rd period saw both teams score with the Eagles hitting back to back 3s making it 49-40… The Stars in red then took advantage of some poor defence and they hot the Eagles with a quick 0-10 run in the middle section of the quarter making it 49-50… The Eagles though didn’t panic and they went on an 8-2 run with centre Dan Parkin having one of his best games of the season and with less than 2 minutes left of the quarter it was 57-52…The Eagles again took advantage of a tiring Liverpool team and by the end of the 3rd it was 65-56 courtesy of another 8-4 run… (24-22)
The last quarter saw another close affair but with both Yabantu and Usher hitting more outside shots it was the boys in black who edged it 18-15 closing out the game at 83-71….
Eagles U23 Head Coach Graham Heath said “This was a tough 40 minutes for us and we knew coming into the game we had to play for the full game and we had our hands full with the size of Liverpool as we struggled at times to match up… We were missing two good players but it was great to have Chris Linsley back from injury and Themba made a big difference to our team… Some of our most reliable players/scorers had off days but our strength in depth showed as others stepped up… We now know all is in our hands as we approach the end to the regular season and then focus on the play off….”
Eagles Top Scorers- T Yabantu 22, Chris Linsley 17, T Usher 12 and D Parkin 11
Eagles U23 play away to Stockport Falcons on Saturday 23rd February 2019 tip off at 4pm….