The Eagles were looking to win a tough encounter against a robust Tameside team still pushing towards a playoff spot… Eagles travelled without Theo Riley with work but they did have Themba Yabantu in their ranks…
The Eagles playing in white arrived in plenty of time for their tough game against a hard-nosed Tameside team playing in front a quite a large and very vocal crowd… The Eagles had their own small band of travelling fans… The opening 3 minutes saw both teams create chances but fail to put any points on the board… The Eagles then opened with two triples but the home team in black had the better of the exchanges as they lead 14-9 by the 6th minute… The Eagles then went on a mini 3-9 run making it 17-18 with a minute to play…The team in black were finding it very difficult to defend Rafael Camargo-Blas in the first 10 minutes… Both teams traded scores and they went in at 21-20 to the home side….
The was another close affair with Tameside opening with another score before the Eagles went on another good scoring run as some better defence let them get out and run better… an 2-11 run saw the visitors edge ahead 25-31, Tameside called timeout and steadied the ship as they went on mini run of 6-0 tying up the game at 31-31… The last minute saw the Eagles score a 4-7 run with top scorer Themba Yabantu hitting a big triple on the buzzer… it was 35-38 at the half time break… (14-18)
The second half was underway and it was the team in white who had the better share of these 10 minutes and if hadn’t been for some poor free throw shooting the advantage would have been bigger… Some great defence saw the Eagles hold Tameside to just 8 points in the quarter and they added 20 of their own as well as missing 5 free throws… so at the end of the 3rd it was 43-58… (8-20)
The last 10 minutes proved to be quite dramatic and the intensity both on and off the court reached fever pitch… Tameside came out of the blocks like a team possessed and lead by their top scorer Kuczaj who went on his own mission with an 11-3 run making it 54-61… The home team then drilled a triple to take it to 57-61… The Eagles however held their nerve and some great free throw shooting under pressure from Yabantu and a huge down town effort from Horta saw the visitors over the line as the home team dribbled out the last 15 seconds and their bench stood and applauded the Eagles for a tough road win by 75-82… (32-24)
Eagles U23 Head Coach Graham Heath said “This was a tough 40 minutes for us and the home team along with their fans made it really hard to play in especially in the last quarter when they threw everything at us to take this victory away… Our approach was to compete and we did that for the whole game answering with scores when we needed them… Our bench production wasn’t as good as it has been and we were poor early on from the free throw line and perimeter… However we showed great grit and determination down the stretch and this win leaves us a home game against bottom the table Cheshire Wire to win the game… However we can’t take them for granted as they registered their first win at home to 4th top Liverpool…”
Eagles Top Scorers- T Yabantu 28, R Camargo-Blas 18, C Linsley 8 and A Horta 8…
Eagles U23 play Cheshire Wire on Sunday 17th March 2019 tip off at 1pm at Eagles Community Arena….