The Eagles were drawn away in the first round of the shield to Calderdale who were one of the fancied teams in D4 North….
The Eagles drew first blood in this encounter as Yabantu hit the mark off the tip… The home team in white hit back as they started to dominate the 1st period and by the 5th minute it was 15-10… The visitors playing in black finished the stronger of the teams as they went into the break tied up at 21-21 on the back of a 0-8 run…
The second quarter was a great 10 minutes of basketball for the visiting Eagles as they started to win the battles in every department including the rebounding which had been weak in the first… The visitors had a 4-13 run to make it 25-34 by the midpoint… The boys in black continued to push on as they finished the half at 36-53… (15-32)
The Eagles were in good spirits coming out for the 3rd but the hosts had other ideas as their team talk obviously gave them the spur they needed as they jumped out to a 7-0 run in the first 2 minutes causing the Eagles to take a time out… The next 4 minutes were a trade off of scores 55-61… But the Explorers turned up the heat again as they went on a 7-0 run including some nicely given free throws to go into the break at 62-61 up… (26-8)
The fourth was set up for a nail biting affair with the visiting Eagles trailing by 1 point… The 1st 5 minutes saw both teams keep the score ticking over and it was 69-68 on Alex Horta’s score… The visitors however failed to stay with the home side as they edged the last 5 minutes 13-7 again with some help from the charity stripe and poor rushed decisions by the Eagles… The Explorers closed out the game at 82-75… (20-14)
Coach Heath said “We played a great 30 minute cup match but the 3rd period and latter part of the 4th killed us with poor offensive decisions… we rushed things and didn’t convert our opportunities… It’s allowed us to see what we will be competing with in this division and it has allowed the players to see where they might fit in… We will regroup ready for our first league game….”
Eagles Top Scorers-
Themba Yabantu 14, Ishmael Ingham 13 and Alex Horta 13….
The Eagles will play Manchester Magic II in the opening league game of the season away at The Amaechi Centre….