Leicester Riders 45 v Newcastle Eagles 61
Head Coach – Darius Defore / Assistant Coach – Dominic Taylor
Starting 5 – Luke Tucker, Lewis Pinnock, Alfie Rhodes, Tyler Cadete, Arran Dower
The Eagles unbeaten streak continues with a win on the road to v Leicester Riders. Captain Billy Crawshaw had to sit this one out due to a dislocated finger and Luke Tucker filled his shoes as captain for this game. Not one to let down his team Billy travelled down to Leicester to show his support from the bench.
Quarter 1 saw the Eagles match every Riders basket with 2 of their own. The scoring was opened by Leicester Riders this, however, was answered by Arran Dower getting the Eagles pints underway. The Eagles impressive defensive skills were on display denying this game Riders team basket after basket, however Leicester found them selves on the free throw line for another point on their scoresheet. A long pass down the court from Luke Tucker lead to Harry Merrifield’s first basket of the game which was quickly followed by Luke Tucker scoring a basket of his own. Harry Merrifield found himself on the free throw line taking advantage of the foul by Leicester. Leicester found their way to the basket and a quick time out was called. The Eagles came back on court ready to fight. Arran Dower added another to his tally and kept the Eagles lead. Another foul by Leicester sent Tyler Cadete to the free throw line quickly followed by an And 1 basket for Harry Merrifield. An assist from Leo Glaholm gave Joseph Flint his first basket of the game. Another Leicester basket spurred the Eagles on and Harry Merrifield answered with another for his tally. The quarter ended 9 -18 to the Eagles
The second quarter saw the Eagles, once again, score 2 baskets for every 1 from Leicester. Leonardo Wilson got his first point of the game and opened the scoring for the Eagles. A run down the full court saw Harry Merrifield fouled and he took advantage of the free throw opportunity. Leicester had their defence on display but Perry Bostin found his way through for his first points of the game. Quickly followed by another basket for Joseph Flint. A 3 point shot from Leicester shortened the Eagles lead and a time out was called. A game of multiple fouls saw Leonardo Wilson next to eb sent to the free throw line where he took full advantage. A scramble on the floor saw Luke tucker get the ball out to Harry Merrifield where he added 2 more points to his tally, this was quickly followed by another from Arran Dower and the quarter ended 18-36.
The second half was the most evenly matched quarter of the game as both teams determinedly took to the floor. The fouls kept coming and Arran Dower took advantage of his trip to the free throw line. A quick basket from Leicester followed, however this was answered by another basket from Arran Dower. Luke Tucker added 2 more to his tally after a full court sprint and the pace of the game picked up. Play ran from end to end with baskets landing on either end. Leo Glaholm and Harry Merrifield both added to their game tally and the quarter ended 31 – 49 to the Eagles
The final quarter scoring was opened by Leicester, who displayed some impressive ball movement. An unfortunate technical on Harry Merrifield sent Leicester to the free throw line for 1 point. End to end play followed with both teams making shots at either end and it seemed Leicester had found an answer to the Eagles defence, and they closed the gap on the Eagles to 7 points. Harry Merrifield broke the Leicester run with 5 minutes left to play. Arran Dower was sent to the free throw line to add 2 more to his tally and the Eagles found their grove once again so Leicester called a time out. Leo Glaholm was next on the scoresheet for the Eagles with 2 quick baskets followed by another from Lewis Pinnock and again a timeout was called. The Eagles came back out on court more determined to keep their lead. Leicester were unable to take advantage of their trip to the free throw line and the Eagles headed back down the court. With Leicester in foul trouble Harry Merrifield found himself on the free throw line again where he took full advantage and the game ended 45 – 61 to the Eagles.
The boys have next week off from National League duty due to their participation in the Basketball England Aspire programme. For their next game they will welcome the Birmingham Rickets to the Vertu Motors Arena on Wednesday 22nd February and then travel away to meet the, so far, unbeaten Manchester Magic on Sunday 26th February.