Eagles U16 Boys swoop into next round of the Cup
Newcastle Eagles U16 boys celebrated moving into the next round of the Cup on Sunday afternoon with a hard-fought 80-64 success against their namesakes York Eagles.
The margin of victory was flattering for the hosts who to their credit, did find another gear in the latter stages, but had been pushed hard by the impressive visitors.
It was York who held the upper hand by far in the opening stages, restricting the Eagles to just two points for the first six minutes or so and capitalising on a flurry of home turnovers.
With the Eagles giving up too many middle buckets at the other end, it was hard going, although they did reduce a double-digit deficit to trail by just 22-20 heading into the second period.
The Eagles then improved by shoring up their soft centre defensively and also took better care of the ball. Yet York continued to cause problems and made the most of the home team being in foul trouble.
By the time the players headed to the locker room at the break, the Eagles held a slender 40-37 advantage. It was déjà vu when the play resumed as nothing much changed in the third quarter, with Newcastle only a point ahead going into the final 10 minutes.
However, with the fouls mounting up for York too and a couple of their leading ballers subsequently fouling out, the Eagles’ depth and quality showed through as they put their foot on the gas in the last seven minutes.
Led by some superb defence on the ball by Alex Cisse, some great aggressive rebounding by Massimo McGuire and some good hands and transition scores down the stretch by Leo Degnen-Potter, they eased away to the victory.
Jakub Bobkowski led the scoring with 17 points, while Jesse Osarenkhoe had a 12-point and 12-rebound double-double.
Head Coach Chloe Gaynor had mixed feelings after the final buzzer and said: “I feel that our first half was probably the least consistent or focused we have played this season which was disappointing as we didn’t take care of the ball and gave up lots of middle scores.
“I challenged the team to respond in the second half and they did that, which helped them to reach one of their goals for the season. As a group of players, they set some of their own SMART objectives and one of those was to get past the first two rounds of the Cup.
“It’s always good to win at home and it was another learning experience for us all. Now we have to work on getting better starts in games because we can’t keep giving ourselves a hill to climb.”