As they prepare to face Surrey Heat this weekend, Newcastle Eagles guard Joe Chapman is looking for his side to replicate their performance in their BBL Championship play-off games against One Health Sharks Sheffield.
The Eagles reached the last four for the ninth straight season with a 169-151 aggregate victory against the Sharks, winning the first leg 85-70 at home before wrapping things up with an 84-81 road win on Monday.
“I think we played really well as a team” said Chapman. “We were aggressive and came out with the right attitude and energy, and we did what we needed to do.”
Chapman had admitted that he didn’t want to play on the “blue court” at the English Institute of Sport, but was pleased with how the Eagles performed on Monday: “What really helped us was playing there the week before. It gave us a grasp of playing there.
“Everyone played well for us which we needed as they came out aggressively and pressed, but we showed composure and make playing in every position.”
Chapman is now excited about Heat visiting Sport Central on Friday before the travelling to Surrey on Sunday evening: “I’m looking forward to playing them. We won the series 2-1 but they beat us at home last time, and we have that in our minds.
“The Holmes brothers [Chavis and Travis] are playing really well at the moment, and the other Holmes – Frank – is also having a great season.
“They have a good coach in Creon Raftopoulos and a great system. They’re playing really well at the moment and it’ll be a challenge to ensure that we play at a pace that suites us.”
Having failed to add any silverware this season after a clean sweep of BBL honours in 2011/12, Chapman is looking to end the season on a high: “It’s crazy that we’re all healthy right at the end of the season after all we’ve been through, but it’s the right time of year as we want to be the last team standing.
“In a sense we want to save our season by winning the play-offs. We’ve reached a Cup final and come up just short and injuries cost us in the regular season and the Trophy, so this matter a lot to us.”
Friday’s game at Sport Central and Sunday’s at Surrey Sports Park both tip off at 7.30pm. The winner on aggregate will proceed to the final at Wembley Arena on Sunday April 28.