HO-HO-HO IT’s OFF TO BIRMINGHAM WE GO !
BBL Cup Semi-Final, Second Leg
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 85 (17,41,63) (Jones 21, Defoe 15, Smith 14)
Sheffield Sharks 76 (21,43,61) (Babalola 20, Horstmann 15, Lewis 14)
Eagles win 162-151 on aggregate.
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle have made it to a fourth consecutive BBL Cup Final after over-powering Sheffield Sharks 85-76 in the North East in the second leg of their semi-final clash. The Eagles remain unbeaten in all competitions since the opening night of the season, a run spanning 14 games. But it’s disappointment once more for the Sharks, as they are knocked out at the semi-final stage for the third straight season.
But for much of this second leg the teams were separated by only one shot, in a typically tense game between two sides with great Cup legacies. BJ Holmes wiped out Newcastle’s two-point first leg advantage when he hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the first quarter for a 17-21 Sheffield lead.
And they held that through to the second half, with the teams tied on aggregate at the half way point of this game. That was until a 6-2 start to the third quarter put Newcastle back in the driving seat behind Andre Jones, who scored 21 points on the night to lead all scorers.
Newcastle took a 63-61 lead into the fourth quarter, and scored the first five points of the decisive period to give themselves a cushion down the stretch. Jones’s three-pointer kept the visitors at arm’s length, and the Eagles ended up booking their place at the NIA in Birmingham with a double-digit aggregate margin.
They will face either Bristol Flyers or Glasgow Rocks in the final, seeking to regain the title that they last won in 2012.