Sheffield Sharks 66 (17,38,55) (Sanders 18, Gorman 15, Rivers 12)
Newcastle Eagles 80 (20,37,56) (Jackson 18, Toney 17, Moore 16)
Newcastle Eagles finished their build-up to the BBL Trophy Final on Sunday with a 66-80 victory over the Sheffield Sharks at the EIS, Sheffield on Wednesday evening. The victory also increases the Eagles’ lead at the top of the BBL Championship table to six points over the chasing pack. A tight opening quarter saw both teams trading baskets but it was the visitors who held a slender three-point lead at 17-20 going into the second quarter. A 12-4 run for the Sharks allowed them to open up an early 29-24 lead at the start of the second period.
The visitors began to close the gap and a 7-0 burst of their own gave them back the lead at 34-33 however it was the Sharks who took a single point lead at 38-37 into the locker rooms at the half. In the second half, both teams continued to trade baskets as neither side could establish a lead of more than two points before the Eagles bagged five points without reply to take the score out to 49-54. The Sharks were not to be outdone however as they stayed in touch with their opponents thanks to netting six of the last eight points in the third quarter to trail by a single point at 55-56 going into the final stanza. In the final period the Eagles led 57-58 after the opening exchanges before they broke the game open with a 9-0 tear to take the score out to 57-67 midway through the period.
The Sharks tried valiantly to re-establish themselves in the game but the Eagles ended their resilence with a further 7-0 run towards the closing stages of the game to take the score out to 62-78 and they held on for the all-important victory. Reggie Jackson led the scoring for the Eagles with 18 points, while Chris Sanders led the Sharks scoring with 18 points as well.