BBL Cup Semi-final, Second leg
Everton Tigers 97 (24,47,76) (Smith 30, Gross J. 21, Midgley 16)
Newcastle Eagles 86 (20,43,67) (Smith 21, Moore 20, Stewart 16)
Everton Tigers will meet the Airwaves Plymouth Raiders in the BBL Cup Final on Sunday 18 January 2009 at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham after the Tigers overturned a seven-point deficit from the first leg to win 202-198 on aggregate thanks to a 97-86 victory at the Greenbank Sports Academy on Friday night.
Trailing by seven points (105-112) after the first leg, the Tigers opened with the first nine points of the game, but the Eagles responded almost immediately with a 12-2 burst of their own to take a slender 19-20 lead towards the end of the opening quarter. A 10-0 cross- quarter tear from the home side however gave Everton the lead back at 29- 20, but another 13-2 response from the Eagles gave them the lead again at 31-33. Both sides traded baskets for the remainder of the half, and a pair of free-throws from Newcastle’s Charles Smith tied the game at 43-43 with a minute remaining in the half. Richard Midgley sunk a pair of free-throws for the Tigers to give them a 45-43 lead that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Olu Babalola netted the final basket of the half to give the home side a 47-43 advantage going in at the half. In the second half, the Tigers broke the game open with a 14-5 burst to take the score out to 70-56. The visitors attempted to get themselves back into the game, and trimmed the deficit to nine points at 76-67 going into the final stanza.
The Eagles continued to press in the final quarter, and a 10-4 run midway through it bought the score back to 87-79, but that was as close as Newcastle could get as the Tigers ran out eventual winners and booked their first ever BBL Cup Final berth. Andre Smith led all scorers in the game with an impressive 30-point haul for the Tigers, while Charles Smith led the Eagles scoring with 21 points.