BBL Trophy Group 1
Durham Wildcats 66 (13,28,46) (Defoe 23, Thomson 14, Smith 12)
Newcastle Eagles 88 (21,35,67) (Bucci 23, Hinnenkamp 18, Capocci 6)
The Durham Wildcats began their inaugral season in the BBL in high spirits on Saturday night, but could not give the partizan crowd at the Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre the victory they so desired as their northern rivals, the Newcastle Eagles, ran out comfortable 66-88 victors to secure their second BBL Trophy victory in as many days.
The Eagles started strongly in the opening quarter and leapt out to an early lead but they could not shake off a resilient Wildcats outfit as the home side trailed by just eight points at 13-21 at the end of the opening quarter.
In the second period the home side began to establish a bit of a rhythm helped in no small part by the shooting of Fred Hinnenkamp and Ralph Bucci as they helped the Wildcats close the gap on their more illustrious opponents to just seven points at 28-35 heading into the locker rooms at the half.
In the second half, the Eagles had obviously been rattled by Coach Flournoy’s team-talk as they stormed out of the blocks in the third quarter and extended the lead significantly through some strong post-play from Darius Defoe which the home side struggled to cope with and this saw the visitors extended their lead to 46-67 heading into the final stanza.
In the final period both sides traded baskets throughout the majority of the quarter with the Eagles keeping their noses in front as they held on for the impressive victory.
Defoe (pictured) was the main man for the Eagles as he ended his evening with a team-high 23 point haul, while Bucci demonstrated that he was going to be a handful in the BBL as he bagged 23 points for the home side.