Fab Flournoy has hailed the superb 105-75 win over Cheshire Jets that booked the Eagles their place in a staggering fourth successive BBL Trophy Final. After losing their grip on the Trophy last season against Plymouth, they will have to travel to Devon and the Raiders’ home-court on Sunday, March 2, but it will be Guildford who they will face after the Heat defeated Worcester in the other semi-final.
It was a magnificent effort by Flournoy and his players, completely blowing the Jets away from the outset with a mesmerising 38-11 first quarter while Bensham youngster Will Spragg rounded off a great night with a superb cameo. He executed one particular cheeky crossover move that left BBL player of the month Jayzon Obazuaye trailing in his wake much to the delight of the travelling Eagles support.
‘I am so pleased to have got to another final and it will be a real good one against a team that has played in Europe this year in Guildford’ explained Flournoy. ‘We knew that Cheshire had beaten a number of teams in the last few weeks to get into the semi-final and we knew that we couldn’t afford to take them lightly and we had to be ready and prepared from start to finish.’
‘We certainly showed that we were and I am very happy with our performance and all of the players as we worked hard on our defensive assignments and never took our foot off the gas.’
Much of the drive behind the performance may well have come from the fact that Eagles legend TJ Walker, Flournoy’s former trusty lieutenant had just left his player-coach role at the Jets after an alleged fall-out.
While the Eagles needed little extra motivation, it did seem that there was an extra determination to really pile on the agony for the Jets as there was no letting up – even when 30 points ahead.
The real bonus for Flournoy was that Jeremy Hyatt was back on song, looking fitter and clearly having benefited from the recent break while new signing Steve Leven watched with interest from the sidelines with Flournoy excited about his new recruit.
‘I am very hopeful that Steven can bring a lot to us from both on and also off the court which is hugely important,’ he said. ‘His presence can raise competition and give us an impetus for the rest of the season while it is great that there is no pressure on him because we have enough spare not to have to rush him or expect too much.’
However Flournoy was quick to temper the excitement at the prospect of making amends for their Cup Final defeat against the Lions by warning that a potential scare lies in wait this weekend when it is back to league action.
‘It’s looking good but next weekend will be a big challenge for us when we have to face the two beaten semi-finalists in the league in Worcester and especially Cheshire who will be out for revenge.’
EAGLES: Hyatt 21, Smith 19, Defoe 18
CHESHIRE: Obazuaye 26, Hamilton 20, Otten 19