BBL Play-Off Quarter Finals (Second Leg)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 92 (24,42,67) (Martin 22, Smith 21, Defoe 19)
Bristol Flyers 80 (23,39,61) (Seilund 17, McLaughlin-Williams 16, Stewart 15)
(Eagles win 176-144 on aggregate)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle are still in the hunt for a clean sweep of BBL silverware after progressing to the BBL Play-Off Semi Finals for the eleventh consecutive season, overpowering Bristol Flyers 92-80 at Sport Central, to win 176-144 on aggregate.
The Eagles, who have finished as Play-Off runners-up in each of the last two seasons, have beaten Bristol five times this season and by double-figures on each occasion. But the visiting Flyers had a long way to go to overturn a twenty-point first leg deficit and they showed their intent in the early stages, jumping out to an 8-12 lead on captain Greg Streete’s three-pointer.
That was as good as it would get for them, as Eagles came back and Scott Martin, who led all scorers on the night with 22 points, levelled the game at 16, before the hosts went on an 8-2 push capped by consecutive Darius Defoe scores, to take a 24-23 edge after the opening ten minutes.
And the game stayed tight throughout. The Flyers occasionally led, but just before the half Drew Lasker scored back-to-back baskets and the Eagles took a half time lead at 42-39 that they would not relinquish.
Flyers stayed close on the night, until the closing two minutes, when Martin sparked an 8-0 burst, with Defoe adding four more, to send the lead through double-digits, where it stayed before celebrations among another big crowd in Newcastle.
Eagles will now meet Sheffield Sharks in the Semi Finals, a decade after they won the Play-Offs for the first time, which brought in an era of domination as they won it three times in a row.