Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles’ celebrations at the end of their titanic Women’s British Basketball League Playoff quarter final victory over Sheffield gave a real insight into the togetherness of the squad.

The 71 – 69 victory was perhaps the surprise result of either of the women’s and men’s first round playoff series with Newcastle having lost both regular season games against the Hatters and won six games fewer.

It also was a testament to the way the players have bought into the ethos of Head Coach Matt Newby’s coaching philosophies and demands as the proud play caller gave his after match thoughts.

“There was a number of things that occurred throughout the game that changed the rhythm of the game. Some of that was our own performance and some of that as you’d expect with a Sheffield team turning up the physicality.”

“Some of it was just the moment, the mood and the mode. I think we showed more composure than we have in any game when it was on the line. With Sheffield they’re never going to go away.”

“They’re one of those teams that could be really not so strong in two-thirds of the game and then just bury you in the last third. I think we got the scout really right for the most part.”

“We kind of fought through the error and came out on top.”

The Eagles made a superb start to the game in the first quarter and then had to weather a real Hatters comeback in the second but were four points up going into the locker rooms. Newby explained what he considered after the first two quarters.

“Sheffield made a couple of adjustments in the second quarter. For the most part they ramped up the physicality and they took a few of the actions away which you’d expect from Vanessa (Ellis).”

“She’s a pedigree coach. She’ll mix it up and make it hard for you. That broke our rhythm and we really didn’t go in a definitive direction. I should have probably given more steer in the time-out in the second quarter and looked for something different.”

“That’s what the story of the first half was and we did do things differently in the second half.”

That second half was an amazing game of basketball that really could have gone either way but thankfully after a real tightly fought hard competitive game it was Newby’s side that took the W.

“Hopefully people appreciated that there was two really well balanced teams, really well recruited teams going at it. Vanessa’s resume stands for itself. Its like a game of chess when you’re coaching against her.”

“It was recognition of that as she changed the game for her players and we had to find solutions. We found a couple of solutions and then really it was a game determined by two gritty cohorts of players who wanted to get to the semi-finals.”

Obviously in Newcastle and Newby’s case it was perhaps his Eagles players that wanted it just a touch more and came through in a tense frenetic dramatic finish. It means they move on to the semi-final against Caledonia Gladiators.

“It feels great to have another week of practice and another game to play. We actually booked practice in! The playoffs is a 120 minutes for us and we’ve just closed out on forty.”

“The next 40 could give us a berth at The O2. It will be the most difficult basketball game of the season.”

It is though a game where they’ll start level and will give everything they have to try and extend the season by another week and get to the playoffs. The team’s response to what Newby has asked them to do has got them to this point and given them a chance.

“First and foremost, you don’t go in any direction unless you invest in each other. I’m very fortunate that the girls have vested in what I’m saying and I’m fully vested in them. I think the outputs and outcomes speak for themselves.”

“We’ll see where it goes next. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Its going to be a significant challenge to go up and make a game of it with that roster they’ve got.”

“But the one thing we’re proving is that we’re levelling up, we’re closing the gap that was initially there when I arrived and we’ll see how it plays out.”

The Eagles did lose both regular season encounters with The Gladiators In the second game of the regular season they lost 49 – 90 at home and then right before the four-game winning streak they’re currently on they lost 90 – 58 in Scotland.

It shows the enormity of the task ahead. But this is playoff basketball and playoff basketball no matter where you’re based is littered with surprise results and outcomes. The Eagles under Matt Newby will be looking to add another on Sunday.