Newcastle Eagles 92 (Smith 30, Maddox 29, Defoe 18)
Cheshire Phoenix 94 (Marks 31, Gumbs 28, Bland 18)
Cheshire Phoenix moved themselves into joint eighth position in the BBL Championship table thanks to a thrilling 92-94 victory over the Newcastle Eagles at Sport Central on Friday night.
The result means that the Eagles slip down to second place in the table.
With the Eagles leading 90-84 with less than two minutes remaining, the Phoenix got themselves right back into the contest as they tied the game up at 92-92 off the back of an 8-2 burst. The Eagles had possession of the ball with 10 seconds remaining, but a Joe Chapman turnover put the ball into Chez Marks’s hands and the Phoenix man laid the ball in on the buzzer to hand Cheshire the thrilling victory.
Earlier in the game, both sides traded baskets throughout much of the first quarter, but a Charles Smith three-pointer saw the home side take a slender one-point lead at 21-20 at the end of the opening quarter.
In the second period, both sides continued to trade baskets throughout the quarter and despite the best efforts of the Eagles to open up a significant advantage, the Phoenix were not to be outdone as they kept themselves in the contest and only trailed by two points at 46-44 as the teams headed into the locker rooms at the half.
In the second half, the visitors began to take advantage of some uncharacteristic play by the Eagles as they slowly got themselves in front as the third period drew to a close and Cheshire saw their lead at four points at 66-70 heading into the final stanza.
In the final quarter, the Eagles got themselves back into the contest, and big baskets from Kareem Maddox and Darius Defoe helped the Eagles into a 81-78 lead midway through the final quarter. The Eagles maintained their advantage for the remainder of the quarter up until the fireworks of the closing stages that saw the visitors overturn the deficit in thrilling fashion.
30 points from Smith was a bright spot for the Eagles in the defeat, but it was Marks’s (pictured) 31 points, including the winning basket, that lead all scorers on the night in the victory for the Phoenix.