Newcastle Eagles travel to Cheshire this afternoon to take on the Phoenix looking to make it a double-winning weekend after their fantastic win over London Lions on Friday.
It was a superb all-round performance to take down the title favourite Lions side 96 – 84 and should send the Eagles into today’s game in good heart and full of confidence. A win in Cheshire will certainly show that Friday’s game was not a one-off and that perhaps Newcastle are finally free of all their early season woes and issues.
Whilst everyone played their part on Friday there’s no doubting that the MVP performance came from point guard, on-court general and Captain Rahmon Fletcher. He had 25 points, a career-high 17 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals to lead his side to victory from the front.
“A satisfying win especially after the ups and downs we’ve had this season. It felt good to play the way we did. We executed well both on offence and defence. We forced them into a lot of turnovers which is uncharacteristic for them.”
“It’s something that we can hang our hat on and build towards for the rest of the season. We showed our real potential tonight but we also have to look back at the games where we didn’t. Those learning things that help us to grow.”
“Every game is a learning experience for this group especially with the huge turnover of personnel we had in the summer. This was a more of a win for the new guys to show them what we’ve been talking about and what we’re trying to implement and that it works.”
The Eagles had gone into the game as underdogs even on their own court given the way Lions have played so far this season and the depth and quality with the London roster. But, when you have the likes of Fletcher and Darius Defoe (18 points, 8 rebounds) in the side they can match up with anyone.
Particularly when the huge Vertu Motors Arena fanbase gets behind them and creates the type of atmosphere evident on Friday night.
“The crowd was behind us from the team introductions and it’s good because it’s something that we missed last year. It’s been a really good crowd for the last couple of months. Something that we can feed off and use to build.”
“When we have support like that behind us with support on the court and off the court it brings us nothing but positive things. Everyone played their part and responded and it starts with the coaching staff.”
“If you’d seen our practices all week and seen how we were you wouldn’t be surprised. We competed, we talked. We had small conversations with the players, with the coaching staff. So, what we did was turn a really good week of practice into our game tonight and it showed.”
The veteran point guard was certainly right on the money in his own personal performance although he, as always, played it down and preferred to talk about the team.
“For me it’s just one of those things. I can only take what the defence gives me. If they give me points I take them if they give me assists I take them. I know I have to play well but what is playing well? Is it about defence, is it about passing is it about shooting?”
“In this game I knew I had to give a little bit of everything and for me personally I felt I needed to do that for the team which is what is important.”
Fletcher though knows that a win like this needs to be validated and that hopefully can be achieved with a win in Cheshire this afternoon.
“If this had been a Sunday game or a final we could have celebrated but typical BBL scheduling we’ve got to get ready for another game on Sunday at Cheshire. That’s a tough game because they have a very good team so we have to be ready.”
“They’ve got GB internationals, players used to winning in The BBL, they have a good coach and coaching staff and a system that works for them. They’re going to have a good crowd behind them as well. We’ve just got to be ready to roll from the jump”
“But we have confidence going into the game which we need and we’re looking forward to the challenge and the game.”
Fan can watch live on the BBL Player and follow our social media updates throughout the game.