Date Time League Season
March 15, 2024 7:30 pm Men's Championship 2023-24

Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles cannot afford to dwell on the bitter disappointment of Wednesday’s European exit, with domestic hoops now the sole focus.

That’s the pragmatic verdict of head coach Marc Steutel, who insists his beaten but unbowed men in black will not allow overtime defeat in Denmark to affect tonight’s homecourt showdown with Sheffield Sharks.

Atiba Lyons’ men head north hoping to capitalise on the sense of frustration coursing through the Newcastle camp in the wake of a cruel 96-92 loss to Bakken Bears.

Defeat against Danish side Bakken Bears ended Eagles European dreams. (Photos: Gary Forster)

But Steutel is tipping his warrior Eagles to bite the bullet and fight back on the road to the British Basketball League playoffs.

“We’ve got nine league games left now and we have to make sure that that’s our sole focus,” said Newcastle’s playcaller.

“It’s a really difficult period with the volume of fixtures and the congestion this month but we have to make sure that we’re locked in.

“It’s about trying to win every single game that’s in front of us, get to the end of the regular season and look at where we’re at for the playoff spots.”

Newcastle arrived back on Tyneside yesterday after four days in Scandinavia and with little time to lick their wounds.

A win in regulation time at the reigning Danish champions forced a thrilling two-legged European North Basketball League quarter-final tie into overtime.

But the fact that there was no reward for one of the biggest results in Eagles franchise history — after the Bears roared back in the additional period — has left a bitter taste in Steutel’s mouth.

“It wasn’t to be and I’m extremely disappointed that we couldn’t grind out the win,” he added. “On the other hand, I’m very proud of what the guys achieved over there.

“We move on. After a tough trip abroad, everyone’s looking forward to getting back to the Vertu Motors Arena and taking care of business against Sheffield.

“The Sharks are a dangerous team and a very different team to the one we faced back in October.

“They’ve made some changes to their roster, their home form has really picked up and we know we’ll be in for a typically tough test.

“I think they’ve discovered their identity at just the right time and they’re a disruptive team defensively.

“So much of what they do offensively still goes through Bennett Koch and so we have to make sure our defence is at the right level.

“With the right focus and purpose I’m convinced we can get back to winning ways.”

Despite Newcastle’s heartbreaking exit before the final fours stage of their inaugural European campaign, Steutel is adamant that the ENBL has been a positive experience.

Last time out at the Vertu Motors Arena Eagles beat Manchester Giants 109-77 in the league. (Photos: Gary Forster)

Looking beyond this week’s loss — and back on a campaign stacked with highlights — he added: “I think I’ll probably take a bit more time to reflect fully on the impact of the European adventure.

“It’s definitely been a positive for our programme. It’s been a positive for our team and I felt exceptionally proud and privileged to lead our first European campaign.

“We carried ourselves really well, put in some good performances at home and abroad and represented British basketball in the right way.

“We’ve done a good job for our organisation and a good job for the league. Hopefully we’ve gained some credibility overseas with some really big wins and our level of competitiveness.”

Tickets for tonights game against Sheffield Sharks can be found at the Box Office.