Comments from Fab Flournoy, Rahmon Fletcher, Drew Lasker, Rob Paternostro and Drew Sullivan after Esh Group Eagles Newcastle beat Leicester Riders 94-82 in the 2016 BBL Cup Final at Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Sunday.
Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy:
“It’s what everyone wanted, regardless of the win, everyone wanted to see what would happen between ourselves and Leicester.
“I think there is another level for ourselves and Leicester to go to. It was a huge learning curve for both teams because we hadn’t played each other. It came down to tactics, it came down to making sure that everyone was prepared and knew their assignments. Neither ourselves nor Leicester were going to run away with it, it just wasn’t going to happen.
“It was probably the most intense Final, that I have been a part of in the past 10 years.”
Esh Group Eagles guard and BBL Cup Final MVP Rahmon Fletcher:
“They are a tough team. They were well prepared for us and I think it says a lot about us that we had our back against the wall and we knew that we could play much better. We knew that we took their best shot in the first half and like Fab said, in the fourth quarter, we just had to step on their throat.”
Eagles guard Drew Lasker
“Tonight was a great representation for British basketball, you had two great teams going up against each other and pushing each other. It was a game of runs and we were able to make the last push and ultimately win the game, and I think it says a lot about our team that there’s no quit.
“We have won all different types of games, we have been down, we have had comfortable wins, and I think our journey in the Cup prepared us for this moment.
“We never panicked. We just played our style of basketball because we knew there was no way we could play worse than we did in the first half.”
Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro:
“For two-and-a-half quarters we were in good shape. We shut off a little bit defensively, gave them some open looks and they got on a roll.
“We allowed too much penetration to the basket, you can make mistakes in games and they have got to make shots, and they did make the shots. When we made a few defensive mistakes they punished us, by making the shots from the outside.
“I don’t think we expected that when we had that lead, that we were going to run away with it. All great teams, in championship games, are going to make a run at you.”
Riders forward Drew Sullivan:
“From a personal standpoint it was frustrating, not so much the loss, but more the way we conceded it in the second half.
“Not taking anything away from Newcastle, they are the standard in this league, but some of the mistakes we made in the second half allowed them to chip away at the lead.
“I take my hat off to them, they stuck to their game plan for the full 40 minutes and, as a group, we have to learn that is how you win championships.”