Quite where this latest disappointing defeat on the road in Glasgow leaves the Newcastle Eagles, only Head Coach Marc Steutel and his players can tell.
Another opportunity to get a much-needed win was within their grasp only for a late Gladiators charge to wrench it away leaving the Eagles with yet another notch in the L column.
They say winning is an infectious habit that breeds happiness and success. The converse is also infectious and gets into your mind spreading doubt and despair. Certainly, this Eagles team has talent but at the moment not the ability to turn that to wins.
Yet after a titanic battle through three quarters, the visiting Eagles seemed to have finally made a breakthrough that would and perhaps should have brought them that win they so craved.
Ben Mockford’s and-1 play with 07:29 to go in a tough, tough game suddenly had the visitors ten points in front at 71 – 61 and Caledonia forced to call a time-out to talk things over.
What happened following that time-out was either a masterclass of coaching from The Gladiators Gareth Murray or a ‘heads-gone’ moment from an Eagles side that just doesn’t seem to be able to buy a win at present.
The run to the finish saw a home side that had been well controlled by a much better defensive display from Newcastle than in recent weeks through off the shackles in sensational style and ultimately close out a game they hadn’t looked like winning.
Newcastle had the better of the early going as a seven-point run gave them a five-point lead. Caledonia called time-out and came back well to level the game at 17-points all after the first ten minutes.
In the second there was never more than four points between the two sides throughout. Newcastle though just holding the upper hand with Captain Darius Defoe the spark from the bench and Javion Hamlet joining him in double-figures as they headed to the locker rooms leading 40 – 36.
Into the second half and Eagles went up by eight at one point but Gladiators never went away and the excellent Jeremiah Bailey who was a thorn in the Eagles side all night helped his side to get within three at the end of the third period.
A Patrick Tape bucket to open the final period cut the gap to one before Kyle Johnson scored his only six points of the game in an 11 – 2 burst that gave Newcastle that ten point lead and forced Caledonia into that final decisive time-out and fired the comeback.
It was a 20 – 6 devastating finish to the game from Caledonia that saw them get up to the line and then go through it, over it, under it and around it and send The Eagles home to think again.
That thinking needs to be long, hard and deep as once again Marc Steutel and his men face some soul-searching before the high-flying Leicester Riders come to the Vertu Motors Arena this Friday for another BBL Championship clash.
Eagles know how tough that will be. Leicester’s last win was a massive 33-point victory over the same Caledonia outfit that condemned Newcastle to last night’s latest defeat in a season where already they are struggling to make the play-offs.
Tickets for the Eagles home game this Friday are still available from the box office.