Sheffield Sharks2120191070Loss

It would be easy to say this was a game all about the final quarter and the magnificent performance the Newcastle Eagles produced in the last ten minutes of a pulsating basketball game.

But, the three quarters that went before had a lot to do with the platform set for that final huge effort from the home side. Those three quarters saw the two close rivals battle it out for supremacy with neither a quarter given nor an inch taken.

Watch full highlights of Eagles vs Sharks:


The two coaches, Eagles Marc Steutel and Sharks Atiba Lyons, produced line-ups and plays that cancelled each other out during a war of attrition in the first thirty minutes. Both searching for that final five that would ultimately give them the edge.

In the end it was Newcastle that found the magic mix that took them to within two games of Sheffield who currently hold the eight play-off spot and the Eagles have two games in hand.

Watch game MVP Kyle Johnson's 24-points highlights:


Going into the last ten minutes of play Sharks held a two point lead at 60 – 58 twice they increased that to four points inside the final period until at 64 – 60 down, Newcastle made the decisive run.


Point guard David Cohn led the game in assists almost hitting double figures with 9 dished to our Eagles as they took the ‘W’. (Photo and Featured Image: Gary Foster)

Before that there had been no more than six points between the two sides in the first three periods of play. The first quarter was level at 21 – 21 with neither side being more than three points in front and each giving as good as they got.

The second actually saw Sheffield take a 29 – 23 lead at one stage. Their biggest lead of the night but Newcastle hit back and by the end of the half had nudged in front at 43 – 41.

At this stage Javion Hamlet, the league’s leading scorer, already had 19 points with teammate Kyle Jonson on 15. Sharks had Kipper Nichols in good form and their backcourt combination of Sa’eed Nelson and Devearl Ramsey causing Newcastle problems.

Javion Hamlet put 19 points past the Sharks defence. (Photo: Dave Moore)

Eagles twice led by four in the early stages of the third but Sheffield stayed with them all the way and in the end took the quarter 19 – 15 to give them that advantage and set-up the final period.

What happened next was a surprise to virtually everyone in the Arena. With Sharks ahead by four the Eagles inspired by Ben Mockford’s 13-point turned the screw and blew the visitors away.

Mockford hadn’t scored in the previous three quarters. Justin Gordon had zero points at the half but offensively they were the two that sparked the runs that took Newcastle to a massive win along with Johnson who kept scoring to finish with a game-high 24 points.

Watch Ben Mockford's game highlights:


However, where the game was really won was at the opposite end. Darius Defoe despite being on four personal fouls was the rock on which the Eagles defence was built. He stood firm playing a superb Captain’s role and inspiring his teammates.

From the defensive stands that Defoe inspired the Eagles confidence grew and grew and as is often said great defence makes offensive scoring that much easier. That was certainly the case for Newcastle.

Kyle Johnson took the game MVP title with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. (Photo: Dave Moore)

Two unanswered runs made the difference. The first when Mockford got going saw Newcastle score 13 before Sheffield stopped it and then another 7 without reply sealed the deal for Newcastle.

Sharks were shell-shocked and completely stunned as the final margin of 84 – 70 netted the Eagles two valuable league points in their quest for a play-off place.