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A Quade Green masterclass silenced the Vertu Motors Arena as border raiders Caledonia Gladiators fought for a hard-earned win on Tyneside.

Gritty Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles battled back from a slow start to establish a winning position heading into the fourth quarter of a typically feisty affair.

But MVP Green — who bagged 32 points — simply wouldn’t go away and it was the former Kentucky Wildcat who finished the game-winning play with less than a minute on the clock.

Gladiators Quade Green scored 32 points. (Photos: Gary Forster)

Gladiators’ star man claimed his second steal of the night before drawing an unsportsmanlike foul in transition.

And Green stayed cool from the bonus stripe to fire his side 84-81 ahead with 56 seconds on the clock.

Caledonia stayed perfect from the free throw line thereafter to seal a famous win and just about secure third spot heading into the post-season.

Gareth Murray’s men looked like a team that meant business from the tip as the Scots raced into a 27-16 first quarter lead.

But Newcastle dominated the next 20 minutes of a British Basketball League thriller — outscoring short-handed Gladiators 48-34 and setting up a grandstand finish in front of another full house.

Rickey McGill and Jordan Johnson combined for 43 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds as the electric guards led Caledonia’s defence a merry dance.

Jordan Johnson scored 19 points and assisted 8 times against his former club. (Photos: Gary Forster)

And the latter looked back to his incisive best after shrugging off an ankle injury to torment his former team.

JJ hit seven from seven from the free throw line as he continually sought a clear route to the basket through Gladiators’ robust defence.

And McGill stole the ball five times as the hosts ramped up the pressure on their rivals in possession.

But Murray’s men ensured a physical affair was also a mental battle — back and forth verbals between both sets of players adding to a sense that there’s no love lost between two competitive rosters.

And words were exchanged right up until the final buzzer before Caledonia — and Quade Green — claimed the last laugh.

A clear positive for coach Steutel was the contribution of Malcolm Delpeche as the dual national claimed 15 points and four offensive rebounds in just 16 minutes.

And if the highly rated forward can maintain that level of performance heading into the post-season then it adds a key dimension to Newcastle’s attacking threat.

But Delpeche stood alone in terms of packing the stat sheet off the bench with neither Devin Whitfield nor Scott Spencer able to impact a physical affair on offence.

And the absence of Will Neighbour is another worry with the veteran big man’s three-point threat and power in the paint a big miss against the Gladiators.

The Eagles have five regular season games remaining — three of which are against sides in the league’s bottom four.

Eagles Men will be hoping to close down on 4th spot in their upcoming games. (Photos: Gary Forster)

But the top four fate of Steutel’s men could well rest on the outcome of results against Leicester and second-placed Cheshire Phoenix (April 19).

It now looks like Newcastle are locked in a three-horse race for fourth place alongside fierce rivals Sheffield Sharks and the Riders.

And Sunday’s trip to Leicester suddenly takes on even greater significance given that Sheffield has already clinched the league series against the Eagles.

Rob Paternostro’s Riders hold a 2-1 lead over Newcastle in the Championship this season and a third win for the East Midlanders could be costly.

But the Eagles have remained competitive throughout a difficult March and it would be foolish to bet against a roster fully focused on reaching May’s playoff final — even if they have to find a way past Green and the Gladiators in the post-season.