The Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles made it four wins in a week with a superb hard-fought road win in Plymouth on Friday night. Marc Steutel’s high-flying soaring Eagles swooping in for the kill in a tight encounter with an excellent last quarter finish.

For thirty pulsating fiercely contested minutes through the first three quarters there’s was little to choose between the sides. But The Patriots got into foul trouble early in the final ten minutes and Newcastle had the coolness to ice the game from the charity stripe.

Once again it was the “Three-Headed Snake” of Rickey McGill, returning to haunt his old Club, Larry Austin Jr and Jordan Johnson leading the way and continually striking at their opponent’s heart.

Larry Austin Jr. scored 18 points against Patriots. (Photos: Plymouth City Patriots)

There was also an excellent supporting role from Captain Darius Defoe who was restored to the roster after being rested for the midweek European North Basketball League win over Zielona Gora.

A decision fully justified as Defoe led by example and showed all the experience and defensive know-how his side needed when it most mattered.

A tight opening to the game was interrupted by a home side that had only won four British Basketball League games all season. A 9 – 0 run taking them eight points ahead at 16 points to 8.

The Eagles still trailed 22 – 14 but ended the quarter in fine style with an 8 – 2 burst that included triples off Johnson and from the bench, Josh Ward-Hibbert, to end the first period only trailing by 24 – 22.

The second quarter saw Newcastle ever so slightly in the ascendancy when from 35 – 34 they produced a six-point burst that gave them the biggest lead of the period. Patriots levelled the scores but two McGill free-throws gave Newcastle a narrow two-point half time lead at 42 to 40.

If the second period had been tight then the third was even tighter as both sides traded blows and never let the other gain a significant advantage. The combatants both had their runs but neither side led by more than 4 points in the quarter.

It meant a tied ball game at 65 points each as the final stanza opened. It was then that the Eagles found that extra defensive intensity and drive to show their determination and desire to keep their fine recent run going.

They forced the home side into foul trouble and although the game continued to be tight they had forced Plymouth into the penalty situation early and had the knowledge that fouls were going to send them to the free-throw line.

With the game delicately poised at 74 points all Newcastle attacked the Patriots basket inside the last five minutes and a 10 – 2 run including and1 3-point plays by McGill and Johnson finally broke the game open for the Eagles.

McGill’s floater almost on the buzzer confirming the final margin of victory that was also the biggest lead of the night and gave Newcastle a very tough but in the end richly deserved win.

Darius Defoe led the side to a fourth straight victory. (Photos: Plymouth City Patriots)

McGill was superb on his old stamping ground and at times impossible for Plymouth to guard. His game-high 27 points including 14 of 16 from the free-throw line. He also had 4 assists and 3 steals.

His main support came from Austin Jr who netted 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals,  Defoe 14 points and Johnson 11 points, 4 rebounds and an excellent 9 assists.

So, heading into the international break The Eagles still sit in fifth place in the Championship but have improved their record to 14 wins and 11 loses and are now only two points behind second-placed Cheshire in the overall League standings.