BBL Championship Play-off Semi-Final, Second Leg
Newcastle Eagles 79 (20,36,58) (Stewart 17, Smith 15, Chapman 14)
Everton Tigers 95 (21,41,67) (Babalola 24, Gumbs 17, Jones 16)
Everton Tigers are the first team through to the BBL play-offs final after comprehensively seeing off regular season title winners Newcastle Eagles 190-158 on aggregate.
Tony Garbelotto’s men repeated their 95-79 victory on Friday in another excellent display. Former Eagles forward Olu Babalola (pictured) led all scorers with 24 points for Everton and he received great support from Jerome Gumbs (17 points) and James Jones (16 points).
Newcastle had needed to put the pressure on Tigers from the start but the largest lead they could muster was 15-11. The final time they led was 28-27 midway through the second quarter. After that it was all Everton as they put together a 12-2 burst to blow open the match.
Eagles led for the majority of the first quarter with Lynard Stewart’s bucket making it 15-11. A 10-5 close to the period, including threes from Jones and last season’s MVP with the Eagles Trey Moore, gave Tigers a 20-21 lead.
After the break Jones continued to cause problems from beyond the arc as Eagles own three-point attempts fell off target. His second triple of the quarter made it 31-41 before Eagles trimmed the gap to 36-41 at half time.
Tigers extended their advantage to 45-59 late in the third, which gave them a huge overall margin of 30 points. A Kevin Bell three on the third quarter buzzer gave Everton a 58-67 lead.
There was no way back for Newcastle in the final stanza as Tigers’ advantage on the night only slipped below double-digits twice. Their lead peaked at 76-95 before Stewart ended the Eagles season with a three point shot – only their seventh in 29 attempts.