Marc Steutel revealed his immense pride in a job well done as Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles moved to within one win of this season’s playoff Final Fours.

Friday’s stunning 97-78 victory at Caledonia Gladiators got the 2024 British Basketball League post-season off to a flier as sixth upset third in style.

Eagles have the advantage as they head to the Vertu Motors Arena on Friday. (Photos: Abbie Orwin)

But Steutel warned against complacency as he predicted an inevitable Gladiators backlash when the two teams lock horns again in Newcastle on Friday.

“Overall we delivered a physical, committed and smart defensive display up there,” said the Eagles’ playcaller.

“There are still some possessions defensively that I want us to clean up in game two.

“But we have to use that level of defence as the foundation and as the base for our future performances.

“We understand that the job is nowhere near done. It’s only half-time, if you like.

“And we understand that Caledonia are going to come out, try to make adjustments and do little things to try and turn the tide.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re ready to react to that. We enjoyed the win on Friday night but now it’s time to mentally reset, mentally refocus and understand the task that’s in front of us.”

A coaching masterclass from Great Britain playcaller Steutel saw the visitors shut down Gladiators’ dangerman Quade Green — restricting the prolific US star to a season-low six points.

In a shock move, Devin Whitfield started the game ahead of Jordan Johnson and that unsettling switch threw the hosts from minute one.

Green felt the full force of a stifling defensive squeeze and never recovered — eventually fouling out down the stretch.

“Quade Green really is integral to what they do,” added Steutel. “Offensively he brings a challenging dynamic to the table.

“As an opponent you have to weather the storm where Green’s concerned but I think that, by going on the front foot, we did more than that.

“Defensively we keyed in on him from the start and I have to give a massive shout out to Devin. He was the first line of defence and put pressure on the ball.

“Josh Ward-Hibbert also deserves credit for coming in, pressing Green and giving him a really hard contest. It was great to see.

“I don’t think Green’s experienced a game like that since he’s come to the league.

“He’ll be trying to figure out ways he can be better for game two and we have to be ready for that.”

With Green frustrated from the tip, Newcastle started strongly and finished with a flourish to upset the form book and sound a warning to their playoff rivals.

The two teams were separated by a single score at half-time but the Eagles stepped things up after the break.

And a 32-19 final quarter crushed Gareth Murray’s men — the Scots’ frustration boiling over on the final buzzer as former Newcastle guard Kyle Johnson remonstrated furiously with the victorious men in black.

The Eagles forced 17 turnovers and restricted Gladiators to just five three-pointers on a night when just about everything went to plan for the lower seed.

And Johnson’s 31 points on 11 shots epitomised a ruthlessly efficient performance from a team that’s never lacked offensive firepower.

The deadeye US star, who showed his former club no mercy, hit 11 of his 14 free throws after driving to the basket in typically relentless fashion.

And with Newcastle on the brink of playoff progress Johnson insisted: “There’s no pressure going into Friday.

“It’s just another game of basketball — that’s all it is.

“If coach needs me to come off the bench again then that’s what I’ll do and I’ve done it before. I felt fine doing that.”

Tickets for game two at the Vertu Motors Arena (tip off 7.30pm) are available from