Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Basketball: Eagles Are Finally Finding Their Feet

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Basketball: Eagles Are Finally Finding Their Feet

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

FABULOUS Flournoy saw his revamped Newcastle Eagles side show its potential for the first time last week - and the American player-coach wants to see it again at Greenbank Sports Academy tonight.

Both Newcastle and Everton Tigers came out of last week's BBL Cup semifinal first leg claiming psychological victories but the only win that will matter is an aggregate one after tonight's second leg on Merseyside.

Everton's coach, ex-Newcastle player Tony Garbelotto, pointed to a strong finish from his side on Saturday which reduced the Eagles' winning margin to seven points. But Flournoy was delighted with the way his team combined.

"With the exception of myself, this was the first time the team clicked and meshed together," he reflected. "Everyone who played matched the expectations we have of them and they did their jobs the way we asked them to. That is a huge step forward for us as a team because, as I've said all season, this is a new team and it takes time for the new guys to settle.

"We have two guys (Reggie Jackson and Tafari Toney) who have never played in Britain before and players who have never experienced playing for a club like Newcastle before, with the expectations we have. Last Saturday we saw what this team is capable of and if we play like that again I'm confident we will be in the final."

The Eagles led by 23 points at one stage in the first leg, but a late rally saw it finish 112-105. Flournoy, though, was dismissive about the visitors' response.

"They felt as though they finished strongly and they did, but if you look at the game as a whole, we were the better side for 35 minutes and they had one good five-minute spell in the fourth quarter," he said.

"I'm sure that has given them confidence and they will have home advantage in the second leg, which will also help them, but we are going down there knowing we have probably just played our best game collectively as a team. …

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