Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Victorious Eagles Climb Away from Rising Phoenix; BASKETBALL

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Victorious Eagles Climb Away from Rising Phoenix; BASKETBALL

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE 116 CHESHIRE 93 Reece Hanson NEWCASTLE Eagles had plenty to celebrate as they began the new year with a 116-93 win over Cheshire Phoenix to kick-start a busy weekend in BBL Championship and Trophy.

The league leaders had triumphed on the two previous occasions the sides had met this season, with a 99-85 league win in September and a 95-84 victory to reach the BBL Cup semi-finals.

Clashes between the two have tended to be high-scoring affairs, with the Eagles last failing to hit 80 in April 2015, while Phoenix have reached the mark all but once in their last 17 meetings, stretching back to September 2013.

Last night was no different. American forward Earl Brown got Cheshire off the mark, before Darius Defoe levelled things up at 2-2. For everything Phoenix threw at the home side in the opening stages, the Eagles replied immediately, striking back with every basket before two Orlan Jackman free throws gave them a 12-10 lead.

Deondre Parks' treble started to open the gap, and by the time Rahmon Fletcher and Jackman scored lay-ups the Eagles were 24-12 ahead.

The hosts introduced two players from the bench who had enjoyed the New Year celebrations - new father Drew Lasker and Fab Flournoy MBE - and the two continued their good run as the home side ended the first quarter with a 38-23 lead.

Christian Behrens got off the mark with a two to start the second quarter, before Lasker's treble, sandwiched between an Jamell Anderson's dunk in reply.

It was a fast start by the Eagles, who passed the 50 mark five minutes before half-time courtesy of a Scott Martin double.

Phoenix were enjoying a revival though, with Anderson and Earl Brown leading the charge on nine apiece.

The American reached 42 points when the Cheshire side last came to Tyneside, and he kept up his good form last night.

The Eagles' bucket frenzy had slowed, and their opponents had slowly crept back into the tie. …

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