Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Brought Back to Earth in Play-Off Final

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Brought Back to Earth in Play-Off Final

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew McDonnell

NEWCASTLE Eagles suffered a disappointing 84-63 loss to the Leicester Riders in the BBL Play-Off Final at The O2 in London.

Fab Flournoy's side were down by 20 points at half-time, and the Riders picked up where they left off thereafter.

Leicester's stellar display earned them their third trophy of the 2016-17 season, but the Eagles still have a lot to be proud of during a transition year.

Rahmon Fletcher top-scored for the Eagles with 16 points, while Pierre Hampton led the way for the Riders with a match-winning doubledouble of 14 points and 14 rebounds. The Eagles came in to the game off the back of a thrilling victory over Worcester Wolves in the semi-finals, but were on the back foot at the start.

In front of a packed crowd in the capital, the Leicester Riders came racing out the blocks and found themselves 7-0 up in the opening minutes.

Orlan Jackman stopped the early run, but the Riders were 13-4 up with only 3:24 on the clock when Brandon Clark hit a double.

Newcastle began to grow into the game, and Scott Martin reduced the deficit down to six points with a double.

However, Taylor King responded immediately for Leicester, who went on a 14-3 run to close out the first quarter - they led 29-11 after the first 10 minutes.

Pierre Hampton opened up the second quarter with a deuce, which took Leicester's lead up to 20 for the first time in the game.

Deondre Parks replied for the Eagles, but Hampton, King and Shane Walker continued the Riders' strong run.

The Riders were ruthless on both sides of the ball, and the Eagles were struggling to keep the scoreboard ticking along.

Martin and Fletcher tried to chip away at Leicester's lead, but former Eagles players Andy Thompson and Drew Sullivan took the lead up to 22-points. …

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