The field for the BBL play-off semi-finals will be set tonight with Newcastle Eagles booking a meeting with Cheshire in next weekend’s final four after a 74-69 win over Guildford Heat secured a simple 167-125 aggregate victory.

It was a game of two halves with the Eagles rampant in the first two periods as they picked up from where they left off during the first leg. And, at the half-time break, they were ahead 40-24 with Creon Raftopoulos and his players suffering something of a hangover from game one.

But, to their absolute credit, the Heat enjoyed a great second half as they worked to restore pride and end their campaign with a victory. While they ultimately failed in their quest, they gave it a real go and even managed to overturn the sixteen point deficit at the interval to briefly take the lead during the final quarter.

But, the Eagles showed they mean business in the play-offs by winning the game down the stretch courtesy of a big play inside the last minute by Darius Defoe and also by teenage rising star Jack Wilson who claimed a vital score in crunch time to help seal the win.

Defoe completed a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds while Joe Chapman added 20 points to continue his good work from the first leg.

Heat were led by Tayo Ogedengbe and Drew Lasker who combined for 40 points as their season ended.

“It was a really solid team performance,” said Rocks captain EJ Harrison. “Mike really led us on scoring but we played possibly our best defence in a long while. After Thursday, we were confident that we could stop them and everything really clicked together.”

Harrison’s buzzer-beating shot sent the hosts 21-12 in front at the end of the opening period and when Green converted a three-pointer midway through the second, their side moved 10 clear.

Down 39-29 at half-time, Plymouth desperately attempted to keep their hopes alive of reaching a third major final this term. Edging back, they reduced the deficit to two late in a third period as Glasgow were forced to cling on. However Gareth Murray, the Scotland internationalist, inspired a late 15-4 run which proved wholly decisive.

The Rocks will now meet Leicester Riders – who thrashed Sheffield 90-65 – over two legs next weekend for a place in next month’s finale in Birmingham.

Leicester, who secured a 182-141 aggregate win, will host the second leg of the semi next Sunday with Glasgow at home first up on Friday.

Atiba Lyons and his team had actually led 13-11 after the initial exchanges but as has happened a couple of times in recent games, the Sharks imploded and went into meltdown in double-quick time. On this occasion, they allowed Riders to outscore them 23-4 in a stunning burst from the hosts during a six minute spell late in the first and early in the second quarter.

Sharks tried to stem the tide but down by 17 heading to the locker rooms and 33 points behind in the context of the tie, the deal was pretty much done and the near miracle they needed never materialised.

And, it never looked likely to materialise as Riders left absolutely nothing to chance. They made sure they carried some momentum in the semi-finals by keeping their foot on the accelerator during the second half to pile on the agony for the Sharks.

Cameron Rundles poured in 29 points for Rob Paternostro’s side.

They’ll meet Glasgow Rocks who produced an 80-60 rout of Plymouth Raiders.

The Kelvin Hall outfit, trailing 84-79 after the first leg of the quarter-final, blew their visitors away in the fourth period to complete a 159-144 aggregate victory.

While Cheshire upset Worcester 85-77 for a 167-157 win as the sixth seed ousted the third.

And the home team prevailed after they held their nerve to produce an excellent 29-17 final quarter with a string of powerful performances throughout the spine of the team.

It had always seemed like the Jets were on the front foot and looking like the team who wold make a decisive run to break the game open. Indeed they got themselves into a few positions of strength during the first half but just like the first game, Wolves kept coming back.

This was no better illustrated than with just 90 seconds left until the half-time break, Jets were 44-33 ahead and yet Wolves finished with seven unanswered points to give themselves momentum for when they returned to the floor.

And, when Wolves finally ended p getting their noses in front at 60-58 heading into the last quarter, Jets fans could have been forgiven for thinking that perhaps their opportunity had gone. But to their credit, Coach Lavery and his players kept going and kept believing.

They also kept making big shots and particularly from long-range through Kai Williams and Colin O’Reilly and it helped them immensely as they began to edge back ahead although the game was still tied 74-74 with just under three minutes remaining.

However, a game changing moment had arrived moments before when Wolves star forward Ritchie Gordon fouled out and Jets took full advantage as they scored thirteen of the last sixteen points in the contest to get the party started at the Northgate.

Colin O’Reilly had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Jets while forward Matt Schneck was in great form with 19 points and eight assists, as was Adam Brown with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Tommy Freeman led the way for Wolves with 22 points.

BBL Play-offs, quarter-final, 2nd leg. Glasgow Rocks 80 Plymouth Raiders 60 (aggregate: 159-144), Guildford Heat 69 Newcastle Eagles 74 (125-167). Leicester Riders 90 Sheffield Sharks 65 (182-141), Cheshire Jets 87 Worcester Wolves 77 (167-157)

Newcastle Eagles (1st) v Cheshire Jets (6th)

Eagles Home – Friday 4th May @ 7.30pm

Jets Home – Sunday 6th May @ 5.30pm

Leicester Riders (2nd) v Glasgow Rocks (4th)

RocksHome – Friday 4th May @ 7.30pm

Riders Home – Sunday 6th May @ 3.30pm

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login