After making the 4 trophy sweep last season, there was only ever going to be two outcomes for the Newcastle Eagles this season. Another 4 trophy sweep (unlikely) or disappointment (likely).
Yesterday the Newcastle Eagles took on the Leicester Riders on the BBL Cup Final, the first of the trophies to go up for grabs this season, and they came out on the side of disappointment.
The riders were a class act at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, as they led the game from the off. They were out ahead of the Eagles for the majority of the game, at one point stretching their lead to 16 points.
While the Eagles managed to fight back at times, and even level the score at 78 a piece in the closing minutes of the game, it was the Riders who held their composure and drove in the dagger to take the win, at 85 - 80.
The Newcastle Eagles are well known for their 3-point prowess, but it was the Leicester side that took all the 3 point glory on the night, playing the Eagles at their own game. It was Zaire Taylor's 3 point shot with 45 seconds left on the game clock in the 4th quarter, that really put the Eagles out of the running.
On the other side of things, Joe Chapman and Damon Huffman both missed crucial 3-pointers as the game was wrapping up, making the difference between a win and a loss for the North East side.
Charles Smith is also one of the 3-point-go-to guys for the Eagles, and he was short for much of the game, again robbing them of crucial point opportunities.
The Riders put out a gritty and motivated performance that was exciting to watch, and team spirits were high. Jay Cousinard was awarded MVP for the game, for his team-high 17 point performance. Joe Chapman, of the Newcastle Eagles, led all scorers with 29 points.
The BBL Cup is the first silverware for the Leicester Riders since 2001, when they last won the BBL Cup. And what better way to win it, than in front of 7,500 crazed British basketball fans.