Newcastle Eagles will be heading to Glasgow’s Emirates Arena in just under a fortnight after they reached the BBL Trophy Final following their 167-154 aggregate victory over Worcester Wolves.
The Eagles took a seven-point advantage into Sunday’s Semi-Final second leg at Worcester – a lead that looked at risk due to their ever-growing injury list, with Scott Martin the latest addition.
But even with just a six-man rotation, the Eagles were too strong for the Wolves as they ran out 94-88 winners, a score-line made more respectable by a strong fourth quarter from Worcester.
Rahmon Fletcher’s 25 points was the high for Newcastle, with team-mate Andy Thomson enjoying the performance of the game, registering 24 points and 14 rebounds.
“We are delighted to have made it,” said Eagles’ player-coach Fab Flournoy.
“To get through the injuries that we have and come out the other side is pleasing.
“Our healthy guys stepped up in both legs and I think we deserved the victory.”
The other Semi-Final is finely poised after the Leicester Riders and Sheffield Sharks tied 79-79 on Sunday.
Jerrold Brooks led the Sharks with 24 points, while teammate Antone Robinson had 20, including the game-tying basket in the final seconds. TrayVonn Wright led the Riders with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
In the BBL Championship there were wins for the both the Eagles and Riders at the weekend.
Charles Smith once again put up big numbers as his 34 points and 16 boards helped Newcastle to a 104-90 victory over Plymouth Raiders, while Leicester enjoyed a 66-55 win at Bristol Flyers.
Surrey Scorchers completed the comeback of the season on Friday as they fought back from 21 points down in the fourth quarter to complete a remarkable 90-82 defeat of London Lions.
Trailing 76-55 at the start of the final period the Scorchers appeared to be dead and buried but turned the game on its head by outscoring their hosts 35-6 to complete a remarkable turnaround.
“The one thing I’ve been trying to say to the guys is to play right until the end,” said Scorchers’ coach Creon Raftopoulos.
“We did a great job against the Lions, came back and got a big win.”
But the Scorchers missed a chance to move into eighth position after they suffered a 73-64 defeat at home to Plymouth University Raiders.
The Devon side trailed 38-31 at the break but came out firing in the second half, taking a lead they would not relinquish, Cory Dixon leading the Raiders to victory with a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds.
“I think we executed pretty well down the stretch,” said Raiders’ Josh Wilcher, who finished with 12 points.
“I think we had patches like we do at times, but we got the ball into Cory Dixon’s hands down the stretch and he was great tonight.”
Plymouth remains two points behind seventh-placed Cheshire Phoenix after the North-West side overcame a slow start to defeat the Glasgow Rocks, 90-81.
Danny Huffor had another big game against his former team, netting 24 points for the Phoenix.
Finally, Sheffield Sharks improved their chances of finishing in the top three this season after their 81-69 victory at Worcester Wolves on Friday.
Jerrold Brooks had 19 points as the Sharks clinched the head-to-head between the two teams.