Sead Dizdarevic reports on a last-gasp defeat for London Lions.
The Esh Group Eagles Newcastle rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat the London Lions 93-84 at the CopperBox. Eagles’ Charles Smith finished the game with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Despite the loss to the Lions have booked their spot in this year’s playoffs and Chief Executive Vince Macaulay is hopeful that the Lions can reach the same heights as they did last season.
He told Rising East: “What you watched today was the two teams that contested the playoff final last year. We would like to get to that playoff final again. We haven’t played our best basketball so far this season.
“Against a very tough Newcastle team we made numerous mistakes, but still at the death it was a four-point game. All is well for what we may be able to do in the playoffs and it all depends on positioning (in the table.”
The loss to Newcastle came after a first quarter in which both teams were cancelling on another out with efficient shooting. However the Lions were able to take a slim advantage with a three-point lead going into the second quarter, leading 26-23.
The London side began to take control of the game against the reigning champions. A number of defensive stops and forced turnovers allowed the Lions to extend their lead by as much as 11 points. The Eagles did however bring the lead down to seven going into the half, with the Lions up 51-44. Lions forward Demond Watt led the team with 12 points in the first half.
In the second half the Eagles came out strong and managed to erase the Lions advantage and take a six-point lead during the third quarter. The Lions were able to retake the lead before the final quarter due to efficient shooting from the three-point line the third quarter ended 75-73 in the Lions favour.
Newcastle Eagles showed their championship credentials as they were able to take the lead in the final quarter. The Lions attempted a comeback of their own, eventually making it a four-point game but foul trouble allowed the Eagles to take free throws and secure a 93-84 victory.