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Newcastle soar into final


BBL Championship semi-final
Newcastle 75 (26,41,57) (Sullivan 23, Smith 17, Hyatt 13)
Sheffield 65 (11,43,56) (Reinking 16, Petteway 14, Davis 12)

Newcastle’s Eagles’ dynamic forward Andrew Sullivan is confident that the Eagles can lift the BBL Championship Playoff title at the National Indoor Arena after their 75-65 defeat of Sheffield Sharks in the first semi-final.

Eagles took an early command of the game out-scoring Sharks 26-11
in the first quarter, including bagging the final 11 points of the quarter. Sharks battled back in the second stanza, a 20-5 tear bringing them to
within a point at 32-31 to Eagles. Nate Reinking bagged the final two buckets of the half to give Sharks their first lead of the game at 43-41 at

Sharks kept their noses in front early in the third, but two converted free throws and another basket from Jeremy Hyatt saw Eagles
draw level at 55-55 with two minutes to go in the third. Sharks’ scoring dried up in the final stanza, as they netted just nine points. Eagles
enjoyed a 9-0 tear midway through the final quarter to put some distance between themselves and the Eagles and they eased to the win.

Sullivan led all scorers with 23 personal points, to which he added eight boards. Reinking was Sharks’ top marksman with 16
personal points.

Sullivan, who was voted third in the Player of the Season awards, isn't daunted by the chance of adding the final piece of silverware to the Trophy.

“Our group of guys hadn’t been to a final together before we played in the Trophy and Coach Nick Nurse said he felt Brighton had the upper hand because of it. We went down there and played together and we all know what happened in that game”.

This has been a breakout season for the Eagles, one of the most successful in their history, as they have already won the BBL Trophy (85-60 against Brighton) and were runners-up in the league. A tough defensive team that like to run the ball, they have had a startling second half of the season, having gone 24-5 since the turn of the year,

“I don’t think we have to change anything”, said Sullivan confidently, “We’ve been playing all year and forcing teams to play our game. I think that’s our biggest strength, not changing anything just going out and doing the things we do, and try and do our best to make teams adjust to what we do.

“We’re a defensive team and a lot of our scores come off our defence. Really and truthfully its for teams to try and figure out a way to slow our defence down, because I don’t think they have to worry about our scoring, they have to worry much more about themselves scoring. We’ve been playing defence all year and I don’t think Fab is going to change anything or tinker with anything at this late stage in the season”.

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