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Newcastle end long drought


BBL Trophy Final
Newcastle 85 (Hyatt 22, Smith 21)
Brighton 60 (Baker 21, Lepore 13)

An injury-ravaged Brighton Bears may have had home advantage in the BBL Trophy final but it mattered not. A stunning defensive display from Newcastle Eagles saw them end the north-east's 14 year wait for silverware in an 85-60 demolition act. 

The Bears started the brighter, bagging an early 12-3 run, concluding with long range baskets from Ajou Deng and Steve Lepore, which gave Brighton the lead at 12-5. 

Eagles gradually pulled back into the game and two TJ Walker free throws with 28 seconds left in the first quarter tied the game at 18-18. Six straight points early in the second stanza gave Eagles their first lead since the opening basket at 24-44.

The teams then traded baskets until Charles Smith's burst of eight points, which gave Eagles a 34-29 advantage at half-time. They went on to bag the first ten points of the second half, as Bears were kept scoreless for more than four and a half minutes and Eagles led 44-29.

Eagles extended their lead to 25 points early in the fourth quarter at 68-43 and Brighton, missing Yorick Williams, could find no way back. Jeremy Hyatt led all scorers with 22 points for the victors, while Ronnie Baker topped Bears' scoring with 21.

"There's always a special thing about the very first one and it would always be held dear at the club," said Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy. 

"It's our first title, so it's special. A lot of people assumed I would feel more pressure because I'm the coach, but I am also a player and I'm close to the players, so I didn't feel the pressure. I'm really proud of the guys."

Charles Smith's haul of 18 points andnine rebounds earned him the Most Valuable Player award.

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