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After being awarded a forfeit against Stockport Falcons last weekend, the U16s Eagles took to the floor for the final time this season to play Cheshire Phoenix. The away team had only won two games all season and whilst the Eagles were only one league position higher, they had a much better win/loss record.
The Eagles started the tie in confident fashion and soon found themselves up by 8 points in the early part of the first quarter. Cheshire would respond through some ill discipline from the home side, managing to get to the free throw line twenty times in the quarter. Unfortunately for Cheshire they only hit six of their free throws and the quarter finished 26-13 in favour of the hosts.
The second quarter saw a complete reversal, as the away side began to frustrate the hosts and keep them to only five points in the quarter. A mixture of poor offence coupled with a very compact 2-3 zone ensured the Eagles just couldn’t puts points on the board and as Cheshire kept scoring, the lead was reduced to just two points at halftime (31-29).
After a very frank discussion during the break the Eagles would come out with renewed vigour, scoring the first points of the half and doubling their lead to four. Sadly this momentum wouldn’t continue as Cheshire began hitting some big shots from behind the arc to propel them into the lead 41-42 with three minutes left in the quarter. The Eagles would regroup and steady the ship but Cheshire’s zone was still causing issues and the hosts would go into the final quarter down by 3 (42-45).
The away side would start the fourth quarter like an express train. They were controlling the game well and slowing the tempo which was frustrating the hosts. With 5 minutes gone the score was 44-53 in favour of Cheshire. The Eagles were not however going to go down without a fight. Putting on a 9-2 run to bring the game within 2 points (55-57). With the clock winding down the hosts had a couple of good chances to tie the game but sadly none of them would drop and the game would end with the away side taking it 55-57.
The Eagles fought back valiantly but unfortunately gave themselves too much to do. Cheshire’s zone caused the Eagles problems all day and anytime you only score 55 points it’s going to be tough to win a game at this level. The Eagles will no doubt be disappointed with this display but the season has seen so much improvement in these young players and they can all be immensely proud of their achievements. The off-season will no doubt be busy for these young lads with important GCSE’s coming up and everyone from the Eagles wishes them all the best with their exams!
Scorers: Payling 19, Evbuomwan 13, Ridley 9, Ardabili 4, Kusi 3, Swann 3, Kavanagh 2, Proctor 2
Click on the result for full match report