Friday 24th January 2020
BBL Trophy Quarter Final
Newcastle Eagles (Fletcher 30 Morsell 18 Gettys 13) 86 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Cashaw 24 Lewis 17 Koch 17) 79
The B. Braun Sharks involvement in this season’s BBL Trophy came to an end after another intense battle at the Eagles Community Arena. Former league MVP Rahmon Fletcher proved to be the thorn in the Sharks side on his way to 30 points as Newcastle booked their semi-final place against the already-confirmed Cheshire Phoenix.
Eagles: Morsell, Aded-Hussein, Matthew, Gettys, Fletcher.
Sharks: Lewis, Cashaw, Tuck, McKnight, Koch.
A pair of Mike Tuck treys capped an 0-8 run as the Sharks began with energy at 4-10. Nick Lewis kept the pace going with another triple at 6-13 but one out of the corner from Nick Schlitzer signalled the Eagles fightback. Fletcher’s and one play finally saw the home side in front at 18-17 and despite a repeat from Bennett Koch in the final minute, it was Newcastle who ended a tight first quarter up by 23-20.
Three’s from Fletcher and Hussein saw the Eagles begin to edge away at 35-23. Five Connor Cashaw points attempted to keep the Sharks close but Fletcher continued a decent shooting display to make it 40-30. Mackey McKnight converted a mid-ranger at 43-34 but that man Fletcher rounded off the half to see Newcastle on the high side by 47-34.
The Sharks set about reducing the deficit with a 0-6 run at the top of the third, capped by Nick Lewis’ steal and layup. The run galvanised Newcastle as Darius Defoe kept the difference at 12 from the line with the score at 56-44. The Sharks ended the quarter still in contention. Connor Cashaw’s and one play preceded buckets from Mike Tuck and Rob Marsden as the stanza ended at an intriguing 60-56.
Bennett Koch’s and one drew matters level at 63-63 1.43 into the final period. However, that only served to spark Newcastle on a 12-0 run ended by Nick Lewis making one of three attempts from the line. The Eagles entered the penalty with 5.07 left in the game but marshalled by Fletcher, they kept their advantage; Morsell’s three at 82-71 being a case in point. The Sharks attempted to manage the game down the stretch with fouls to give and timeouts but it was Fletcher’s 30th point of the night that saw Newcastle through to the next round at 86-79.
The Sharks were slightly behind the eight ball in terms of shooting , going 37% from the field as compared to Newcastle’s 47% on the evening. When the fightback came, it was Mackey McKnight who inspired things with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 10 assists. Nick Lewis contributed 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals and was matched in scoring by Bennett Koch, who also pulled down 6 boards for his trouble. The latest in a series of efficient displays and the undoubted MVP on the night was Connor Cashaw. He got the job done all over the court for 24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
Next home game
B. Braun Sharks v Surrey Scorchers, Friday 31st January 2020, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 7.30pm Tip Off.