Newcastle Eagles gained their second consecutive victory over the Sheffield Sharks with a narrow 85-80 win in the Northeast on Friday night.
The crucial result in this tense tie means the Eagles take the top spot previously held by their respective opponents.
There was a host of great performances on display from both teams in this thriller. Andrew Thomson was the high point man with 25 personal with good contribution from key man Joe Chapman who had 18 points and 5 assists. Darius Defoe also recorded a double double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Jimmy Langhurst helped the Sharks close in on their opponents with a satisfactory 24-point effort.
A Langhurst triple proved crucial to start a 7-0 run late in the first period and despite an 8-2 fight back from the eagles, they held a 14-18 lead at the first buzzer.
Langhurst got his team going again in the second quarter, sparking a 10-2 burst with another 3 pointer. The Eagles responded immediately after coach Flournoy’s timeout scoring the next five points, all from Thomson. The Geordies would eventually close the gap to 32-24 despite Mike Tuck’s buzzer beater going into halftime.
Two Chapman scores from beyond the arc helped Newcastle pull ahead by 38-36 in the second half. The lead changed eight times from then onwards, but Thomson continued to inflict damage on the scoreboard as they led by 57-53 heading into the final ten minutes.
A strong start from the Eagles in the fourth may have proved crucial in their victory as they went on an early 12-4 run. Chapman got them going with five straight points with further sensational scoring from Thomson to gain a double-digit advantage at 69-57 with seven minutes left. But the Sharks set up a tense finale with an 18-4 surge, finishing with another Langhurst triple to tie the game at 79 with 1: 35 on the clock.
Unfortunately, the Sharks were unable to capitalize on the situation to try and snatch the win and Thomson closed out an emphatic Eagles victory from the stripe.