Newcastle Eagles remained at the summit of the BBL Championship with their fourth straight win, defeating the MK Lions 101-92. Meanwhile, the Leicester Riders defeated their title rivals Worcester Wolves 91-68 and Cheshire Jets claimed a playoff place with a 78-72 victory at Sheffield Sharks.
The Jets inflicted Sheffield Sharks third straight defeat after an impressive second half performance to move into the playoff positions. Adam Brown led the way for Cheshire recording 22 points and 7 assists with a 16 point contribution from Matt Schneck.
John Lavery’s men came from behind after trailing at the break 37-30 but a nine point burst at the start of the second half allowed them back into the game with Brown’s three point bucket. Jets temporarily lead at 49-45 thanks to the scoring efforts of Brown but that was short lived as Jimmy Langhurst’s triple set up a tense final quarter with the Sharks leading 53-52.
Late in the final period, an 11-4 Jets surge all but decided the contest as the Jets held on for a close six point victory.
MK Lion’s loss in the north east allowed the Jets to move into the final playoff spot. Their opponents, Newcastle Eagles dominated the majority of the game with Charles Smith producing a commanding 28 point performance with Andrew Thomson posting a double double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Eagles were in a commanding position at 46-28 with Smith’s long range shot to take a comfortable lead into the halftime break.
In the final period, Newcastle were in cruise control with Thomson and Smith hitting more shots at 88-70. The visitors hit back with an 11-4 run led by Daniel Northern to take the score to 96-88 but the Eagles easily closed the game to maintain their lead at the top.
Elsewhere, the Leicester Riders helped Newcastle’s championshiop aspiration as they condemned Worcester Wolves to their first defeat in nine games.
Leicester outmuscled the Wolves in the second and third quarters after a close start. Cameron Rundles shared the top scoring honours with Ritchie Gordon who both claimed 27 points with Bradd Wierzibicki adding 26 points personal.
The Riders were well in front by the final stanza at 74-56 thanks to a 12-2 spark in their offensive run to see the game out with ease and grab their fourth straight home victory.