by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix lost their fourth game in the BBL Cup to the Newcastle Eagles.
The hosts shared the ball around well and made a healthy amount of three-point baskets but their inability to rebound and hit crucial two-point shots cost them the game against a strong, resilient Eagles team.
Both teams took a while to get going, as they made just three of the opening 13 shots of the game. Jalen Hayes scored six points in six minutes of play as the Nix jumped out to a five point lead mid-way through the first quarter. Parker Jackson-Cartwright went on a scoring avalanche towards the end of the first period of play, the Nix point-guard accumulated 13 points in the opening 10 minutes. Phoenix sustained their scoring and ended the first quarter up 25-20 on the Eagles.
The Nix began the second quarter slowly again, scoring just two points in the first two minutes, as they let the Eagles back into the game, but in just 48 seconds, Jackson-Cartwright orchestrated a five point run which forced the Eagles coach to call a time-out. Despite their overall good play in the second period of play, the Nix unfortunately squandered a comfortable 11 point lead midway through the quarter. The final three minutes of the half belonged to the visitors as they went on a 6-1 run and put themselves ahead 40-39 at the break.
The Nix played great defense to start off the second half as they held the Eagles scoreless during the opening two minutes. Despite their weak offensive start, Newcastle powered through and extended their advantage to six points at the 5:09 mark of the third quarter. The away side made 10 of their 15 attempts in the third period of play while the Nix missed 13 of their 19 attempts from the field. This meant that the home side found themselves trailing by nine points with just 10 minutes left to play.
Jackson-Cartwright and Louis Sayers connected on a pair of three-point attempts early in the last period of play but the Eagles answered back every time and kept the Nix at bay. Despite their much improved offensive play, the Phoenix found themselves down by 11 points with just five minutes left to play. The hosts battled hard in the fourth but couldn’t overcome the deficit created by their opponents and dropped their fourth game in the BBL Cup, 92-100.
Key Team Stat: 20 assists. The hosts played great team basketball as they assisted 20 of their 29 makes. However the visitors shot 50% from the field and completely dominated the Nix on the boards.