Great Britain: Eagles Romp To Fourth Title

02 May 2006

Newcastle Eagles completed their clean sweep of the four British Basketball League titles with an 83-68 victory over the Scottish Rocks at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

Player-coach Fab Flournoy rounded off a season in which he has won four winners medals and a Commonwealth Games bronze with the most valuable player award after scoring 17 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, a record for a play-offs final.

The Eagles are the first team to achieve the sweep of all four BBL titles - Cup, Trophy, League and Play-offs - since 2002, and it is only the fourth time in the league's 19-year history that one team has won all four titles in a season

Fab Flournoy and Andrew Sullivan of the Newcastle Eagles with the 2006 BBL Championship trophy
Fab Flournoy (left) and Andrew Sullivan with the championship trophy
But they needed to survive a sticky patch before eventually prevailing against a Rocks team clearly keen to win some silverware in a season when they finished second in the league.

The Rocks had the better of the first half, with Frank Bennett taking four offensive rebounds in scoring 16 points.

Within the first five minutes, they led 13-4 and had all five of their starters on the scoreboard through crisp passing and strong offensive rebounding.

Newcastle's two successes from 16 attempts allowed the Rocks to take the first quarter 19-12 and the second 21-16 and in both quarters the Rocks hit runs of 11-0.

On both occasions it was Bennett who ignited the streak, the first with a putback dunk and the second with an unlikely left-handed jumpshot from the foul line.

Charles Smith had a disappointing half, scoring only one three in his six points.

But when the Eagles came out for the second half, it was with renewed defensive efficiency.

Flournoy's seven points in a row brought them back to within five points within three minutes, and the lead was theirs with one minute 25 seconds remaining of the third quarter on another Flournoy basket.

When Smith scored 10 of the Eagles' first 12 points in the final quarter, followed by a three-pointer from Andrew Bridge, the Eagles had a 10-point lead.

The Rocks were in a scoring drought that lasted almost three and a half minutes and was only ended by a three from Julius Joseph.

Three and a half minutes later, the final buzzer of the season crowned the Eagles playoff winners for the second successive season and sent Newcastle into the BBL history books.

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