Home » Eagles and Phoenix have their wings clipped by ruthless Sharks and Giants

Eagles and Phoenix have their wings clipped by ruthless Sharks and Giants

BBL Cup North Group

Manchester Giants 91-61 Cheshire Phoenix (16-21, 47-33, 72-44)
(Giants – Armstrong 24, Mcknight 17, Saunders 16; Phoenix – Wright 18, Dickerson 11, Bradley 10)

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 85-64 Newcastle Eagles (19-15, 37-31, 62-55)
(Sharks – Williams 20, Koch 15, Anderson 14; Eagles – Johnson 23, Person Jr 13, Vinson 11)

Predicting how the action would pan out so far in the BBL Cup Group North has been anybody’s guess, with the standings wide open and every team having shown they’re capable of securing shocks and big victories in their outings so far.

As Cheshire Phoenix travelled to the National Basketball Performance Centre for their north-west derby showdown against the Manchester Giants, the 78-72 victory by the latter at Ellesmere Port Sports Village three weeks ago will have still been vivid in the memories of Manchester fans.

Without GB legend Dan Clark, though, who was a 25-point cornerstone of that previous victory, how would Lloyd Gardner’s side fare? In short, very, very well!

A difficult first quarter for the home side where they were forced to work hard by Cheshire to find any points to add to their tally, trailing the Phoenix by five at quarter’s end, was followed up by an exceptional second and third act where the home squad outscored Ben Thomas’ side 56-23.

Some simple but beautiful basketball led by standout performances from guards Martaveous Mcknight and Tyrik Armstrong gave the Giants a comprehensive 30-point win against their fierce rivals, seeing them move top of their BBL Cup Group in the process.

Over in Yorkshire, the Newcastle Eagles were up against it before they stepped on the court as Covid-19 isolations left them without Head Coach Ian Macleod and Lead Assistant Coach Jack Burgess, as well as key players Darius Defoe, Louis Sayers and Duke Shelton for this crunch clash.

Coach Atiba Lyons and his B. Braun Sheffield Sharks side didn’t show the holders any sympathy, though, as a strong team performance which saw all five starters score in double-figures allowed the Ponds Forge outfit to take a 21-point win.

Aaron Anderson and Jonathan Williams continued their impressive starts to life in Sheffield with all-action performances that saw the duo combine for 34 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, whilst taking excellent care of the ball with only one turnover between them.

Where the game was truly won for Sheffield, however, was on the offensive glass as the Sharks bagged 23 compared to a lowly eight from the Eagles, out-rebounding the visitors 54-31 overall on their way to a dominant win, leaving the holders’ hopes of progressing to the next round hanging by a thread.