Basketball: Newcastle edge past Sheffield to reach Trophy final

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The Independent Online

Newcastle Eagles kept one hand on the BBL Trophy last night with a hard-fought 58-55 semi-final win over the Sharks in Sheffield to earn the chance to defend their title against Plymouth Raiders on Sunday 4 March on their own court. The Raiders defeated Leicester Riders 83-64 on Friday night to reach their first-ever major final.

The Eagles won all four domestic titles last season but have already surrendered the BBL Cup to the Championship leaders Guildford Heat. But they will be odds-on to retain the Trophy as the final is at the MetroRadio Arena.

Sheffield's Eddie Cage tied the scores on 53-53 before Olu Babalola reopened a two-point Eagles lead. Sheffield's Jeff Bonds tied the scores on 55-55 but with 11 seconds remaining Jeremy Hyatt put Eagles 57-55 in front.

In a thrilling finale, the Eagles player-coach stole the ball from Atiba Lyons and fed Tony Dorsey, who was fouled and scored one from two free throws to seal their place in the final.

Guildford stumbled on Saturday night with defeat at Leicester, but regained top spot from Newcastle and Sheffield in the BBL with a fourth quarter comeback for a 102-99 win over Milton Keynes Lions at The Spectrum last night.

Brian Dux led the Heat with 26 points as they opened the final quarter with a 14-5 run to lead 82-75 and stayed in control, despite the Lions closing the game 9-4.