Basketball: Newcastle win first silverware

Newcastle Eagles pulverised the injury-crippled Brighton Bears 85-60 in front of their own fans at the Brighton Centre last night, in a disappointingly one-sided BBL Trophy final, to win the first silverware in the franchise's history since Sunderland lifted the National Cup 14 years ago.

Newcastle Eagles pulverised the injury-crippled Brighton Bears 85-60 in front of their own fans at the Brighton Centre last night, in a disappointingly one-sided BBL Trophy final, to win the first silverware in the franchise's history since Sunderland lifted the National Cup 14 years ago.

The Eagles, led by their MVP Charles Smith, held the Bears scoreless for eight minutes to score 14 points and lead 43-29, stretching their lead to 26 in the final quarter. Smith scored 18 points and took 11 rebounds, Jeremy Hyatt adding 22 points and Frank Bennett 13. The veteran playmaker Ronnie Baker led Brighton with 21 points.

The Eagles win ensured there would be no clean sweep of the BBL's four competitions, after Brighton won the cup in January. Brighton's hopes of winning a second title had already taken a blow after their captain and England international Yorick Williams tore ligaments and broke a bone in his ankle in early February.

On Friday, bench player Rhadi Knapp was admitted to hospital when a cut became infected and yesterday Cheyne Gadson, an American replacement for another injury victim, Ryan Huntley, had treatment during the game after aggravating a hand injury. Steve Lepore, who scored 13 points for the Bears, was returning from injury.

Chester Jets' four-year grip on the BBL Trophy was broken by a semi-final defeat against Newcastle in January, but while the Eagles and Brighton were preparing for yesterday's final, the Jets reopened a six-point lead in the BBL Championship with their 83-74 win over second-placed Sheffield Sharks.

On Saturday night, Leicester Riders defeated the Birmingham Bullets 94-80 and the Milton Keynes Lions were beaten 78-66 by London Towers.

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