Newcastle Eagles, who are the most successful team in British Basketball League (BBL) history, claimed a seventh league title in ten seasons, with a 107-97 victory over the Manchester Giants.

Due to the North East side’s growing injuries, which also kept their player-coach Fabulous Flournoy away from the court for the season, they ended up with only six players on the night, but put up an excellent performance and moved out of the reach of second-placed Leicester Riders.

The Giants were looking for a victory that would guarantee them a place in the play-off, and after Stu Thompson opened the scoring for the hosts, the visitors took a lead midway through the first quarter. However, the Eagles were soon on their front foot and with a 32-21 lead at the end of the first 10.

Manchester were playing catch-up and had a short come back in the second quarter, by it was 62-51 to Eagles going into the break.

Newcastle showed their dominance in the third quarter, when they achieved 74-57, but the lead was reduced to 81-73 going into the final ten minutes.

The Eagles’ Thompson displayed a brilliant finishing performance with a pair of free throws to help Newcastle hit 100, but it was Davin Grimes who scored the last basket to give the Eagles their league title. Charles Smith, who is the only Eagles player who pre-dates Flournoy and has been with the Eagles since 2000/2001 season, played the entire match and scored 27 points.

The win completes the treble for Newcastle, after they won the BBL Cup and Trophy. Their coach Flournoy came to the court after the game to thank the players and the fans, before the trophy was lifted in front of a roaring crowd.

As for the Giants, they did pull some good work to end up with a 10 – point loss to the best team in the country; they were demolished by the Eagles in the two earlier meetings this season and are currently eight placed. They will need two victories in their last two games, against Sheffield Sharks and then at the home of the London Lions, to make certain of a play-off place.

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