The Eagles are in Town
17 December 2011
The mighty Newcastle Eagles fly into town on Sunday for the Guildford Heat's last game of the year.
The Eagles are the model of a successful franchise and it was a great surprise last season when they failed to win any of the BBL’s four competitions. However, they are making up for this with a vengeance this season! The Eagles sit proudly on top of the Championship table, with an 8-0 record, undefeated this season, save for one game in the BBL Trophy. They are through to the Final of the BBL Cup and the Semi-finals of the Trophy.
The Eagles, led by player-coach Fab Flournoy, have a host of familiar names, including veteran forward, Charles Smith and British power-forward, Darius Defoe, who is leading the team in rebounding. American guard Joe Chapman is back for another year, having recovered from the ruptured Achilles tendon which ended his involvement last season. He is leading the Eagles in scoring this season, with young British forward Andrew Thomson, who joined from the Mersey Tigers over the summer and is the team's second-leading scorer and rebounder. Veteran British guard, Andrew Bridge, also returns for another season while the Eagles have a new face in Paul Gause at point-guard.
The Heat, of course, have had the opposite start to the Eagles, but Fab is taking nothing for granted as his team looks to make it to Christmas undefeated:
"The Heat are probably the best 0-12 team in league history. The amount of close games and bad breaks they have had is beyond belief. And then just when they were integrating a new unit, Mike Copeland goes and picks up a serious injury. We went through that last year with Joe Chapman and it just feels like another kick in the teeth. It goes without saying that we all wish Mike as quick a recovery as possible.
"They have a very talented veteran seven man rotation and picking up Drew Lasker [who played for the Eagles as a replacement for Chapman at the end of last season] was a great move by them to increase their quickness on the perimeter."
Coach Creon knows what he's up against when it comes to the Eagles:
"Andy Thompson causes match up problems with his ability to post up and shoot from distance and I'll give Mike Martin the responsibility of doing his best defensive job on him. Joe Chapman and Charles Smith shoot the three ball real good and provide good court spacing for Darius to work in the paint and Paul Gause to drive to the basket so one on one defensive responsibility will be important for us."
He also spoke about the frustration of losing Mike Copeland and the problems that this is causing the team:
"Just when we feel we have a good team and our rotations in the post are sorted out we lose Michael Copeland late in the first quarter [of the Rocks game] and sadly for the season with a knee injury. With the two Mikes [Copeland and Martin] and Shaun it gave us the chance to not play captain Mike [Martin] too many minutes since he's also nursing a knee that's not 100 percent but he soldiers on."
Despite this, Coach Creon is pleased with the way his players are responding:
"I had to move Tayo [Ogedegebe] into the four position for a long period of the Rocks game and he responded with a good performance. Martelle [McLemore] is getting back to his old self and Lasker and Joseph both scored in double figures. We had Rocks in foul trouble and had it not been for Copes' injury we could have picked up our first win of the season."
The game tips off at 3 pm on Sunday, 18th December and we need as many Heat fans as possible to help the team go into the Christmas break with a win. You can get your tickets by calling the Heat Box Office on 01483 689111 or by visiting the Box Office website.