Plymouth City Patriots starting five: Jacob Wiley, Mason Faulkner, Spencer Levi, Taylor Johnson, TJ Atwood
Newcastle Eagles starting five: Darius Defoe, Rickey McGill, Jordan Johnson, Tajh Green, Devin Whitfield
Mason Faulkner opened up an even keeled first quarter with a three to break the seal for the at-home Plymouth City Patriots.
The visiting Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles quickly responded by way of Devin Whitfield’s jumper off an assist from veteran Darius Defoe.
The back-and-forth affair was interrupted after a timeout by Newcastle’s super subs: Josh Ward-Hibbert on a big three; and a monster alley-oop by big man Malcolm Delpeche, who threw down the lob from Jordan Johnson.
After a couple more Newcastle buckets, Plymouth coach Paul James called a timeout to get Spencer Levi a roll to the rim down the middle of the lane for a floating layup, off a pass from Taylor Johnson.
Whitfield led the way in the second quarter and matched his season averages of 7 points and 2 assets, thanks to a couple of layups, plus a free throw.
Jacob Wiley kept the Patriots within touching distance on an alley-oop from Elivisi Dusha pass, and he finished a patient up-and-under after a dive to the rim and a bullet pass from TJ Atwood to bring the home team within 10.
The energetic Tajh Green came out of the locker room bouncing, especially after hitting a long-range three, as he leapt up to grab an offensive rebound and score a put-back.
As the Eagles were pulling away, the Patriots’ Levi made the most of a perfect inside pass from Dusha with an up-fake and layup.
Newcastle’s fast pace continued to put points on the board after Johnson rifled a hit-ahead outlet pass up the court to Green, who found Ward-Hibbert in a three-on-one break.
Dusha recognised the need to cut the deficit in the fourth quarter. He pushed the pace after a Newcastle miss to get down the court quickly for a contested Plymouth layup.
McGill responded with a couple of successful free throws and a tough fading jumper from the corner to keep the pressure on.
He followed this with a big three from the top of the arc, which pushed the Eagles’ lead to 21 points with seven minutes left in the contest.
With three minutes to go, McGill entertained the Plymouth crowd he previously played for by dribbling the full length of the court, putting the ball behind his back, splitting two defenders on the drive and avoiding the outstretched arms of defenders for an acrobatic layup.
Player of the Game
Josh Ward-Hibbert’s performance came from within the flow of the offence, scoring all around the court – from long distance and driving inside – on his way to 20 points in 26 minutes off the bench. But he also did it defensively, with 11 rebounds, two steals and one block.
|Plymouth City Patriots||Taylor Johnson||18||7||3|
|Plymouth City Patriots||TJ Atwood||12||3||5|
|Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles||Rickey McGill||23||5||9|
|Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles||Josh Ward-Hibbert||20||11||1|
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