Blackpool 79 Newcastle Eagles 76: Blackpool keep up National Basketball League promotion charge

James OrmondJames Ormond
James Ormond
Blackpool  completed a National League double over the Eagles in another thrilling encounter at Blackpool Sixth, having stormed back from a 17-point deficit to win this season's previous meeting .
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Newcastle came out focused and scored nine points in the opening four minutes.

Blackpool’s Aitor Estrada answered back with two three-pointers, and as both teams traded baskets the Eagles maintained their slender lead to end the first quarter 21-16 ahead.

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A slow start to the second quarter restricted Blackpool to three points in the first four minutes as the Eagles stretched their lead to 10.

A time out helped the home side to halt the Eagle’s momentum and turn the game around as they went on an 8-0 run, six of them scored by James Ormond with his strong offensive rebounding.

The Eagles weathered the push from Blackpool to hold their lead and a lay-up in the closing seconds left them 44-37 ahead at half-time.

Blackpool started the second half with two quick scores from Young and Estrada and restricted the visitors to four field goals in the third quarter.

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They also took the lead for the first time since the opening moments with a 13-3 run, while some hard-nosed defence helped them to enter the final quarter 62-56 ahead.

Greg Slater and Chris Hodkin opened the final quarter with back-to-back three-pointers and Blackpool pushed the lead out to 12 with three minutes to play following strong drives to the basket from Parr and Pangan.

The Eagles refused to go away, stringing together a seven-point run to keep the pressure on going into the final minute.

Cowell’s finish made it 78-71 only for the visitors to cut the deficit to two.

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The determined Young fought his way inside and drew the foul, making one of his two shots from the free-throw line to extend the lead to three with fewer than 20 seconds left.

The home side stood strong to keeper the Eagles at bay until the buzzer sounded, restricting them to one wayward shot.

Five Blackpool players hit double figures as Hodkin added 12 rebounds and Ormond 13.

Blackpool are fighting for promotion in their first season in North West division four and they stand second going into Sunday’s home clash with Tameside at Blackpool Sixth (2pm).