FULL-STRENGTH EAGLES SEE OFF CHINA RED

Ernesford Eagles bounced back to winning ways following their setback against Coventry Phoenix to brush aside the challenge of Warwick China Red 88-44 and maintain their lead at the top of Division Two.
The students from Warwick University felt the full effect of Eagles’ players returning from illness and holidays as they celebrated the return of their starting five players. In an open first quarter, Eagles edged ahead after a spate of fouls sent them to the free-throw line, and gave the hosts the chance to move to a 19-11 lead at the first break.
Then, with Ben Clarke dominating inside, Eagles gradually wore down their lively visitors and, although they were in control, they could not help looking over their shoulders as the China Red side refused to lie down. Then it all went Eagles way as a series of “net busters” rained in and daylight appeared between the two at 55-31. If ever there was a time for him to give a return, the iron-man competitor Ross Emery chose it to knock down a collection of vintage shots and steer Eagles to a 31-9 final quarter score as the Chinese Society were ripped open.
Clarke led with 18 and Emery hit 15 as Eagles look, with interest, at the Coventry Phoenix result from this week’s game at Warwick, which, they hope, will see a win for Bears, and leave the way to the title open for the team who have sat there all season, but who could lose out in the race for promotion. It look to be a tough ask though, as Phoenix played the lead role as Tornadoes performed in their second game of the week – having earlier disposed of Warwick China Red 80-63, but Phoenix took this one 86-69, as Warwick Bears edged an exciting finish at Cracovia Stratford, heading their neighbours 50-48.
One side looking upwards from Division Three is GAC who tore apart Tile Hill Trojans 3, leaving the bottom side still without a league victory and with just one game left – against leaders Henley Hurricanes. GAC – the Grace Academy team of experienced and Under 18 players have come good since the return of Matt Jenner and the Arrival of Yan Lipka, who, at 6’8” looks every bit a tough European basketball player. He ripped into the veterans and almost single-handedly beat them as he slammed home 26 points in GAC’s 81-27 victory which lifted them into second place. There is talk that several other “oldboys” could be returning to the team next season which might see them chasing a place in Division One again. With Tornadoes looking likely to drop out of Division One there might just be an opportunity for GAC to get back in at the sharp end.

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