Dar­ius cre­ates a bit of Ea­gles his­tory

Sunday Sun - - Basketball -

AT the fi­nal buzzer on Fri­day night, party-poop­ers Ply­mouth Raiders had spoiled the cel­e­bra­tions of the Ea­gles by tak­ing a de­served 91 – 86 vic­tory on the open­ing night of the brand-new Ea­gles Com­mu­nity Arena, WRITES JEFF KING.

In­deed, all who were present in the Arena on Fri­day night were thrilled with what they saw whether they were from New­cas­tle or Ply­mouth or sim­ply neu­tral. The Ea­gles have laid down yet an­other marker in their fab­u­lous fran­chise his­tory and opened a new chap­ter in their sto­ried his­tory.

So, it was some­what fit­ting that the first bas­ket of the new era was despatched by non-other than vet­eran for­ward Dar­ius De­foe. The adopted Ge­ordie from Lon­don first ar­rived on Ty­ne­side as a teenager back in 2004 and has been with his Club ever since, this be­ing his 15th sea­son as an Ea­gle.

He talked af­ter the game of the ex­pe­ri­ence and de­light of be­ing able to play in front of a sell-out crowd at what is now The Ea­gles very own home court and build­ing.

“It was a shame we couldn’t do what we wanted to do and get the win but it is fan­tas­tic to see and play in the new arena and I al­most don’t know what to say right now.

“I’ve been here since they first started talk­ing about hav­ing our own Arena to fi­nally play­ing in it. It is re­ally fan­tas­tic.

“It felt great to score the first bas­ket but at the end of the day on court it was just an­other game and we were just try­ing to get the win.

“So per­son­ally, it was a bit dis­ap­point­ing not to get the win in front of such great sup­port­ers and a packed crowd which was fan­tas­tic to see.

“I just hope ev­ery­one keeps com­ing back.”

The game was close all night and in re­al­ity, the Ea­gles did well to run the Raiders so close given that their sea­son-long top scorer Vic­tor Moses limped out of the game with a ham­string in­jury af­ter less than two min­utes on the clock.

“It’s an in­jury that will cer­tainly keep him out of this af­ter­noon’s game at Sur­rey.

“Vic­tor was a big miss and we needed ev­ery­one to step up but we just found it too hard to cover his ab­sence for so long in the game. I think he will miss the game on Sun­day at Sur­rey so we need again ev­ery­body to dig deep and cover his ab­sence.”

“Sur­rey may be at the bot­tom end of the league but you can’t take any­thing for granted in this league.

“This year the whole league has im­proved so you have to be fo­cused on ev­ery game and it doesn’t mat­ter if Sur­rey are at the bot­tom, we can’t take them lightly we have to go there and win this game.”

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