Newcastle Eagles must focus to "salvage the season", says Fabulous Flournoy

Newcastle Eagles player-coach Fabulous Flournoy has told his team they must improve their focus to salvage the season

Fab Flournoy in action for Newcastle Eagles against Worcester Wolves
Fab Flournoy in action for Newcastle Eagles against Worcester Wolves

Fabulous Flournoy has called on his Newcastle Eagles to cut out the mental lapses to salvage their season.

Player-coach Flournoy puts back-to-back defeats to Worcester Wolves and Sheffield Sharks – indeed all his side’s losses this season – down to a loss of mental focus.

He expects that to be corrected at league leaders Worcester tonight.

“I wouldn’t say it was individual errors (to blame), it was individual focus,” was the New Yorker’s view of both reverses.

“It’s not the fact we were trying to make a play we shouldn’t have and slipped or something.

“It wasn’t an individual error or fatigue, it was a lack of mental focus in pressure moments. That hurt us.

“That’s what’s happened in all the games we’ve lost this season.

“The fortunate thing we have is, although it’s difficult it’s something we still have time to put right to salvage the season.

“It’s about being able to run a play and get the point offensively and being able to play defence and stick to our scouting report.

“It doesn’t matter if you have one guy doing it, or even three, you have to have all nine guys doing it on the basketball court.

“The same thing happened against Worcester, against Plymouth, in the Cup final – they were games we were in control of.” Worcester put Newcastle out of the British Basketball League Trophy at the quarter-final stage but Sheffield’s win on Tuesday put them in control of the title race.

The Eagles have lost five league games this season to Worcester’s three, so time is running out to address a trophy drought which extends back to their 2012 clean sweep.

The last two games have ramped up the pressure on a club used to winning silverware.

Flournoy added: “They were two different games.

“The Worcester game I felt we played well apart from two times when we let them get away from us.

“They had a big lead in the first half when we let them get away from us at the three-point line and then again in the fourth quarter.

“Apart from those two bad spells, we were fine.

“The Sheffield game was harder to accept because we were in control of it. I was upset with myself for fouling out because if I hadn’t done that we would have won. However, that shouldn’t be a reason for us losing.

“We gave up something like 20 points in the last four minutes. We’ve just have personal pride to defend that.

“In that particular basketball game individual players did not defend as well as they could have.

“As a coaching staff we’ve done everything possible. The only thing I could have done was not to foul out of the game – but that’s me as a player, not a coach.” There have been words about it since. Of course you talk about it, you don’t ignore it, but we continue to work on it,” said Flournoy, who broke the record for most Eagles assists on Tuesday.

“We have a great test now because we have to play Worcester. The great thing about basketball is you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself. You have to learn from it and move forward. We have another opportunity.

“As a coach, I love it. There’s no place to hide. Either you’re going to do it or you’re not.

“This game will decide the head-to-head. We’ve won once each (in the league), so this is the decider.

“They’ve been playing extremely well.

“This is a game which potentially can decide the league title and there is not any other way of putting it.”

Flournoy hopes to have Darius Defoe back from injury tonight.

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