Sharks eyeing up Eagles' title

Former Eagles forward Pete Scantlebury brings his Sheffield Sharks side to the Arena tonight looking to place one hand on Newcastle Eagles' league crown, with the reigning champions now resigned to losing their grip after a barren season.

Former Eagles forward Pete Scantlebury brings his Sheffield Sharks side to the Arena tonight looking to place one hand on Newcastle Eagles' league crown, with the reigning champions now resigned to losing their grip after a barren season.

If the British basketball legend can mastermind a win in both of his club's games this weekend - they travel to Milton Keynes on Sunday - the Sharks will be crowned the new BBL champions.

If they slip up in one of them and Guildford win their remaining games, it will be the Heat who lift the title.

The coach isn't expecting any favours despite his counterpart Fab Flournoy and Eagles guard Andrew Bridge both having played for Sheffield.

Scantlebury is also aware that even with influential point guard TJ Walker ruled out for the rest of the season, Newcastle's veteran players will inevitably step up to fill the void.

"Tony Dorsey seems to be scoring a lot lately, and Hyatt's also increased his scoring.

"Fab Flournoy is playing the point which has limited his scoring, but he's hurt us on more than one occasion this season, so we'll be aware of that." explained Scantlebury

"They have been on a good run, and they've only lost once since the Trophy final defeat.

"They have been scoring a lot of points recently, so I expect a few more than the last game when it was a defensive struggle. Both sides will still play plenty of defence, though."

Scantlebury will know that it is a tall order to have to come to Tyneside and beat the Eagles on their own floor and then follow that up 48 hours later with a win at Bletchley against an unpredictable Milton Keynes Lions side.

However, after Guildford Heat's loss against Scottish Rocks last Sunday, he is just happy to have the destination of the title back in his own hands and is trying to remain calm about his team's chances of lifting the crown for the first time since 2003.

"Finishing with three away games is tough, and we always knew it would be a difficult end to the season. So to be in this position is a bonus," he said.

"We knew a couple of weeks ago that we had to win all of our games, and nothing's changed in that respect."

He added "It's in our own hands now, but we still need to win those games.

"We're playing with confidence, and we need to go into this weekend's games with a positive attitude."

Another sizeable crowd is expected at the Arena and consequently the Eagles will be even more desperate to repeat their feat of a fortnight ago when they put a dent in Guildford's title prospects with a vibrant and thrilling victory.

With the play-offs now looming large on the horizon, the Springfield Honda-backed club will be keen to show that while they might be out of the title race entering the last weekend of the season they can still pick up wins against the two sides above them.

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