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Page last updated at 19:37 GMT, Saturday, 2 May 2009 20:37 UK

Eagles and Tigers reach BBL final

By Rob Dugdale

Basketball

The Newcastle Eagles will play the Everton Tigers in Sunday's BBL Play-offs final after the league's top two teams both won their semi-finals.

Everton beat the Leicester Riders 81-65 in the second semi-final after Newcastle had beaten Plymouth 93-71.

Great Britain guard Richard Midgley hit 24 points as Everton, in their first final four, held off Leicester.

Trey Moore hit 25 points and Andrew Bridge added 22 as the Eagles reached their fourth final in five years.

Bridge hit 13 points in the second quarter as the Eagles posted a 46-30 half-time lead.

That became 20 points in the third quarter as the Eagles, looking to add the play-offs to their league and Trophy titles this season, made Plymouth pay for their mistakes.

Plymouth started well enough in the first quarter, stopping Newcastle's running game and leading 16-10 after seven minutes' play.

But that all changed in the second quarter as Newcastle forced handling errors from the Raiders and converted them into points at the other end.

Midway through the third quarter, the Eagles established their first 20-point lead of the game.

Plymouth threatened briefly to get the lead back into single figures in the early fourth quarter, only for Trey Moore and Reggie Jackson to steady the ship once again for Newcastle.

James Noel led the Raiders' scoring with 21 points.

Midgley hit six three-pointers in his 24 points, five of them in the first half as the Tigers established a 46-36 interval lead.

Leicester were led by Phil Missere's 16 points and Duane James' 15, but they only briefly threatened a second-half comeback.

Everton's Josh Gross had 11 points in the fourth quarter as Leicester's offence all but ground to a halt, allowing Everton to post a 12-3 run to decide the game.

Gross ended with 20 points and the influential Marcus Bailey had 16.



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