In the final game of 2022, Caledonia Gladiators (BBL) travelled to the Northeast to take on Marc Steutel’s Newcastle Eagles at the Vertu Motors Arena after a short Christmas break. Despite travelling across the border, both Ali Fraser and Prince Onwas were out due to injury.
In the previous matchup between the sides a few weeks ago, Caledonia took the 81-77 victory in front of an electric Glasgow crowd. The win could be contributed to a solid final few minutes, with the hosts making clutch shots and playing solid defense to close the outing.
Winning the tip-off, Gladiators opened the accounts with a Jeremiah Bailey top-of-the-key three. After a strong start headed by the Alaskan native, Gladiators built an early 9-2 lead only a couple of minutes into the opening period. The remainder of the quarter saw momentum shift continuously, finishing 23-26 in favour of the Scottish side.
Caledonia expanded their lead to nine points within the first minutes of quarter two. Through well-worked basketball, high quality defense and entertaining play, the score reached 42-54 going into the locker rooms, despite Eagles’ best effort. The half was certainly the Hamlet vs Bailey show, with the former on 24 points and the latter with 16 after 20 minutes of play. Gladiators split the points more, however, with five players scoring more than six points apiece.
Following the break, a Donovan Johnson three immediately cut the Gladiators lead to single figures within seconds. A few decisions and two-way plays went the Eagles’ way, as they built momentum within the first minutes of the second half as they made the better start. It took almost three minutes for the visitors to get on the board via a Tapé layup, he then picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench. End-to-end action proceeded, the game tied at 68, thanks to the hosts getting back into the game, with a single quarter to play.
Ten minutes to go, anyone’s game. Gareth Murray’s men had to step up in order to travel above the border with a victory. Tapé fouled out with nine to play, picking up his fifth foul via an offensive foul. Eagles gained the advantage following this. A few quick baskets from star man Jeremiah Bailey brought his team back into the game, forcing an Eagles timeout half-way through the quarter. Eventually, following a clutch conclusion to the outing, it was Eagles who came out victors after regulation, winning 94-87. With the victory, Marc Steutel’s side picked up back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Gladiators’ MVP on the night was awarded to Jeremiah Bailey, who led the squad to victory/despite the loss with an impressive statline of 29 points, 10 rebounds and 1 assist.
Get your tickets for upcoming Caledonia Gladiators fixtures as the BBL side face London Lions on Sunday 8th January – TICKETS – and the WBBL side take on Oaklands Wolves on Saturday 14th January – TICKETS.