Remembrance Sunday in Plymouth, saw the Patriots take on the star studded Newcastle Eagles fresh from their win earlier this week in Europe.The game took place in a sold out Pavilions, with an extremely vocal home team crowd, willing their Patriots to what they hoped would be a much needed win.
Chairman of the Commando Gunners, Lieutenant colonel Martin Lambert-Gorwyn opened proceedings leading the two minutes silence to commemorate the fallen, accompanied by eleven year old Eilidh from Woodlands Park Primary School, with a tremendous and stirring rendition of the last post, after which you could hear a pin drop. It would be the first and last time for the remainder of the evening that the home crowd would be silent, as they managed to sustain a wall of sound to spur the home team on.
Despite the home court advantage, the visiting eagles went out to a double digit lead in the first quarter, with their quality shining throughout. The Patriots found it hard to take their opportunities early on, as they struggled to find any rhythm, despite forcing a number of turnovers. The visitors did not relent in the second quarter either, as they continued to make life difficult for the Patriots defensively, as well as hitting their shots time and again. TJ Atwood did offer a spark at the end of the first half, but the Eagles managed to go into the break with a 10 point advantage.
The Patriots would again try to chip away at the Eagles lead, but were matched basket for basket as the game approached the final quarter. In fact the visitors would take a 15 point lead into the fourth, with the Patriots needing a miracle to turn the game around. A miracle that would never come. The sharp shooting of the Eagles and the quality throughout their squad would prove too much for the Patriots, who would continue to struggle as the game finally fizzled out, with the final score 68-95. Taylor Johnson would be the one of the home team's shining lights, finishing with 18 points and 7 rebounds, but the team failed to find the spark that saw them beat the London Lions last weekend.
Head Coach Paul James was honoured before the game, with a golden basketball to commemorate his 500th win, achieved last week against the Lions. “The was a really nice moment, but for some reason today we didn’t have the same energy as last week,” started coach James, comparing the teams lacklustre performance this week, with their win against all odds the week before, he continued, “we didn’t fly around defensively like we did last Sunday, which was disappointing. Newcastle are a very good team, and we didn’t really share the ball, which made us easy to guard. It’s something we’ll go back and look at, before we play them again on Friday.”
The loss on Sunday afternoon sees the Patriots share the bottom spot in the British Basketball League table with fellow strugglers, Manchester Giants, both on just two wins for the season. With a huge win last weekend, the Patriots were expected to perhaps push the Eagles for the duration of the fixture. It’s back to the drawing board for Coach James, as the team head to Newcastle Friday night, before returning home the following weekend to face the Surrey Scorchers, who sit just above the Patriots in the league table.
Pablo Cheeks (below the rim podcast)