Newcastle Eagles booked their place in the BBL Cup final for the fifth straight season after they beat the London Lions 89-82 in the semi-final second-leg on Friday night.
Rahmon Fletcher scored 33 personal to set up a mouth-watering tie against the Glasgow Rocks in the final next month, but it wasn’t all plain-sailing on the night.
The visitors raced into a seven-point lead after the first quarter, but the Eagles fought their way back and were greeted with a rapturous ovation at the end.
Guard Deondre Parks, who signed for Newcastle in the summer, was lost for words after the final buzzer, but is looking forward to his first final with his new side.
“I’m excited,” Parks said. “As a rookie I’m getting to experience something that not many players in the league get to experience.
“I’m lost for words and I am just excited to be in the situation that I’m in.”
He added: “I’ve got a bond with these guys. Since I got here, they’ve shown me a lot of love and looked after me so it is very special to be in a Newcastle jersey and to be heading to the BBL Cup final.”
Newcastle came into the second-leg with a seven-point advantage, but the hard-fought win down in London was a distant memory after the Lions raced ahead.
Scott Martin ended a run of nine consecutive points to begin the game, but Kai Williams hit a stunning three-pointer to give the visitors a commanding lead.
Fletcher single-handedly brought his team back into the contest with 13 personal, but Alex Owumi’s three on the buzzer saw London lead 26-19 at the end of the first quarter.
The Eagles levelled the game through Parks and Martin laid-up to give the hosts their first lead of the game midway through the second quarter.
Darius Defoe got in on the action with back-to-back scores before Fletcher took his tally to 19 as Newcastle led by six points at half-time.
London continued to fight their way back, and despite Defoe sinking a basket to take the lead into double figures, London were only two points behind going into the final quarter.
Fletcher continued his brilliant display with a lay-up to put any doubts to bed, London looked deflated, and the Eagles held on for the win.
The BBL MVP of last season helped to guide his team over the line, and Newcastle will face of against the Glasgow Rocks in the final at the Barclaycard Arena on January 15.