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Eagles are cut down to size as Nix shine

Basketball: Cheshire Phoenix head coach John Lavery delighted as his side beat Newcastle Eagles

Brian Dingle
Reggie Middleton in action for Cheshire Phoenix against Newcastle Eagles

Head coach John Lavery wants Cheshire Phoenix to end a tough first half of the season on a high.

Nix turned the form book upside down to knock over Newcastle Eagles and Lavery believes the three games before Christmas present his side with the perfect chance to build on that impressive win.

“I have been saying all year that we have not really played for 40 minutes, not executed down the stretch and not taken care of the ball,” he said.

“Against Newcastle, we did all that and had something like 55 rebounds which is phenomenal. Put all that together and you are going to go close in any game.”

“Look at the first half of the season and we have virtually played all of the top teams twice.

“Our schedule now gives us a chance to go into the Christmas break on a real positive finish.”

Nix host bottom club Surrey United at the Northgate Arena on Sunday (5pm) before games against struggling Manchester Giants and mid-table Durham Wildcats.

Lavery has warned against taking those games lightly but two wins would set Nix up nicely for the second half of the season.

“We are not getting carried away,” said Lavery.

“It was very pleasing to get the win but we have got to keep working hard in practice.

“You look to win as many games as you can and you want to be in the play-offs at the end of the season.

“You cannot take any game lightly in this league. On any given day, any team can beat another.

“It is an old cliche but we are just going take it one game at a time.”

Lavery was delighted with the way his starting five performed against the Eagles, although benchman Alan Duppa also caught the eye.

“Devan Bailey had a fantastic game and in Reggie Middleton, Victor Moses and Dominique Coleman we had three guys with good numbers,” he said.

“Alan Duppa came off the bench and I thought he did a fantastic job spelling the other guys.”

New signing Donatas Visockis also impressed and Lavery said he was lining up another recruit, having lost Kai Williams and Gerald Robinson from his roster in recent weeks.

An unnamed Latvian forward flew in on Monday and will train with the squad this week.

“We have brought him over and we are going to take a look at him in practice,” said Lavery.

“We will see how he goes and whether he impresses but we are going to be bringing in a three-four, probably after the Surrey game.”

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