British Basketball League: Cheshire Phoenix and Newcastle Eagles shine in front of the Sky Sports cameras
03/12/20 - Kingsley Okoroh contests Evan Maxwell's shot during London Lions' loss at Newcastle Eagles (SOURCE - BBL)

The BBL Championship tipped off on Thursday evening in front of the Sky Sports cameras for the first time under their new groundbreaking deal to showcase British Basketball on TV - and Cheshire Phoenix and Newcastle Eagles picked up impressive wins on the centre stage.

The first game of the double-header saw a full-strength Nix team secure their first win of the season over Sheffield Sharks, beating them 82-92 with brand new signing Jimbo Lull earning rave reviews with his dominating performance.

Newcastle Eagles followed suit with a 88-79 victory over familiar opponents in BBL Cup Group 3 opponents London Lions, as Rahmon Fletcher, Justin Gordon and Evan Maxwell all dropped double-doubles to help them to their first Championship victory.

Sheffield Sharks 82-92 Cheshire Phoenix: Lull and Hayes with electrifying performances 

The start of the season has been a difficult one for the Nix, who up until this fixture did not have their desired roster available to them.

But this performance proved that their early season troubles in the BBL Cup were largely down to the availability of their star players, as the likes of Mike McCall, Jalen Hayes and Kahron Ross all dropped almost flawless performances against Sheffield. 

In fact, all five starters for Cheshire dropped at least 11 points, while Hayes grabbed 10 rebounds and made a steal and a block as well as three assists to help his side to a morale-lifting victory.

However, the most impressive performance was from Jimbo Lull, who only joined the Nix on Wednesday, as he dropped an incredible 27 points while also setting up five buckets for his teammates.

The Sharks will be disappointed to not bounce back from their own early-season troubles, but they will be encouraged by Jeremy Hemsley's performance - their brand new point guard who replaced Mackey McKnight in the roster.

Hemsley managed 21 points on his debut, while Nicholas Lewis, Antwon Lillard and Bennett Koch all put up impressive numbers too, but at the end was not enough as the Nix picked up the win.

Newcastle Eagles 88-79 London Lions: Rahmon Fletcher dominates again in the limelight 

The Eagles and the Lions have already met each other twice in Group 3 of the BBL Cup, where Newcastle picked up the first win but London responded in the second tie - but tonight the hosts came out victorious in the Championship.

Many expected the Lions to run away with the league and be very hard to beat, but the Eagles showcased their credentials as title candidates, by dominating the paint - scoring 16 more points inside than their opponents.

Lions coach Vince Macauley will be happy though with the core of his side who all showcased their scoring abilities, with four out of the five starters dropping 15 or more points.

Kingsley Okoroh, despite playing less than 10 minutes, proved to be a great advert for British Basketball on national TV, making two huge blocks for the Lions.

It was the performances of Eagles' stars Rahmon Fletcher and Justin Gordon, however, that caught the attention of many as they both seemed to be on a whole other level.

Fletcher, who will be looking to become a three time MVP at the end of the season, dropped 21 points and set up ten buckets for his teammates - a huge number of assists for any player in the BBL.

Power forward Gordon also caught the eye, as he dropped 26 points - making him the second highest scorer of the night in the BBL behind Lull, and he completed his double-double with 11 rebounds.

Both teams next games are on Sunday 6th December, as Newcastle Eagles face fellow in-form team Plymouth Raiders, while Sheffield Sharks come up against Surrey Scorchers.

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